Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting Between General Marshall and General Yu Ta-wei at No. 5 Ning Hai Road, Nanking, July 31, 1946, 6:45 p.m.

Also present: Colonel Hutchin

General Yu Ta Wei opened the meeting by asking what were the results of General Marshall’s conversations with the Generalissimo during this last visit to Kuling. General Marshall replied “Practically none”. First the illness of Dr. Stuart interfered with his plans. He had contemplated having Doctor Stuart see the Generalissimo first and talk to him in a very frank way without the presence of an interpreter or a third party. Such a conversation could be held in a manner which would not be particularly suitable in the presence of other people.

After Dr. Stuart’s conversation, then General Marshall would have stepped in. However, Dr. Stuart developed dysentery and that delayed proceedings. General Marshall waited two days and finally had to talk to the Generalissimo himself without Dr. Stuart having held any preliminary meeting. It is probable that Dr. Stuart will see the Generalissimo tomorrow (Thursday).

General Marshall thought the Generalissimo was somewhat resentful of Dr. Stuart’s appointment as ambassador because he referred to him several times as being merely a college professor. He asked if General Yu understood why he had had Dr. Stuart made ambassador. Whenever General Marshall broached political subjects, the politicos always seemed to go way back into history to start educating him. That would not be necessary with Dr. Stuart as he knows more about China and has more China in his head than almost anyone [Page 1423] in China, unless perhaps there is another Confucius in being. No longer can the Generalissimo’s advisors tell him not to follow General Marshall’s advice because he does not know enough China.

General Marshall said that when he next went back to Kuling, he would have to go into the seriousness of the present situation very decidedly with the Generalissimo. General Marshall had daily cables from the War Department which contained extracts of pertinent editorials, writings of columnists, radio reports of commentators, etc. He also got through his pouch principal editorial clippings in a much shorter time than anyone else in China. In all of this, the most noteworthy point is the tremendous change in the U. S. attitude towards China; and to his and Dr. Stuart’s mind, the principal loss is in the Generalissimo’s prestige. That is sheer tragedy. The Generalissimo represents perhaps the greatest capital of China. Now he is being stripped. His advisors give him such prejudiced advice that the situation seems hopeless. There are things that the General knows from the Generalissimo’s own people which they can’t come out in public statements.

General Marshall said that everyone realizes that two wrongs do not make a right. When he brought up certain matters to the Generalissimo, his reactions were so immediate and along such lines that General Marshall felt frustrated. The situation in China is going from bad to worse. General Marshall fears that fighting will develop in Jehol and that it will inevitably spread into Manchuria, which would mean an all out civil war. The military factors are of least importance now and the political consideration has become of dominating importance. The deteriorating situation towards an all out civil war demands a solution on the highest level.

What worried General Marshall was what was happening back home. The public reaction towards China was getting out of hand. When he was in the United States, he talked to practically all the correspondents, editors and radio commentators, some 600 of them. He knows them and he had them lined up almost solidly behind him in influencing public opinion which would be favorable to China. Now all this is coming apart at the seams. The tide of American public opinion is swinging the other way.

General Yu Ta Wei said that the situation has not changed materially since he last talked with General Marshall. The Nationalists had taken Yang-chow, Tai-hsing and Tien-chang. The fighting had now moved further north. They had also captured Suhsien on the main railroad.

General Yu said nothing of importance had happened at Tunghai (in reply to General Marshall’s question). Along the railroad in [Page 1424] Shantung they had put up a decided fight, particularly in the vicinity of Changto. In Hupeh, there was still considerable activity around Lao-Lo-Kou and the Communist forces were moving in the direction of Hsian. In the vicinity of Tatung the attack was coming from both the south and the east and the main forces were getting closer and closer to the city. General Yu had no information on the ambush of the Marine motor convoy near Peiping.

General Marshall said that about the attack of the Marine Corps supply convoy, he had a message through Navy channels15 that indicated the troops involved may not have been Communists. There was no definite identity of the attackers yet. His report stated that the Nationalists believed they were not Communists but that they were guerrillas. The Marine headquarters had even indicated that trouble was usual in this area. (Later information indicated a Communist attack).

General Yu asked General Marshall if he remembered the situation concerning the peace team that was sent to Canton. He stated that the National member had been withdrawn and assigned someplace else.

General Marshall said yes, he remembered the situation concerning the team in Canton. Its withdrawal had probably been delayed as a result of Colonel Caughey’s trip with the Communist representative when they set up the plan of evacuation of Communists from the Mirs Bay area. One of the things that is no doubt in the back of the Communist mind is their proposed evacuation of Communists from Hainan Island. Once the Canton situation was settled, the Communist representative immediately came after Caughey to get the Hainan issue settled. The question as General Marshall now saw it was: could Executive Headquarters withdraw Team 8 from Canton?

General Yu said that the withdrawal of Team 8 would be highly desirable. The Generalissimo had been explicit in stating that he would not consider the withdrawal of the Communists from Hainan Island at all and, in fact, that was the condition to which he gave his agreement to the Canton deal. General Yu asked if General Marshall thought that the political situation was more important than the military.

General Marshall said “Yes, of course it was much more important.” One of the critical factors in the present situation was the secret police which were operating to keep under surveillance almost every individual who had a liberal thought in China. The most recent death was the one of a man named Tao who had a Ph. D from Columbia University and who had been driven into hiding in two different [Page 1425] places by the pressure of the secret police. Finally he died of apoplexy. That was similar to the incident which occurred in the railroad station here in Nanking, in the capital of China, when from 7 p.m. to 12:30 in the morning, the Government did absolutely nothing to terminate a perfectly outrageous situation. What the Generalissimo says to all these things is, that he is in a difficult position because he, the Generalissimo, has to have each liberal watched lest something happened to him and the Government be falsely accused.

General Marshall mentioned that Dr. Lo Lung Chi had again made statements to the press of a private conversation he had had with General Marshall even after General Marshall had given him repeated warnings that he could not talk to him if that were to be the case every time. Of course, he is one of those individuals who is scared to death and Carson Chang is another one. General Marshall said he was told by an American a week to ten days before that the campaign of assassinations would start, and sure enough, it started. The situation is terrible. Think what an impression that makes on Americans when radical elements in China persecute the most highly educated people in China, the most liberal minded, and when they suppress newspapers and publications. That was exactly what the Government had done. No one can swallow that sort of business. It serves only to detract from the Generalissimo’s prestige, and yet he does not realize that.

General Yu said that not much had happened during General Marshall’s absence. There was a member of Executive Headquarters travelling on a peace team airplane with suspicious luggage. The baggage was taken into custody and 400 ounces of gold were discovered. While it was true that it was not illegal gold, the peace team airplane should still not be used to transport it. General Yu Ta Wei had had a report from Cheng Kai Ming16 that he did not want to keep these people but that they are trying to make a case of illegal detention.

General Yu said also that he thought General Marshall was wise to leave the Marine Corps to make its own investigation of the incident near Peiping.

General Marshall asked General Yu Ta Wei who he thought we might get to replace General Hsu Yung Chang on the Committee of Three. General Hsu had already had an unfortunate effect upon negotiations through his retiring personality. The individual selected as his replacement should be one with considerable prestige. General Yu did not know who to suggest. General Marshall thought it might [Page 1426] be a good idea to pick the severest critic or possibly the Generalissimo’s worst advisor and put him in the Committee of Three and then start indoctrinating him.

  1. “Not found in Department files.
  2. Chinese Government Commissioner of Executive Headquarters at Peiping.