Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting of the Military Sub-Committee of Three, Held at the Office of the Aide to Generalissimo Chiang, February 18, 1946, 3:30 p.m.

Present: General Chang Chih Chung
General Chou En-lai
General G. C. Marshall
Also present: General Lee
General Tong [Tung]
Colonel Caughey
Colonel Pee
Mr. Chang
Capt. Eng
Lt. Hickey

G—General Chang

C—General Chou

M—General Marshall

M: We broke off yesterday6 at Section 5 of Article 7.

C: Regarding Section 4 of Article 7, I have two other questions to put forward. The first one is regarding the military police, whether it should be discussed here or by some other arrangement. Secondly is regarding the railroad guards. On this point I wish to be clarified. I mean if later we are only to have railroad police then, of course, it is not necessary to be discussed here because that has nothing to do with the military forces but if there will be established railroad guards then I think it is necessary to have some provision here, as I am informed they are to be organized into 18 regiments of railroad guards which actually constitute a regular army. I mean after the order has been restored it is not necessary to have railroad guards. Under the present situation when order has not yet been established it is a point of necessity to guard the roads between two armies but when that problem has been settled I think it would only be necessary to have railroad police to be put under the administration of each bureau of each railway line.

G: Regarding the first point raised by General Chou, regarding the military police, General Chang said recently that in the future there will be plenty of occasions that this point may be discussed. There will be numerous occasions in the future so he doesn’t think it is necessary to put in this, to put a provision in this present plan as it will not have direct relations to the reorganization of arms. Regarding military police, General Chang intended to have bilateral discussion [Page 249]between the two but in these last two days he hasn’t had a chance. He likes to explain a few points regarding that problem. General Chang thinks, or he infers that, why does General Chou raise the point. Maybe he is aware of the fact that at present there are more than 20 regiments of military police which will constitute a force now as the ratio between the Nationalist troops and the Communist troops is set at one to five. Maybe General Chou has doubt in his mind regarding whether the military police will be carried in the National forces in order to determine the ratio. Firstly, although there are more than 20 regiments of military police (the commander of the Military Police is not now in town and General Chang cannot get the exact data) from information in the past, in every regiment of those military police regiments they are under strength. Only one-half strength. A regiment comprised of three battalions and each battalion comprised of three companies. In one company is only about 50 or 60 soldiers. Furthermore those regiments are not concentrated in one area. Not even a company will be employed in one locality. The unit of employment will be one squad or one section. Only a few soldiers employed in one locality so that dispositions of military police will not constitute any force at all. The equipment they have had are only rifles and pistols. They have no heavy machine guns at all. They are very lightly equipped. Following on what General Chang has described, the military police will not constitute a force at all, still less a concentrated military force, for it is scattered and lightly equipped. So he hopes that General Chou will not take very seriously the point of military police and hopes that General Chou will be assured again that in the future there will be many occasions for him to bring up this point for discussion and he hopes that General Chou will not insist on talking military police at this time.

M: You use the expression military police. General Chou was talking about railroad guards.

G: The first point is regarding the gendarme and the second point is relating to railroad police. General Chang is now talking about the railroad police.

M: What are the duties of the Military police?

G: General Chang likes to give an example. When he went to Sinkiang, he found there is a regiment of police with regimental headquarters in Lanchow, with a battalion headquarters in Tihwa city which is over 1,000 miles from the regimental headquarters. There were one and a half companies in Tihwa city. With that force, one company stood sentry duty in the provincial government and the rest were employed in bus stations to maintain order and then that is the example. In other big cities, military police may be employed [Page 250]to maintain discipline of soldiers. When the war was on, of course, military police were also employed to guard airfields. So, in one sense they are only to supplement the civil police in handling these disorders caused by soldiers. They are the only people that can deal with soldiers and civil police cannot deal with the soldiers.

M: Who organizes them?

G: It is under a National commander of MP.7

M: Who gives them orders, for example, the one the general gave?

G: The MP Headquarters is under the control of the Board of Military Operations—the Ministry of War.

M: In time of peace? Did the Ministry of War assign them in that town 1,000 miles away from regimental headquarters?

