Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Conference Between General Marshall and Eight Delegates of PCC20 at 5 Ning Hai Road, Nanking, June 8, 1946, 4:15 p.m.

Also present: Captain Soong

Mr. Mo Te-Hui, a non-party member, paid his tribute to General Marshall and expressed his gratitude toward General Marshall’s mission in bringing peace to China. He attributed the arrangement for the present 15-day truce agreement to General Marshall’s effort. He felt that 15 days would not be sufficient. However, the people were grateful to have even a small opportunity to conduct negotiations for peace. The scope of the order to cease advances, attacks and pursuits includes three items. It is in this connection that the delegates are here today. They would like to make some suggestions for General Marshall’s consideration.

Mr. Li, member of Young China Party, stated his party felt that the present problem was a political one. The Generalissimo had previously said that it must be solved by political means. All parties and people hoped that this was so. Certainly, there would be insurmountable [Page 996]difficulties if we neglected the political angle and tried to solve the problem purely from a military point of view. If the Communists are to be expected to make military concessions, the Government must make similar concessions politically. When military problems are discussed, political problems would be drawn in automatically. It would be necessary for us to concentrate our effort toward this natural development. Mr. Li stated that the group would like to have instructions from General Marshall as to how they could help in this mission.

Mr. Liang, a member of Democratic League, stated that these three political groups stood on the people’s front. They could not agree that if the 15-days’ truce failed, the whole peace mission would also fail. Now that the 15-days’ period was a fixed period of time, we must help it be a successful period. He suggested that political problems should be discussed with a view to solving the present situation. In these political discussions, all political parties should be allowed to participate. Mr. Liang further suggested that, in addition to and separate from conferences of the Committee of Three, the steering committee of the PCC should also conduct their meetings at the same time. The Committee of Three would discuss military problems. The PCC would discuss the various political issues. Liaison should be established between these two committees in order that conclusions reached by one or the other could be exchanged. When a conclusion was reached by the Committee of Three, three representatives elected from the PCC should meet with the Committee of Three to exchange opinions and to consult each other. He cited for an example the possibility that when the Committee of Three discussed the disposition of troops in Manchuria, the Steering Committee of the PCC would discuss political issues regarding the reorganization of local and provincial governments in the Northeast.

General Marshall expressed his appreciation of the compliments they paid to him. He stated that he had no objection to the convening of the parallel committee to discuss political issues and to maintain liaison with the Committee of Three. However, it was outside his jurisdiction. He would not wish to be involved in such an organization. His position vis-à-vis the major interested parties was one in which he must be careful not to invite accusation. General Marshall pointed out differences in the methods of procedure between the two committees. The PCC Committee required a more lengthy process of deliberation. Eighteen years of bitter experience had bred suspicions and fears of each side against the other that were deep-seated. In order to reach a solution, some spirit of good faith must be restored on both sides, then it should be comparatively easy to reach some agreements [Page 997]for the restoration of Communications. Each successive agreement would then tend to restore more and more the mutual confidence.

General Marshall then elaborated on the processes and procedure used by the Committee of Three in their negotiations and the procedure adopted by Colonel Hill for the conduct of his negotiations for the restoration of communications. Because of the absolute necessity for developing confidence on both sides, there was no time for either side to employ the usual drawn out procedure in negotiation for the restoration of communications. There was no time to be wasted. General Marshall explained that undoubtedly there were a few people on each side with an uncompromising and unbending viewpoint. Unfortunately, it takes only a few to upset the whole situation. If they could be persuaded to give ground even a little, we might, in a matter of time, overcome that bitterness, hatred and suspicion which now dominates all negotiations.

General Marshall elaborated on a few of the many difficulties which must be overcome before China could truly realize democracy. He cited the illiteracy of the Chinese people, the lack of a common dialect, and the inadequate means of communications as examples. To overcome some of these difficulties, General Marshall, while in the United States the last time, arranged for the development of special movies to initiate the education of the masses in China. By this method a great deal could be done in a short time to broaden the intelligence or the comprehension of the illiterate masses. Some such expeditious method would be necessary to a successful effort to launch a genuine democracy. Such movies had aided the American Government in quickly creating a modern and efficient army. They had even shortened the war.

Mr. Hwong, an educator for the past thirty years, said that he had two friends recently from the United States who had talked to him regarding the production of movies about China. Mr. Hwong expressed a desire to have another opportunity to talk to General Marshall on this subject.

Mr. Liang then said that outside of the two principal contesting parties, all other parties and all the people of China unanimously wanted peace. Statements to the effect that the Democratic League was allied with the Communist Party and that the Young China Party was subservient to the Kuomintang were greatly exaggerated.

General Marshall then suggested that all the independent groups should combine to exercise their influence on a few important individuals on each side as well as important editors to convince them that there must be more moderation in order that a solution other than a devastating war might be reached.

  1. Political Consultative Conference.