121.893/7–2246: Telegram

General Marshall to President Truman

[1165.] Dear Mr. President: I took Dr. Stuart to the mountain so-called capitol Kuling Thursday afternoon to present his credentials and to talk to Generalissimo; after dinner that night the Generalissimo precipitated a discussion of situation, to which I felt forced to reply with considerable frankness considering the fact that the Chief of Protocol and two Embassy Secretaries, Butterworth and Smyth, were present. I differed with him as to dangers of present fighting, I feeling [Page 1395] that it was heading directly into uncontrollable civil war. I also differed as to his feeling that entire responsibility rested with the Communist[s], and I was emphatic regarding the effect of world opinion of the assassination of peaceful Democratic League professors at Kunming, particularly as rumor regarding an organization of terroristic intimidation of liberals pointed directly at one of the most conspicuous Kuomintang leaders.

Dr. Stuart had a long talk with Generalissimo the following day and another talk the next morning before his return to Nanking. He was also able to exert some additional influence through the fact that the Generalissimo’s secretary was a former student of his, Stuart’s.

Since his return to Nanking Saturday he has seen a number of influential people, notably Chen Li Fu, the political leader of the government party, and the man most opposed to my efforts: He sees T. V. Soong58 tonight and also Chou En Lai,59 who returned this evening from the UNRRA60 Yellow River project where I sent him in an American plane.

Heavy fighting has been going on not a great distance from Nanking to north of Yangtze River. Communist report successes. I will get government reports tonight. Will see Chou En Lai tomorrow. The situation is critical but through Dr. Stuart’s great help we may be able to bring about an end to this confused and tragic mess and pass into the acknowledged great difficulties of political negotiations but without violence and the danger of complete chaos.


G. C. Marshall
  1. President of the Chinese Executive Yuan.
  2. Head of the Chinese Communist Party delegation at Nanking.
  3. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.