G: The allocation of an area for their responsibility is under the Ministry of War. As to the order as to which area they should actually be located in, it is the responsibility of MP Headquarters.

M: I don’t quite understand. Under whose orders do they operate when they are out in the province. Under who—who determines their specific duties?

G: The regimental commander. In a particular area they are under the guidance of the local government.

M: By guidance, does he mean subject to his orders?

G: Information as to the duty of MP includes the maintenance of the normal flow of communications and peace and order. It does not damage the peace and order of that locality. In this sense, guidance includes orders from the local government.

M: Do they have the power to arrest civilians—imprison them. I am talking about in time of peace.

G: The specific duty of the MP is covered by a set of regulations, the exact nature of which General Chang is not familiar with.

M: Do they recruit locally or do they get their personnel from some central point?

G: The members of the MP are recruited locally but they are trained centrally and then after training they are dispatched in units to various localities. Normally upon assignment to a locality they stay there for a reasonable period of time. In general the duty of the MP is to maintain military discipline among the soldiers and then another point General Chang points out is that at no other time have MP been known to have participated in any war duty direct. Their duties mean to maintain peace and order.

M: I interrupted General Chang before he spoke about the railroad police. He made no comment about railroad police. Is he going to make any comment about that?

[Page 251]

G: General Chang started by saying that he was not familiar with the nature of the railroad guards—whether they remain railroad police or railroad military forces. He will have to get information from the Ministry of Communications. The second information was it has been decided that 18 groups, in effect, regiments of railroad guards have been decided to be organized under the control of the Ministry of Communications.

M: Do you wish to add any comments at this time, General Chou?

C: Answering General Chang’s comments I wish to point out, first, referring to the military police. My emphasis was not on those two points just said by General Chang, namely, I do not lay emphasis whether the military police participate in war operations or not and secondly I do not lay emphasis whether the military police are used concentrated so that they form an independent unit after the reorganization of the armies. Whether they are used concentrated or are scattered. What my desire was, is what kind of system for the military police we are going to set up. If the duty of the military police is simply to maintain order and descipline of the army, I think it not to be large and if we are using the form of the military police to let them interfere with civil affairs then I feel much worried for setting up a democratic system in China. I am not familiar with the orders and the regulations governing the military police but from the facts of the past over ten years it appears that our military police do not follow those of the democratic countries but, rather[, the system?] imitates the gendarmes of Japan. For example, about the inspection of the passengers and personnel, it is not charged with the duty of simply to inspect soldiers. They inspect civilians as well so they are interfering with civilians, regardless as to whether it is on the railroad, highway, harbor or airfields. Secondly, the arrests made by the military police is not restricted to soldiers but also applies to civilians, students and other kinds of people. Thirdly, the military police also conduct house searching of private homes, though according to regulation they can only search the homes of military personnel, but actually they also search the homes of private persons, sometimes together with civil police. Therefore, it is my opinion that we should distinguish sharply the military police from the civil police and that their duty is strictly restricted over the military personnel. Only in this way may we set up a proper democratic system for China. As the actual fact now is we have in China an independent system of military police comprising over 20 divisions just like a regular army.

M: 20 divisions?

C: Regiments instead of divisions.

C: This, I think, is not proper. We should sharply distinguish [Page 252]that they should only have duties over the military persons—not over the civil persons. Referring to the railroad guards, I have been informed that the Ministry of Communications is going to set up an independent armed force just like a regular army for the purpose of protecting the railroads. I think this is no good for China just as in the past it was no good that the Ministry of Finance has its own “so-called” tax police regiments. In democratic countries it cannot be considered proper that every agency may have it own armed forces to perform a particular duty or assignment. It is my opinion that if we approve that under each railway administration we shall have railway police to maintain order all right, but I take exception to have such a large force all under the direct control of the Ministry of Communications, thus you form an independent system.

