Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting Between General Marshall and General Hsu Yung-chang21 at 5 Ning Hai Road, Nanking, June 9, 1946, 4 p.m.

Also present: General Pee22
Colonel Caughey
Captain Soong

General Marshall said he was about to telephone General Hsu when he received his message that he was calling on him.

General Hsu stated that General Tu Li Ming23 had sent an urgent message from Manchuria to the Generalissimo. (General Pee passed the message written in longhand to General Marshall to read24). General Hsu said that the incident was very important, especially since the concentration of troops had occurred after the 7th. However, that would not be altogether beyond expectation because the order was issued on the 7th and it may not have reached the field. General Hsu pointed out that General Tu said the attack increased in intensity on the 8th and that if they would not stop the attack, they might retaliate by a counter-attack on the 9th. In the 15-day truce, if such incidents were enlarged, it would create a bad impression on the public. General Hsu thought the incident was of great importance because it might jeopardize other matters.

General Marshall said that General Chou insisted that the 15-day period should include a prohibition against all movements of every kind. He had disagreed with General Chou because he felt that it was impossible for them to reach an agreement regarding all of the complications surrounding a complete cessation of movements. If all movements were prohibited, they would find themselves in all probability in a very intricate situation between Jehol and Chaoyang, regarding which they knew very little. There was a similar confusion between Anshan and Yingkow. Those were matters that would have to be settled by a complete cessation of hostilities agreement. General Chou had said that if the Communists were driven out of a town they should feel free to counter-attack to retake the town. That was exactly the order the Communists claimed to have issued to all of their troops in North China three or four weeks ago—that the Communist armies would undertake no offensive operations. If attacked by National troops, they would defend themselves and they would counter-attack to retake any town they were driven out of. It seemed to General Marshall it was the best that could be expected [Page 999] under the circumstances. The Generalissimo said virtually the same thing to General Marshall, that if the Communist troops attacked, the Nationalist troops would attempt to counter-attack to at least retake the town and defend themselves everywhere. The Generalissimo mentioned another place south of Haicheng, where the National troops did counter-attack.

General Marshall said that if General Chou were in Yenan, he would send him a message that afternoon reciting all that had happened and urging him to get orders to the proper place to stop that action. General Marshall thought General Chou was due in Nanking, but if he did not arrive within an hour or two, General Marshall would send a message to Yenan. General Hsu could inform General Tu Li Ming accordingly. General Marshall pointed out one sentence in the message from General Tu that he did not like. General Tu said, “If they show no sign of good faith and keep on attacking the Government troops, then it is my intention to instruct the troops under my command to resume attack and pursuit.” General Marshall thought General Tu needed to be calmed down. They had already gotten into a terrible predicament in Manchuria which he thought was partly avoidable. He did not want to see it occur again through the same procedure on General Tu’s part. He used the expression, “troops under my command to resume attacks and pursuits” and General Marshall regarded that as a serious matter. Its results could be catastrophic. General Marshall certainly would not accept his (General Tu’s) decision. Pie did not mean by that that General Tu should sit back and accept with equanimity a continued Communist attack. He hoped that General Hsu could see that General Tu Li Ming would not again upset everything in Manchuria. He said he would do his best to stop the Communists. General Marshall said he was of the opinion that they themselves desired very much to go through with negotiations, and he would do all in his power to contain any offensive action by them. He would take some action immediately that afternoon.

General Marshall asked if General Hsu had worked out in his own mind any of the terms he thought should be covered in the negotiations.

General Hsu said that he and his staff officers were preparing the plan. He had in mind that in the past four months little progress had been made regarding reorganization, integration and resumption of communications. General Hsu had one principle in mind. He felt that if garrison areas could be fixed up in a definite period, say within one, two or three months, then other problems would be solved by themselves. Certain areas should be assigned to Communists and others to Government troops. Troops within those areas could be [Page 1000] responsible for repair of communications. If in any area communications were not resumed, it could be easily determined who was responsible. Conflicts could be lessened, because at present, Government and Communist troops were in contact in many places. Furthermore, it would be easier for the teams to be sent to definite areas.

