Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

General Marshall to President Truman5

133. Dear Mr. President: I greatly appreciated the generous expressions of approval and confidence in your radio of Jan. 25, White House 405.6 As yet I have not found an appropriate occasion to take advantage of your permission to quote its contents to Generalissimo and Communist leader.

Since my last radio of Jan. 23,7 I have been formally invited by both parties to act as advisor on reorganization of armies of China.8 The Communist member of committee is Gen. Chou,9 pronounced Joe, who is also their leader in all political dictates and agreements. He has been so busy with latter duties that he could not meet on army problems. But I proceeded to draft a complete reorganization of Chinese military forces with prohibitions and stipulations familiar to our democratic system, adapted to China and to the menace of Chinese war lords and the uncertainties of provincial officials. After several meetings with National Government Committee member and with Generalissimo I got agreement to plan and approval of procedure to be followed in negotiation with General Chou.

Meanwhile I have had long discussions with Generalissimo on political program and his views on good faith of Communist leaders. This last I will leave to Harriman10 to report on orally as he heard [Page 149] enough to understand the situation and General Chou flew to Yenan to get approval of party for his proposed commitments. He was to return Monday but weather delayed him until yesterday, Wednesday evening late. He telephoned at 7:30 this morning to see me at nine. There follows a report of that interview.

General Chou stated that the Communist Central Executive Committee confirmed his negotiations in PCC; that they believed the broadening of the government could well have gone farther but that they were generally satisfied with the agreements because they opened the door to the democratization of China. He stated Mao Tze Tung11 had instructed him to inform the Generalissimo personally that the Communist Party was now prepared to cooperate in his government both during the interim period and under the constitution. Chou also said that the Communist Party believed in principle in socialism but for the present they regarded Socialism as an impractical system for China under present conditions and that they therefore subscribed to the introduction of a political system patterned after the US; that by this he meant that prosperity and peace of China could only be promoted by the introduction of the American political system, science, and industrialization, and of agrarian reform in a program of free individual enterprise. He stated that Mao had directed him to inform me that the Communist Party was satisfied with the fairness of my attitude and that they were ready to cooperate with the purposes of the US Government. (Whether or not he was implying that his party would cooperate with US rather than with Russia was differently interpreted by my staff who listened to the conference. Chou did say, referring to a rumor that Mao was planning to go to Moscow, that at the mention of this Mao laughed and said he had no such intention and on the contrary would like very much to go [to] the US where he believed he would be able to learn much.)

General Chou continued, that in view of the agreement of the PCC regarding the reorganization of government which gave the minority parties sufficient voice to block certain possible governmental action, Chou wished to inform me that the Communist Party would not use this power to obstruct any measure of the government which would be within the intent of the PCC agreements. He stated that they were much pleased regarding the cessation of hostilities procedure.

General Chou informed me that it had finally been agreed that the PCC would adopt resolutions implementing the agreements regarding reorganization of the government, nationalization of the army, and the drafting and adoption of the constitution. The meeting, which a [Page 150] government representative has just informed me may complete the work will convene in ten minutes. In general comment has been agreed that the organic law of the [Re]public will be amended to abolish the Supreme National Defense Council and to clothe the council of state with what amounts to full legislative powers. In this reorganization the government will no longer be responsible to the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. The council of state will have a membership of 40 of which 20 will be Kuomintang, 14 Nationalist [Communist] and Democratic League, and 6 members of the Youth Party and non partisans. A definite parliamentary procedure is provided for. In general, it follows the voting pattern of the United Nations Assembly. Bills may be introduced either by the president or on the motion of any three members of the council. Nominations to the council by the several political parties must be sanctioned by the president, and if he disapproves a name, a new nomination must be made. Nominations to the council of no party affiliation are to be made by the president and approved by the council.

The president’s veto may be overridden by a three-fifths majority. A reorganization of the government also provides for a reorganization of the Executive Yuan in which the heads of 14 ministries and members of the Executive Yuan will be known as ministries of state and there will be additional members without portfolio. It will be a coalition cabinet with minority party representation in the ministries. Appointments to the Yuans must be confirmed by the Council of State as must the exercise of the emergency powers retained by the president.

A “Common program” is to be adopted as an interim charter for the reorganized government guaranteeing civil rights and pledging the government to a constitutional, elective democracy.

The new draft constitution is to be written by a special commission of the political consultative council. It will be composed of 25 members representing all parties and non partisans and ten drafting experts. The committee will submit a new draft of the construction [constitution] to the National Assembly, whose membership will be broadened to live [give] minority representation.

The agreement regarding nationalization of the army provides for the integration of the present national military council and the present War Ministry in a new ministry of National Defense in the Executive Yuan, and calls for demobilization, complete separation of the military from the political and civil into a truly national army and the integration of the national and Communist parties. The details are to be worked out by the military subcommittee, which I have been asked to advise, and have accepted.

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After General Chou’s departure the government military representative asked me for a final conference on Army nationalization. The last hesitations of the Generalissimo were ironed out and the following procedure agreed upon: I had told General Chou that the government had informed me of the general terms of their proposals and that I had my own views. He plans to talk this over with me tomorrow if PCC conference duties permit. Then I will résumé his agreements, objections and proposals to the government representative and see to what extent my plan should be modified. Then a formal meeting will be arranged for and the two Chinese members will exchange views.

After this first meeting I will make such modification in my plan as seems to be indicated and will then send it to the government and the Communist representatives on the committee prior to the second meeting. The negotiations will then be on in full force, but with my written text as the firm basis for discussions. I will of course advise you as soon as the outcome is evident. This issue is the most difficult and critical of all, therefore the foregoing detailed exposition of planned procedure.

  1. Copy delivered to the Secretary of State.
  2. Post, p. 380.
  3. Post, p. 373.
  4. For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 177 ff.
  5. Chou En-lai.
  6. W. Averell Harriman, Ambassador in the Soviet Union, who stopped at Chungking en route to the United States.
  7. Chairman of the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party.