M: I recognize these two questions, particularly the military police or gendarme as presenting a very delicate issue in the establishment of a truly democratic system. Having in mind the present conditions in China and those that will probably exist during the next two or three years, I am not at all clear in my mind as to how this particular matter should be handled. To repeat, it involves a very delicate issue of government. Just what authority the individual and the local commanders should have by law and just how much of a force would be considered permissible. I think in the main, the issues involved must be settled on a higher level than this committee. However, Ave have put in here, we have included in this document, several prohibitions that in one sense cannot apply directly to the regular military establishment, but in principle they secure the people against interference by the military establishment in time of peace. As I have already said, I am not at all clear on this issue. Possibly as to the gendarmes or military police with clearly defined authorities as relates to their power of arrest over the civilian they might possibly be allowed by the National Government in certain numbers according to the conditions and area to provincial governors, and increased, reduced, or removed at the will of the Central government, but this presents rather serious implications connected to [connecting?] the military to the civilian in time of peace and also to the restriction of the government in its ability to maintain good order. Considering the entire question rather superficially at this particular time, I am inclined to think that the decision in this matter should be on a higher level. However, I would suggest that General Chou attempt to formulate a paragraph for our consideration stating a very general policy or prohibition, or both, as a section of this document or as a recommendation aside from the document by this committee. In any event, I suggest that we pass this by for this afternoon and go on to the next paragraph. Is that acceptable?

[Page 253]

G: General Chang accepts but with these additional remarks. The first point General Chang recognizes all the facts in connection with MP’s stated by General Chou, but he also recognizes that in time of war the military police are to add [to] the insufficiencies of the civil police. In time of peace, of course, the power of the MP should be restricted. General Chang likes to make it clear that he has no objection on [to?] discussion on the matter of military police or on railway guards, but he agrees with General Marshall’s suggestion that it is better to be discussed on a higher level. For instance, the military police under the control of the Ministry of War and the railroad guards under the control of the Ministry of Communications. These Ministries are all under the Executive Yuan. With the reorganization of the Executive Yuan in the near future the Communist representatives will have many changes to put forth [for] these matters for discussion. It seems to General Chang it is not necessary to be discussed here because if we will include everything in our present discussions of this meeting it will be beyond the scope of the committee. He has no objection in discussing that matter at all, but he made repeated assurances that Communist have plenty of changes in the future to be discussed on some other occasions or on higher level. If it meets with General Chou’s agreement then how about proceeding to the next section.

M: That was my proposal.

C: General Chou agrees with General Marshall’s proposal and he will try to put it down on paper as a formal proposal.

M: Section 5.

G: On Section 5, General Chang had a previous talk with General Chou some time ago. In the previous talk, General Chang and General Chou agreed to the point that in the PCC decision both the Kuomintang and Communist Party will not dismiss the Communist Party members or the Kuomintang members from the parties. Will not dismiss those officers on active duty who have party affiliation. Are not dismissed from the party by holding active duty in the army.

M: I get that.

G: Furthermore, they agreed that any military officers on active duty who are now holding the post as the members of the Central Committee of both parties will not be dismissed from the committee because the members of those committees are elected by the representatives of both parties congress, which is held every year or two, so they have to wait until the next meeting of the Congress to implement the present article—not to elect any more of the officers on active duty to hold any membership in any committee.

M: Do they want this section to remain in, or strike it out?

G: General Chang and General Chou agree to omit that particular [Page 254]section because the PCC decisions provide that any officer on active duty who have party affiliation should not participate in any party activity or in any organization or party.

M: Section 5 will be struck out then.

Lee: Colonel Pee has left out a very import[ant] section of General Chang’s statement, that is if the “Two parties have struck a compromise you as umpire would temporarily be out of a job.”

M: You tell General Chang that any time he finds a similar compromise I will welcome it. Night before last we had a piece of music in the symphony concert entitled “Ducks Playing on the Water.” We put that on frequently up here. Section 6. Section 5 has been struck out, I am taking it as Section 6 here to identify it. Any comments?

G: General Chang asks General Chou to express his view, but General Chou says he has nothing to add. General Chang agrees with the principle of this section, but the last sentence, General Chang asks whether it is necessary to have a time limit[,] to put a time limit on this section? When should the whole thing start and when should the whole thing be over.