General Marshall agreed with General Hsu’s thought as a sound basis of procedure. He had very much the same idea in mind. In Manchuria in particular, if they could find some simple basis for the cessation of hostilities that would not present too much difficulty for the teams, there could be an annex or an extension of the Feb. 25th agreement. They should work out for Manchuria the redistribution of troops on a monthly basis for the first three months, then on a quarterly basis for the remaining nine months. The first three months were very important in getting troops untangled from a dangerous state. Of course, a similar redistribution would have to occur in North China, but that would not have to be in so much immediate detail. Thus, the first problem was to reach an agreement on the moves before they ever got into details. Among the details would be the very difficult matter of determining the line of demobilization. In Manchuria the line of demobilization could not be stated in the general terms that were used in the February 25th agreement.

General Marshall stated that it seemed inevitable to him that in Manchuria the political factor, meaning what happened when Communist troops moved out and Government troops moved in, so far as the local governments were concerned, would require discussion. That was not a military responsibility but could easily wreck all military proposals. General Marshall imagined it would be a matter of deep concern to General Hsu.

General Marshall said that the previous day he had received 10 gentlemen who were members of the PCC. There were three or four of the Democratic League, three of the Young China Party, and one or two of no party. The principal man of the latter two was Mo Teh Hui. The proposal of the Young China men and particularly the Democratic League men was that parallel to the Committee of Three discussion on Manchurian military adjustments, the steering committee of the PCC should have discussions, preferably by a small group, so that the military negotiations would not be wrecked because of undecided political factors. They also proposed that there be some liaison between the military and the political discussion groups. Their purpose was to avoid, or to prohibit, the failure of the military. If they found the Committee of Three was unable to reach a military adjustment because of the fears of political consequences, through their group they might solve that problem.

[Page 1001]

General Marshall told them he had nothing whatever to do with the political part and that their committee did not operate in the manner of a political committee. He would not object to such a procedure, but he could have nothing to do with organizing it. Of course, he personally did not want to introduce himself into the political reorganization of Manchuria. His interest was in successful negotiations within the 15-day period. General Marshall merely wanted to pass that along to General Hsu.

General Marshall had a definite fear that their greatest difficulty was going to be in relation to the political factors in localities which had been under the control of the Communists, particularly as the Generalissimo had often stated he would negotiate political matters after the occupation. However, the Generalissimo had indicated that on the basis of peaceful evacuation of Changchun, he would undertake to negotiate after the cessation of fighting. General Marshall was afraid that if the Generalissimo returned to his previous stand, he would negotiate nothing until after his troops had occupied everything they wanted. The 15-day period would come to an unfortunate end. General Marshall urged General Hsu to use his influence to find some compromise on the political side.

A still larger question that General Hsu mentioned pertained to an easy basis of settlement once they determined who went where. Speaking about North China, they were inevitably confronted with a political factor. General Marshall had discussed this with quite a few leaders on the Government side. He found them all leaning towards a conception which related to General Hsu’s proposal. They seemed to feel unless they reached a decision on certain areas with Communist control here and Nationalist control there, they would never get anywhere. In other words, they would frankly accept a local provincial Communist Government in one section and in another section there would be the Nationalists in control of the provincial government.

That was virtually what they had in the United States. It was not so in England because they did not have any states. All of England was comparable to one American Middle-Western state. In the United States there are Republican and Democratic Governors. The Federal Government only exerts its power over a state on certain determined matters. A state cannot make a treaty and it has to observe the condition of all the treaties of the United States. It cannot make a rule regarding Interstate Commerce. It cannot collect custom duties against another state. It cannot print money. It cannot make war—it can quell local rebellion against state authority, however. What was more important, it had to show good faith to the laws of every other state. The Federal Government has nothing to do with schools or with city or municipal government. It cannot put any police force [Page 1002] in the state. The only way the Federal Government can meet the problem of good roads, for example, is by agreement with the state. The Federal Government has no power to authorize or train the National Guard of the states. The only way they exercise control is not to give a state any money or equipment unless it accepts Federal organization and Federal instruction.

General Marshall mentioned details because he found leading government officials are flirting with an idea as a possible basis of compromise in North China, of having different local provincial governments controlled by Communists and Nationalists. Of course that would have a bearing on their work, but it was a political consideration that would never be given effect until the end of a constitutional convention. However, if that was to be considered, it would certainly influence their approach to the military adjustments. General Marshall was trying to keep away from political considerations, but he found them intruding in almost everything he touched.

