Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Memorandum by Lieutenant General Alvan C. Gillem, Jr., to General Chou En-lai

My Dear General Chou: Acknowledging receipt of your letter of 31 [28?] March 1946, with reference to the handling of Communist forces in the Canton area, I have discussed this matter with General Wedemeyer who has been in Chungking for the past two days. Further, I have discussed this matter first hand with the Government representatives on the highest level. This was done in view of the fact that General Chang Chih Chung had been forced to depart for his new assignment and was not available.

As you know, I have been anxious to resolve the problem incident to the movement of Communist forces from the Canton area. For your information, General Wedemeyer stated to me that:

Pursuant to our request of March 9th, which request was made as a result of your posing the problem of the Canton Communists to General Marshall on March 5th at Hankow,88 he had consummated arrangements with the Navy officials in Shanghai to dispose of the Communist-led forces in the vicinity of Canton by moving them by water to Chefoo;

He was prepared to move at a designated time the forces allegedly near Canton;

At the time of the March 9th request, no evidence had been submitted that there was any Communist group in jeopardy in the Canton area other than those on the mainland;

Therefore, he consulted the Navy and completed preliminary plans for the movement from a POE tentatively set as Boca Tigres;

Further that separate arrangements must be made for any subsequent movement as another service, the Navy, was involved;

He could not, at this time, obligate the Navy in any movement involving ships as obviously they control such equipment;

Shipping was set up by the Navy in accordance with priorities, therefore, arrangements involving an additional contingent must be processed anew;

He could not at this time determine what, if any, shipping could be made available for evacuating Communist forces on Hainan Island.

In view of the above your request for two POE’s, one on the mainland and one on Hainan Island, can only be met in part, that is the Hainan Island POE cannot be utilized at this time.

You recall that your communication officially mentioning the Hainan Island group was dated March 15, 1946. In connection with this particular matter I would like also to inform you that I have been unable to get concurrence from the Government to complete arrangements for [Page 636] the movement of any Communist forces which might be located on Hainan Island.

The stand taken by the Government in this matter is that of concurrence in the efforts that had been made by the Commanding General, China Theater and the Navy for the movement of the mainland forces provided there were any Communists in the Canton area for, as you know, the Government has frequently questioned the status of the Communist forces in Kwangtung. This concurrence, therefore, is dependent upon the result of the investigation now being made by a group approved by the Committee of Three to which Colonel Caughey is a party.89 As you know this group is charged specifically with contacting Field Team No. 8 and then to contact the Communist forces, then complete detailed arrangements for the processing and embarking at a specified place at a specified date for movement to Chefoo. This port was requested by you as the debarkation point.

I regret that the second contingent, stated by you as located on Hainan Island, cannot be disposed of at this time for the reasons stated above. I have had a third conference with the Government representatives on the afternoon of March 30th with reference to this matter and at that late date have still received no encouragement as to resolving the matter of the Hainan Island Communists.

Therefore, movement of the Hainan Island elements cannot be consummated at this time. I desire to inform you that I regret this fact but efforts will be made to resolve the problem.

Very sincerely,

A. C. Gillem, Jr.
  1. See meeting at Hankow, March 5, 1946, p. 503.
  2. This group arrived at Canton on March 31.