Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Conference Between General Marshall and Dr. Lo Lung-chi and Dr. Carsun Chang10 at General Marshall’s House, June 17, 1946, 5:30 p.m.

Also present: Captain Soong

Dr. Chang opened the meeting by saying that he and Dr. Lo had learned that the Communist Party had rejected the proposal of giving the Americans power of final decision on grounds that the drafted proposal covered too wide a field. Dr. Lo added that the Communist [Page 1080] Party should not reject it completely, however. He further stated that General Chou En-lai had said that the American member on a field team might be given the power of final decision if in the case of further disagreement among the representatives, the matter then be referred to the Committee of Three.

General Marshall stated that field teams could not refer matters to Committee of Three directly because it would take too long. Further, he expressed his declination to have anything to do with the issue of final authority of Americans because he was personally involved. General Marshall said the Communist Party’s attitude in this matter was dictated by a feeling that he was supporting the Government, particularly after the Government’s occupation of Changchun and the insistence of the Generalissimo in giving Americans such authority. But General Marshall felt that authority of decisive vote was too broad and he did not want the Commissioner in Peiping to have such a broad final authority although he might have the final decision on issues relating to the restoration of Communications. General Marshall expressed the fear that the American Government would be too involved if the Americans were given such broad power of final decision. He further stated that the American member on a field team might be given the authority to decide as to where and when the team was to go and who it was to see. In case of disagreement after the team investigation, the facts could be reported to the Commissioners and in this connection, the American Commissioner in case of disagreement should have the power to decide with respect to the local situation. One of the greatest past difficulties was to agree as to where the teams should go. Even the Commissioners couldn’t agree in most cases. Therefore, the American Commissioner also should be able to decide where and when the team should go and who they should see. Upon arrival in a troubled area, the American member of the team should have the power to decide within that locality. With respect to restoration of Communications, General Marshall felt that it was to the Communist Party’s advantage to allow the Americans final authority because such a procedure could prevent the misuse of railroads by the government.

Dr. Chang then said it was his understanding that General Chou had agreed that the American members on the field team should have the final authority. General Marshall replied that he only wanted American team members to have limited final authority. However, if the American Commissioner were not given the final authority in local situations, then unlimited final authority must be given to American team members.

Dr. Lo then proposed that the term “Final Authority” be changed [Page 1081] to “by a majority vote”. It would avoid much of the propaganda on the issue of final authority. General Marshall replied that the American member might not decide to conform with either side. By giving the Americans final authority, it would eliminate prejudices on both sides. Added, however, that he might compromise by choosing a middle course of action. Dr. Lo stated that the Communist Party was willing to give final authority to American team members. He felt that the stumbling block would be in reorganization of the Army. He further stated that whether the 15-day truce would be a success or not depended largely on General Marshall’s effort. But if we could not solve all the issues within these 15 days, we could leave some of them until after the period is over. General Marshall said that a definite course of action must be obtained in these 15 days. His role in the mediation was to try to modify on both sides, and get the propositions into acceptable forms. He said that there was great suspicion on trivial matters, thus making it difficult to reach a decision on the major issue.

Dr. Lo then said that the delegates of different political groups were all coming back to Nanking and they were to meet the Government and Communist representatives tomorrow. He offered their assistance to General Marshall. General Marshall replied that it would help a great deal if they could get the issue on the final authority of Americans settled.

  1. Leaders of the Democratic League.