Dr. Soong25 brought him this problem. He mentioned the great rice district SE of Hsuchow, Kiangsu province, where Communists were not allowing rice to go out. That rice was absolutely necessary to China. The solution first depended on reopening highway communications. After that, it depended on eliminating suppressive military measures which so restricted people they did not dare send away the rice. The Generalissimo said reopening of railways should come first. General Marshall did not think that was correct, as he thought highways should be reopened at the same time as railways—they couldn’t get rice out if they did not have a public highway. He imagined that local Nationalist commanders might not want to open the highways. They would possibly be afraid that Communists would infiltrate their forces, a few men at a time. Therefore General Marshall mentioned it to General Hsu with the hope that he would use his influence to treat highways essentially the same as railroads and at the same time. General Yu Ta Wei26 was working on the communications problem. General Marshall went over the various factors yesterday with him. General Marshall said he was mentioning the point because he thought it would arise in connection with the opposition of national commanders to the opening of highway communications.

General Hsu said he shared General Marshall’s view that General Tu should be cooled down. General Hsu did not think Yenan intended to start any large scale war in Manchuria. Anything happening in Manchuria now was a local activity. General Tu should [Page 1003] not take it too seriously. There was no need to resume the offensive or the pursuit. General Tu would only bring damage to Government prestige and would be of no advantage. General Hsu wanted to assure General Marshall that he would do everything he could to curb General Tu’s attitude. General Hsu’s motive in talking to General Marshall about the incident was that he was afraid that before he could do anything, it might develop into a big incident that would be very harmful. General Hsu’s personal comment is that General Tu is over-sensitive. If he is like that, he will not be a great military leader.

General Marshall said they called it pugnacious.

General Hsu commented that a commander who is too sensitive can never gain a decisive victory.

General Hsu stated that after reading General Marshall’s memoranda on the drafting of a detailed plan for resumption of communications,27 integration and reorganization of armies28 and the cessation of hostilities,29 he had instructed his staff officers to prepare a draft. General Hsu would like to insure that the work done on the part of his staff could be coordinated with the work done by General Marshall’s staff officers.

General Marshall suggested that when General Hsu’s people had made some progress, that General Hsu and his staff meet with General Marshall and his staff to go over the various proposals. There were two distinct sides to this. One side was the purely military problem and the other was political factors. General Hsu did not need to wait until there was a completed plan. By discussing various matters, they could work with a better understanding of the difficulties.

General Marshall said he had not talked to General Chou En-lai. Of course, Communists would be very careful not to put forward all their concessions at the start. General Marshall was trying to keep all trades out of the communications problem. On the others, trading was inevitable. General Marshall had told General Yu Ta Wei that the Government should make definite proposals.

General Marshall suggested that when they reached a general understanding about one proposal, the Committee of Three should meet to clear it out of the way. While working on everything, communications arrangements would be largely approved and details of the actual cessation of hostilities prepared. Meanwhile, proposals of the both sides regarding the dispositions of troops would be made. The best way to proceed was to continue discussions on difficult points but always have something else that they could complete. The main [Page 1004] difficulties were going to be the immediate redistribution of troops in Manchuria and the eventual redistribution of troops in North China. The Generalissimo asked him not to mention possible Government agreement to a reconsideration of the strengths in Manchuria. General Marshall thought that was wrong. If the Generalissimo would allow him to use that at first, it would clear the atmosphere a great deal.

General Marshall would like to ask General Hsu several questions. It seemed to him that there was no advantage in having a meeting of the Committee of Three unless they had a definite idea of what was to be proposed and what was the possibility of an agreement. He asked General Hsu if he agreed to that.

General Hsu concurred.

General Marshall said it would appear desirable to have General Chou and General Hsu personally discuss some of the issues.

General Hsu agreed.

General Marshall thought it was important that they carefully decide what they could agree on and what concessions could be made. One of the first things could be the immediate arrangements for cessation of hostilities. They could see if they could reach any general agreement and at least find out where the major differences were. That would be done without General Marshall’s presence. Communications conferences were going forward all the time between General Chou, General Yu Ta Wei and Colonel Hill. General Marshall had talked to General Chou and General Yu Ta Wei and tried to influence them.

