Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting Between General Marshall and General Chang Chih-chung, at House 28, Chungking, January 23, 1946, 10 a.m.

Also present: Col. Caughey65
Col. Pee66

1. By way of introduction General Chang stated that he had intimately known General Chou En-lai for a period of some 22 years: that 20 years ago he and Chou En-lai both served under the Generalissimo at Canton; that General Chou En-lai as an individual in the Kuomintang had taken up the Communist Party line which was shared by other members of the Kuomintang. At this point you [General Marshall] asked General Chang when the separation occurred. General Chang stated that he and Chou En-lai had been together from 1924 to 1925; that in 1926 when the Generalissimo went on a northward expedition, he, Chang, followed and Chou En-lai remained in Canton. With reference to General Chou En-lai’s separation from the Kuomintang, that occurred in 1927 when the Kuomintang dismissed the Communist members in Hankow and Nanking. General Chang further stated that since 1927 he had not met General Chou En-lai for a period of ten years; that between 1937 and this date he has come in contact with Chou En-lai on four occasions, these occasions being four political conferences between the Kuomintang and the Communists.

After stating that the Communist demands increased successively at each of the four conferences, General Chang outlined the development of the present Communist Army.

In 1937 the Communists had been authorized to organize the 18th Army Group consisting of three divisions. At the first conference (1940) the Communists asked for three armies consisting of nine divisions or six armies consisting of six divisions with an extra division in each army. At the second conference (Dec. 1942–Mar. 1943) the Communists asked for four armies consisting of twelve divisions. The National Government would have authorized nine divisions but agreement [Page 195] was not reached. During the third conference (1944) the Communists asked for five armies of ten divisions. During the fourth conference (October 1945) the Communists asked for 48 divisions, later reduced this request to 20 divisions. At this time the Generalissimo indicated willingness to authorize 16 to 20 divisions and a communiqué was issued which authorized 20. General Chang pointed out that since 1937 the authorized strength of the Communist forces has increased sevenfold.

General Chang then indicated that he was willing to describe the development of the National Army if you so desired and you indicated that he do so. In 1937 the National Government had 49 armies consisting of 179 divisions, not including the three Communist divisions. Due to the war and a broadening of military responsibilities, this sum was increased to 124 armies consisting of 350 divisions plus 31 independent brigades and 112 independent regiments (engineer, transportation, etc.) by the end of 1944. During 1945, 35 armies consisting of 111 divisions, 21 independent brigades and 83 independent regiments were inactivated. The existing strength now stands at 89 armies consisting of 253 divisions plus two cavalry armies. General Chang pointed out that the army was doubled between 1937 and 1944 and there was a decrease by ⅓ in 1945.

At this point you asked whether demobilization was in process now. General Chang indicated that a plan for demobilization had been accepted in principle which envisaged reduction to 90 divisions by the end of 1946.

You then stated that the reason you asked this question was because there appeared to be a misunderstanding wherein the Generalissimo believed that General Wedemeyer had recommended cessation of demobilization in view of the Communist situation. You added that you had a written statement from General Wedemeyer67 on this matter, and that General Wedemeyer’s recommendation pertained only to the demobilization of the New 6th Army which at that time was about to be moved to North China. General Chang then stated that the demobilization program was fixed in principle but that the actual date has been delayed due to present hostilities and that this factor will be an important consideration for the Military Sub-Committee in establishing dates for demobilization. General Chang further added that the 90 division program was only for 1946 and this might be reduced further in the light of the then existing situation.

You thanked General Chang for his presentation and then asked if it is true, as you had understood, that an agreement had been reached as to choice of high commanders. General Chang answered that there had not. You then asked if the National Government had made proposals in this regard. General Chang indicated that the Government [Page 196] had made proposals to the effect that the Communists would recommend commanders for divisions and armies subject to approval of the Central Government. You then asked, “Suppose the government does not approve, what then?” General Chang said that the government would either accept the nomination or disapprove the nomination and accept a new nomination in its place.

You stressed the importance of complete frankness and direct dealing in discussing matters pertaining to China’s affairs, stated that you wished yourself to be considered as another individual rather than an Ambassador from the U. S., and then outlined four factors which you believed are of the greatest importance to China in the present problem of reorganizing its armies:

Organize a “real” National Army under the National Government.
Develop some means whereby the Communists would give up inherent power in their organization.
Create an army that will not bankrupt China, but at the same time be sufficient for internal security and national defense.
So establish the army that it will not become an instrument of any political leader but one that would serve the Government.

You stated that it was your feeling that what the National Government feared was a possible hostile attitude on the part of the Russians and certainly, in a small way, this would be a Communist hope.

You then informed General Chang that you were preparing a paper which you would discuss in detail with him prior to discussing it with anyone else in order that you could find out what, in the paper, was wrong, impractical, or unacceptable to the National Government.

At this point General Chang likened you to a mediator in a matrimonial match and the meeting ended.

J. H[art] C[aughey]
  1. Col. J. Hart Caughey, executive officer, General Marshall’s staff.
  2. Col. Peter Pee, personal aide to President Chiang.
  3. Telegram No. 20060, January 14, p. 189.