Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

Mr. Walter S. Robertson to General Marshall

6688. Commissioners meeting, called August 7 to consider deadlock of Team 25 appointed to investigate An Ping incident, experienced same obstructing tactics on part of Communist Commissioner that Communist representative had shown in team meetings (refer to 658864). General Yeh, usually reasonable, objective and cooperative in his approach to problems, brought up and debated so many trivialities that it was obvious his sole purpose was to delay action. [Page 1490] The only difference between his methods and those of Communist team member was that Yeh filibustered inoffensively whereas General Huang according to Colonel Davis was at times exceedingly offensive. After a 6½ hour session of hairsplitting trivialities, the following agreements were finally reached:

Team 25 should depart for scene of conflict near An Ping at 9:00 a.m. August 8.
A sub-team of Team 25 should be appointed and proceed immediately to investigate alleged conflict in the general vicinity of An Ping which the Communist Party Commissioner claimed was then in progress and being participated in by both National Government troops and United States Marines, but that the organization and operation of sub-team should in no way impede the activities of Senior Team 25.
Two press representatives from each Sino Branch and two American correspondents would be permitted to observe the proceedings of Senior Team 25. This proposal was made by American Commissioner to circumvent unilateral press releases by Communists deliberately distorting causes for delay instead action.

In accordance with agreement listed as number 1, both American and Natl Govt representatives appeared at appointed place at 9:00 a.m. August 8 ready for departure. Colonel Davis had stated that transportation would be furnished for three Representatives from each Branch. The Communists appeared with nine. They stated, however, that they would not depart until certain methods of procedure had been adopted. At the same time the United States Commissioner was presented with statement prepared by Communist Representative charging Colonel Davis, American member, with unfairness and autocratic methods. United States Commissioner immediately called in Communist Commissioner and Communist and American Team representatives in effort to break new deadlock. Morning spent in filibustering on part of Communists. United States Commissioner suggested to Communist Commissioner that as it appeared Team as presently constituted could make no progress new representatives be appointed by Communist and American Branches. (General Huang was hand-picked by Communists for this assignment and is a finished professional in the art of filibustering.) Communist Commissioner would not agree to appointment of new representatives but suggested that our representatives be “ordered to cooperate”. He finally agreed to dispatch Team which left for An Ping at 2:30 p.m. returning to Peiping at 7:30 p.m. Testimony was taken on ground from villagers. This morning Communists argued that such testimony could not be accepted as these villagers were in reality Natl Govt plain-clothesmen. When challenged they could present no evidence to support charge. Team met this morning August 9 at 9:00 a.m. Again deadlocked by Communist representative presenting same [Page 1491] demands and using same tactics previously outlined. He reiterated position that no witnesses could be heard in evidence except those unanimously agreed upon by Team. Despite vote of Natl Govt and American representatives he again refused to allow Marine witnesses who were standing by to testify. Net result of today’s Team meeting from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. was zero.65

Timberman and I agree there is strong evidence to indicate that Communist representatives both on the Commissioner and Team levels are acting under higher instructions to delay, impede and obstruct in every way possible the progress of the investigation, in the meantime throwing the blame on others and utilizing the time gained for propaganda purposes. Certainly there is nothing to indicate a sincere desire to get at the truth. Unless there is an early change in the present attitude, in our opinion it is open to question whether or not we should continue to be a party to the absurd farce now taking place.

Will keep you advised.

  1. August 7, p. 1463.
  2. Paraphrased copy to this point sent by General Marshall to General Chou En-lai.