Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting Between General Chou En-lai and General Marshall, at House 28, Chungking, February 1, 1946, 2 p.m.

Also present: Col. Caughey
Mr. Schang76
Mr. Shepley

General Marshall opened the meeting by informing General Chou En-lai that he had sent Chairman Mao’s letter regarding his satisfaction toward the current developments to the President77 for information. [Page 203] General Marshall then asked if General Chou wanted to talk about the reorganization of the armies. General Chou replied that he had not yet seen General Chang but that he would like to hear General Marshall’s views on this subject.

General Marshall indicated that the most important point was to establish an army which would be used as a democratic army and not as an authoritive [authoritarian?] weapon. General Marshall then pointed out that the Western system is entirely different than the Eastern system and he then traced, beginning with Charles I and later George III, the foundation upon which the modern American army had been developed. General Marshall emphasized throughout this dissertation, and at the end, that commanders in the army must have no position in the civil government and must possess no authority except for those troops under their command. General Marshall then discussed the eight service areas which would be responsible for supplying and administering the troops within the various areas. General Marshall said the service area director would have no command over the military forces in the area. General Marshall stated that it would be important, since this individual would have the great influence through his purchase power, to check two or three ways the activities of these directors. The checks would be: no command; occupy no civil position; bi-monthly meetings to discuss expenditures; and army representatives within the area acting as liaison personnel at the service area headquarters. General Chou asked if the service area director should be responsible for conscription. General Marshall stated that he definitely should not, that this should be a function of the civil government.

With reference to service in the army General Marshall stated that service of the enlisted personnel should be limited to say: 3 years for a private; 6 years for corporals; 10 years for sergeants; and 15 to 20 years for higher grade non-commissioned officers. General Marshall stressed that in peace time there should be an excess number of 2nd lieutenants and a reduced number of top ranks so that in an emergency well qualified officers from the lower ranks could be promoted through selection and the non-productive officer personnel eliminated.

General Marshall stated: that the peace time army should consist of a number of three division armies; that each army report directly to the Ministry of War; that, depending on the number of divisions on each side, the Communist forces be integrated into the National forces by establishing some armies with two Communist divisions and one National division with a Communist leader and two National divisions and one Communist division with a National leader; that probably most of the Communst units would be in North China and some in Manchuria whereas most of the Central forces would be in [Page 204] Central and South China. General Marshall then pointed out that with the cessation of hostilities it might be possible to place in Japan a highly trained and well-equipped integrated Chinese army.

In connection with reorganization, General Marshall pointed out that there would be the big problem of demobilization and re-equipping our troops. Probably some such agency as the Executive Headquarters would have to work out detailed matters concerning disarmament, reissue of armament, and supervision of demobilization.

General Chou thanked General Marshall and then stated that the proposed trip of the Committee of Three,78 in his own opinion, would do a lot toward solving present and future problems.

In closing it was agreed that General Chou would seek an interview with General Chang, and after general agreement was reached, General Marshall would reduce the agreement to writing for further consideration.

  1. Chang Wen-chin, secretary to General Chou En-lai.
  2. See telegram No. 137, February 1, from General Marshall to President Truman and the Secretary of State, p. 151.
  3. For the trip of the Committee of Three through North China, see pp. 341 ff.