Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

General Marshall to the Acting Secretary of State63

1053. I am requesting War Department to delay Wedemeyer’s departure for China.

The following situation exists. The Generalissimo had a long talk on 2 July with Chou En Lai and arranged for meetings between Chou and with 2 Communist associates and the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Page 1298]with 2 Nationalist associates who were the Chief of Staff and Shao Li Tze. This meeting was designed to find a solution for problem of local governments in regions to be evacuated by Communists and regarding the degree of their evacuation from Kiangsu. Two meetings have taken place but I have not yet received a report on yesterday’s, Thursday’s meeting. The first meeting was largely a statement of views and exploratory as to extent of differences and reasons therefore. Meanwhile some dangerous fighting has been going on in Shantung Province involving exclusion of Communists from places force-ably occupied by them since June 7th and involving action to free completely the Tsingtao-Tsinanfu Railroad.

I find that the recent publicity regarding Wedemeyer’s return, accentuated by a casual remark by the Chinese Minister of Information that I could not remain here indefinitely, made I am sure without any intention of implying my early departure, has created a situation inimical to my negotiation. The Communists are greatly disturbed and aroused. There[fore,] I feel that Wedemeyer’s nomination as Ambassador should be indefinitely postponed.

Further, I feel that in the present circumstances I need assistance in the person of an Ambassador who would immediately create on both sides a feeling of greater confidence in the negotiations. But one name occurs to me that would in any way serve my purpose at this time, I propose that Doctor Leighton Stuart, the President of Yenching University in Peiping, be nominated, assuming that the Generalissimo and other leaders of the Kuomintang [concur?], also to sound out the views of Government and Communists alike. I called on him because by common report of all informed people in China, American as well as Chinese, he occupies a unique position as the most highly respected foreigner, one whose standards of integrity and actions through the 50 years of his life out here have been a model of the best in the western world. Communists and Nationalists alike trust and admire him. The recent celebration of his 70th birthday in Peiping was made a great occasion. He is selfless and has only the interests of China and America at heart. I would not expect him to participate formally in my negotiations or to carry the responsibility for the major portion of the routine business of the Embassy. Butterworth64 is exceptionally qualified to do this. But I would want Doctor Stuart in a high position so that I could capitalize on his influence with the various political leaders, most all of whom he knows intimately. During the political negotiations he would be particularly helpful and it is his present urgent recommendations to the Generalissimo and Government officials to raise the [Page 1299]present negotiations from the level of military disputes to the higher political level for securing a genuine start towards a democratic government.

I would not have in mind his service longer than 9 months. In the tragic event of open civil war, I would assume that for the time being at any rate, you would prefer to leave matters in the hands of a Chargé, Butterworth, recalling him, the Ambassador, presumably for consultation.

  1. Copy transmitted on July 5 by the War Department to Acting Secretary of State Acheson.
  2. W. Walton Butterworth, Minister-Counselor.