Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting Between General Chou En-lai and General Marshall at House 28, Chungking, February 4, 1946, 3 p.m.

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

General Chou En-lai opened the meeting by stating that he and General Chang had discussed the problem of reorganization on 3 February. General Chou stated that he had carefully studied the various problems and had certain questions.

With regard to the first question General Chou stated that at the PCC and later discussions it had been decided that reorganization would be in two stages.79 One, reorganize into 90 National and 20 Communist divisions; two, then reduce the entire army to 60 or 50 divisions. General Chou then asked General Marshall if he visualized that the total reorganization would be accomplished in one stage. General Marshall replied that his concept envisaged demobilization and integration progressively and simultaneously. He pointed out that if integration were not undertaken at the outset a great deal of time would be lost. General Marshall then stated that the Military Committee of the PCC had spoken of reduction to 90 National divisions within six months; that he felt such a rapid reduction may be confused and without proper provisions to prevent banditry, disposal [Page 205] of arms and equipment; that a twelve month period would permit a business-like development.

General Marshall stated that the idea of delaying the integration until the second stage had not occurred to him. He believed the program could be worked out by the Military Sub-Committee as follows: Reach agreement on the numbers of divisions to be retained and determine the periods during which other divisions were to be demobilized; prepare a schedule for movements, deactivation and integration; then get these approved by the Generalissimo and Chairman Mao Tse-tung. The Military Sub-Committee could then establish some agency like the Executive Headquarters to carry out the plans. In the meantime specific details such as the dates of demobilization, total units to be demobilized, numbers of integrated armies, army locations, organization of supply districts, principles to govern the militia, could be worked out and these agreed on for implementation by the Executive Headquarters. General Marshall stated he could have two or three officers of General Wedemeyer’s staff come to Chungking for this purpose and later proceed to Peiping for duty with the Executive Headquarters.

General Marshall then asked if that answered General Chou’s question. General Chou stated that he still did not understand whether the forces would be organized into 60 divisions within the first twelve months or sometime beyond the first twelve months. General Marshall said, “Beyond.”

General Chou then stated that he agreed that demobilization and integration should be worked out together.

General Marshall indicated concern over the rapidity of reduction and stated that he did not wish to become a party to a plan which would create banditry or extreme discontent. General Marshall then stated that he saw no great complication to planning first for a reduction to 90 National and 20 Communist divisions and then plan for a further overall reduction to 60 divisions.

General Chou was of the opinion that a twelve month period would be required for the first stage since the National Government in reducing to 90 divisions would release two million soldiers. He then pointed out that although the 1,300,000 Communist soldiers would be reduced to about 300,000 the Communists would not have the same difficulty because most of their troops already participated in agricultural pursuits.

General Marshall then stated that when General Chou and General Chang agreed on the overall principles he would have their agreement reduced to writing for subsequent discussion.

General Chou asked if the service areas should be begun immediately. [Page 206] General Marshall indicated that it may be necessary to establish these gradually but pointed out that demobilization would be facilitated, integration and re-equiping made easier if the areas were established. General Chou stated that the government intends to establish military regions and then asked if this idea were to be superseded. General Marshall indicated that they would.

General Chou asked if provincial headquarters are to be abolished and General Marshall stated, “Yes”. General Chou then asked about pacification headquarters. General Marshall indicated that they also would be abolished.

General Chou asked about the Manchurian problem80 and stated that the Communists would like a field team from Executive Headquarters to proceed to Yingkow. General Marshall stated he would take this matter up with the Generalissimo immediately.

  1. For text of PCC Resolution on Military Problems, see United States Relations With China, p. 617.
  2. For correspondence regarding Manchuria, see pp. 712 ff.