Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270
Minutes of Conference Between General Marshall and Dr. Carsun Chang21 at General Marshall’s House, May 29, 1946, 5 p.m.
|Also present:||Dr. Lo22|
Dr. Chang said he was very glad to learn from Gen. Chou that the negotiation for reaching an agreement over the Manchurian problem was still being carried on. He hoped that fighting there could be stopped soon.
Gen. Marshall stated that each side was overwhelmingly suspicious toward the other and that this suspicion had increased in the past ten days. The situation in North China was becoming very critical and a solution, despite this suspicion, must be found. In order to meet such crisis, the minority groups—Democratic League, Young China Party and other small political groups—should get together for the interim period to render some useful and important service. What was needed now was some middle men to bring these people to a less suspicious attitude and to convince them that they must moderate [Page 913]their feelings. Gen. Marshall elaborated on this point by saying that it was only necessary for the third party to concentrate on [a] few principal members of each side and two or three important editors in order to bring them to the realization that their points of view were greatly influenced by fear and mutual distrust. He cited as an example, the Kuomintang’s belief that the Democratic League was allied to the Communist Party; and on the other hand, the Communist Party’s feeling that the Young China Party was subservient to the Kuomintang. However, if the Democratic League and Young China Party should get together and concentrate on a few people, much could be accomplished.
Gen. Marshall then stated that the Generalissimo had imposed two conditions on the reaching of any agreement. First; all rail communication must be restored in North China. To this, the Communist insisted that equal restoration must be made to all other forms of communications such as postal, telegraphic, river, road and etc. Secondly; the Generalissimo would not commit himself to any agreement unless guarantee could be given that the procedure would be carried out without interference or delay. To accomplish this, he proposed that the American members in field teams and the Executive Headquarters must be given the decisive vote in cases of disagreement. At this point, Gen. Marshall observed that he was unwilling to commit the American member in the Executive Headquarters to such a heavy burden of responsibility. However, there were two things in which he was willing to allow the American member in the Executive Headquarters to have the final authority, (1) in relation to restoration of communications; and (2) in relation to reports of teams. If an advanced section of the Executive Headquarters were to be established in Changchun, Gen. Marshall would not let the American member go unless he was given such final authority regarding detailed [details] of termination of hostilities. He then cited numerous instances where the activities of field teams and the Executive Headquarters were totally blocked due to lack of unanimous agreement. Consequently the Executive Headquarters lost its prestige and Americans were discredited. He further stated that he personally was criticized and attacked by people from all sides. Even in the U. S., a movement was now under way charging him of supporting the Communist Party.
Dr. Chang said that suspicion on the part of the Communists was due to their feeling of insecurity. Otherwise, they would not employ such delaying tactics. In reply to Gen. Marshall’s inquiry as to why the Communist Party and the Democratic League had not yet elected their delegates to the National Assembly, Dr. Chang said that they felt the Constitution must first be drawn up before the forming of a coalition government.[Page 914]
Gen. Marshall then asked what would be the best arrangement for Harbin, Tsitsihar and Manchouli. To this, Dr. Chang replied that he thought the Communists would not object to the occupation of Harbin and Tsitsihar by the Government forces. However, he stated, the hostilities must first cease, then the negotiation could begin. General Marshall stressed that he could not afford to once again enter a negotiation without feeling reasonably sure that an agreement could be reached and the negotiation would not end in another deadlock. He observed that if the Americans in the field teams were given the deciding vote on local matters, it would serve as a protection to the Communists. By the free movement of the teams, it would eliminate much of the suspicion now existing. Dr. Chang then said that in order to settle the Manchurian problem, it would be the best for the Government forces not [to] advance further north. Also the Communists must change their way of doing things and cooperate with the Government. He also expressed his hope of having the PCC meet again so that the political status of Manchuria could also be determined.