Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Memorandum by the Second Secretary of Embassy in China (Ludden)

Suggestion for Possible Statement To Be Made by Generalissimo

It has long been my aim to return the Government to the people. In this connection, the most immediate problem is the drafting of a permanent [Page 176] constitution for submission to the National Assembly. On January 31 the Political Consultation Conference reached agreement with regard to the principles to be embodied in the permanent constitution. It is my desire that the work of drafting the permanent constitution in accordance with these liberal principles be completed without further delay. Among others, these principles include that of executive responsibility to a popularly elected legislative body. It will then become the duty of the National Assembly to ratify this constitution.

The National Assembly will convene at Nanking on May 5. Unfortunately transportation difficulties will very likely make it impossible for all delegates to arrive at Nanking by that date. Therefore, I propose that the National Assembly, immediately after convocation, adjourn temporarily pending the arrival of delegates so that all duly accredited delegates may participate in and contribute to its historic task.

It is my hope that the National Assembly will conduct its deliberations in a spirit of national unity and mutual trust and that its labors will be no less productive than those of the Constitutional Convention of our great ally, the United States. Our National Assembly will convene with one great advantage; by the time of convocation, the basic understanding of all party and non-party representatives will have been incorporated in a definitive document which is to be the covenant of Chinese democracy.

During the interim period, in which the constitution is being drafted and placed in final effect, Government must be carried on. I do not wish to wait for the final act of adoption of the constitution in order clearly to establish the principle of multi-party responsibility for the national welfare. The fight against famine and the struggle to restore the national economy and increase production must know no party. Therefore, a multi-party committee is being appointed to supervise and to administer national finances. Moreover, representatives of the various parties and non-party representatives are being appointed to the CNRRA37a and to the Alien Property Administration to facilitate the work of those organizations. All of these measures are designed for one purpose—to speed the creation of what we all desire, a strong, unified and democratic China.

R[aymond] P. L[udden]
[Page 177]

[At the last meeting of the PCC Steering Committee on April 24 it was decided to postpone the National Assembly. On April 29 President Chiang Kai-shek announced indefinite postponement pending settlement of outstanding issues.]

  1. Chinese National Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.