Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Memorandum by General Chou En-lai to Lieutenant General Alvan C. Gillem, Jr.90

My Dear General Gillem: Your letter dated March 31st was duly received. With reference to the Communist forces in Kwangtung there are two problems that need settlement, viz: (1) the recognition of those Communist forces by the Government; (2) the movement of those Communist forces to some other area.

By virtue of the Cease Fire Agreement of January 10th, all Government and Communist-led forces, regardless of their position and regardless whether they being regular, militia, irregular and guerrillas, should immediately stop hostilities actions. In the light of this provision, there may only arise the question, as to whether the Government or the Chinese Communist Party would admit a particular unit at a particular location to be under its command or not. There could not arise such question, that the Government or the Chinese Communist Party would not recognize a certain unit which has already been admitted by the opponent party to be under its command. For, once the Government or the Chinese Communist Party admits that a certain unit at a certain location is actually under its command, then the respective party would assume the responsibility to instruct that unit to abide by the commitments and provisions of the Cease Fire Agreement, and the cease fire mission will be carried out. There is no need to question whether the opponent party has admitted that unit to be under its command or not, and at what time such recognition was made. Therefore, with reference to the East River Brigade and [Page 639] Hainan Brigades, once they are admitted by the Chinese Communist Party to be under its command, attacks against them should immediately cease, with a view to reaching settlement in accord with the Cease Fire Agreement and the Army Reorganization Plan. It is both logically and factually unjustified for the Government to recognize the Communist-led East River Brigade alone, but not the Communist-led Hainan Brigade. Even granted that the latter Brigade was mentioned only in the later documents, yet it is undeniable that it has been in existence since a long time. If the Government would, making no effort to get over its prejudice, firmly resist to recognize the subject forces, then we arc even far more justified to refuse recognition of all the puppet troops now being under Government command, and we may reserve the right to disarm all the puppet troops surrounded by our forces. In that case the Government would not only have no right to interfere, but ought to view such actions as a matter of course.

Since without any exception all Communist-led units should be recognized by the Government, the issue of the Hainan Brigade should be resolved in the light of the Joint Communiqué of the Government and Communist representatives on October 10th,91 the Cease Fire Agreement and the Army Reorganization Plan. By taking any of these documents as our reference, the Communist forces in Kwangtung are equally justified to be partly evacuated and partly demobilized. Speaking on the evacuation, it of course infers the movement of these forces from Kwangtung to North-China, and there is no other way to carry it out except by sea lift. Inasmuch as time is needed to undertake the arrangements with reference to shipping availability and date of lift, it is agreeable to us to make the statement, that as long as food can be made available to the subject troops, we will have not objection to see the northward movement of the Hainan Brigade being carried out at a later date than that of the East River Brigade.92

In short, unless the Government endeavors to take advantage of this opportunity to exterminate the Communist-led troops, I see no slightest reason for them to refuse recognition of the Hainan Brigade which we have admitted to be under our command.93 Nor, when contact has [Page 640] been established by the Communist representatives with the Hainan Brigade, do I see any reason for the Government to prohibit the movement and demobilization of the subject Brigade.

In view of this fact, it is my request that you would based upon the foregoing comments send a wire to Colonel Caughey calling his attention to this matter, and you will also arrange a discussion by the Conference of Three with a view to resolving this matter.

Please, accept [etc.]

[Signature in Chinese]
Gen. Chou En-lai
  1. Marginal notation: “Action has been taken with reference to radio to Caughey and reply made to Gen. Chou—2 April 1946.”
  2. For summary of conversations, see Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 577.
  3. Lieutenant General Gillem, in his telegram No. 426, April 2, to Colonel Caughey, quoted the last sentence and commented: “These troops are recognized by the Communist Party and entitled to the safety requirements of the cease fire agreement.”
  4. Lieutenant General Gillem, in No. 426, quoting the second half of this sentence, observed: “Therefore, endeavor to have field team determine facts so that when Government recognizes existence of Hainan Island Communists through medium of Committee of Three Directive arrangements can be completed to meet the requirements of first, foodstuff and secondly movement northward if and when arrangements for lift are agreed upon and settled.”