General Marshall thought that the very first moment that General Hsu had any ideas about paragraph the arrangements for the immediate cessation of hostilities, General Hsu and General Chou should talk them over and see where they differ. Then General Marshall could see exactly what had to be done. Meanwhile, General Hsu’s staff should be working on redistribution of troops in Manchuria. When General Marshall was told of a difference in paragraph a, and had a chance to comment to each one separately, then they ought to have a meeting of the Committee of Three to settle the problem. General Marshall wished General Hsu would be very frank in advising him how he would like to see matters conducted. Present discussions would be a bit different from the February conferences of the Military Advisory Committee of which he was an advisor. Meetings would now be those of the Committee of Three regarding the cessation of hostilities.

General Hsu asked if General Chou had expressed any views regarding the final decision of Americans on truce questions.

General Marshall said General Chou had been opposed to that [Page 1005] throughout. That was the reason for certain recent propaganda. He did not think it profitable for him to bring up the issue. It would be better for General Hsu to bring it up himself. General Marshall thought the real problem was when to insist on the decisive vote for Americans on the teams.

General Hsu said that regarding the deciding vote of the American on the teams and of the commissioner in Peiping, it was most important for that to be approved. Otherwise, like before, nothing could be accomplished.

General Marshall said that he had drafted a proposal30 which he had sent to General Hsu. The Government had introduced a new factor when they proposed that General Marshall have the deciding vote on the Committee of Three. General Marshall said he could not take any further part in discussions of these other matters because of attacks that were being made on Americans and on him. General Marshall was very much in earnest about General Byroade in Changchun having such authority, but regarding the cessation of hostilities only.

General Hsu said he still had a little doubt in his mind. He recalled that in one of his letters, the Generalissimo mentioned that from General Marshall on down to the field teams, all Americans should have power of decision.

General Marshall sent for the file of letters and after rereading a few, he stated that the Generalissimo had made no reference to the Committee of Three. Reference to the Committee of Three had come out in the press here. General Marshall said that in his draft for the agreement regarding American officers, the American Commissioner at Executive Headquarters should be empowered with final decision on matters referred to the Three Commission[er]s by the field teams and for the team captain to have final decision concerning the cessation of hostilities, the restoration of communications and the integration and demobilization of the Chinese armies. General Marshall said Colonel Caughey put that last in. If you got the first two things, that is final decision on restoration of communications and on the activity of field teams, that would be enough. The American commissioner would have the deciding vote. If agreed to, it would help. That makes the American virtually the commander in the field. There would then be two compromises that would make it a bit easier to negotiate. Reorganization would cover practically everything in China.

General Marshall commented that General Chou was due back at 6 o’clock.

[Page 1006]

General Hsu expressed his concern that if things continued as at present, and no one would have the right to decide, efforts would come to nothing at all.

General Hsu thanked General Marshall for his explanation regarding state governments. He regards as an important factor that a certain state would respect the law and authority of a neighboring state. General Hsu said that with mutual respect between states, he would have no objection to having Communists in one state and Nationalists in the other. Also, General Hsu expressed the hope that the Communists would be patriotic and not be a foreign country. If that was the case, then nothing could be accomplished by assigning certain provinces to the Communist Party.

General Marshall stated that he felt that political complications were inevitable. He did not want to fight that battle alone. General Hsu would have to help. He was just as much interested as General Hsu in making things work. To use a military expression, when he estimated the situation, he wanted to prepare for whatever trouble that was to be anticipated.

  1. Chinese National Government representative on the Committee of Three.
  2. Peter T. K. Pee, personal aide to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
  3. Gen. Tu Yu-ming commanded Government troops in Manchuria.
  4. See memorandum by General Marshall to Gen. Chou En-lai, June 9, infra.
  5. T. V. Soong, President of the Chinese Executive Yuan.
  6. Chinese Minister of Communications.
  7. Not found in Department files.
  8. Draft of June 9, not printed.
  9. Draft proposal, not printed.
  10. Draft of May 30, p. 914.