M: Is he asking for comment or asking a question?

G: Asking the question. He is afraid that it is too short.

M: I rather think that myself, but we have an expression that we use, “with the least practicable delay”. That would leave it to the detailed workers, to the workers on the detailed plans, to secure, or figure out according to the circumstances as they develop them. How rapidly this can be handled. The issue would then, in a sense, pass to the Executive Headquarters but the policy covered by the expression “with the least practical delay”.

Lee: Is the expression, “with the least practical delay” the same as, “as soon as possible”? Are they identical in fact?

M: We use the first in military documents.

Lee: I asked the question in view of the fact that “as soon as possible” is more easily translated.

M: That is all right. You could say “as soon as practical”.

Lee: In Chinese that will be all right.

M: You tell General Chang that they ruin his jokes in translation, I hope they don’t ruin this one.

G: General Chang suggests two points. Firstly, he thinks that we should work out a competent plan applicable to both the National troops and the Communist troops within a certain period of time, all those puppet troops should be disbanded and disarmed. Actually restrictions should be stipulated so that puppet troops in the Communist army after the disarming and disbanding cannot pass over to the National troops and vice versa. General Chang says they are very [Page 255]amphibious. They switch from side to side. We must have some restriction to stop that.

M: Does he want all that in this or does he want the staff to work up the details.

G: General Chang and General Chou agree that to be more concrete the last sentence should read, “As soon as the agreement is reached, a detailed plan for execution should be worked out at once and put into effect and the plan should be accomplished in a definite limited time or period.”

M: As soon as the agreement is promulgated?

G: Yes.

M: Now how would this sound. The paragraph to read as now written down to and including the word “Communist Party” then as follows: “shall be disarmed and disbanded as soon as practicable. The detailed plan shall provide for the execution of the provisions of this section in a definitely limited period of time.” One more thing, after the word “the detailed plan” add “(Article 8, Section 1)”. That explains what the detailed plan is. I think where I used the word “practicable” in view of what has been said, it should be “as soon as possible.” Is that acceptable?

G & C: Yes.

M: Then that should be changed to read Section 5.

G: General Chang said that in the detailed plan we must incorporate the restrictions in order to stop the effect of the puppet troops in the Nationalist and Communist armies after disbanding and disarming from passing over to the other army. We must have a restriction in the detailed plan.

M: I do not know. I should think that would be in here. That was agreeable to me.

G: We can put down in the minutes the idea.

M: The minutes will definitely show that in the disbanding of puppet troops the individuals concerned shall not be permitted to change from one side to the other and it is so understood and agreed. Article 8, Section 1. In the last few words, I suggest we strike out the words “agreements stipulated” and substitute therefore the words “provision of”. The latter part of the sentence will then read, “the regulations and specific measures to govern the execution of the provisions of this agreement”. Is there any comment about that section?

G: Both General Chang and General Chou accept.

M: That section is accepted.

G: General Chang raised the point of the names referred to. The Generalissimo and Chairman Mao Tse-tung[,] because President and Chairman in Chinese are the same.

[Page 256]

M: How do they want that?

G: General Chang suggested that we use the Generalissimo as President and Chairman should be Chinese Communist Party Chairman to be differentiated from the Chairman of the Central Government.

M: Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-tung. Is it all right now?

G & C: Yes.

M: Section 2. The last 10 or 12 words beginning with one army in the fourth month. Scratch all of that out to the end of the sentence. The section will then end temporarily with the word “start”. What is to appear after the word “start” is yet to be decided upon. Now I would like to have your comments on the preceding portion of the section.

G: They both accept.

M: It is then understood that Section 2 is accepted down to and including the word “start”, but the remainder of the section is to be determined later. The second paragraph of Section 2.

C: Responsibility means for the respective troops?

M: During the period of demobilization you are going to have a lot of things happening. You see there will be involved in there a great many soldiers who will be individuals in the process of demobilization and somebody has to be responsible for them. There is no question about the troops. Of course, they are responsible for them. Is that acceptable as written?

C: General Chou asks whether we should leave out the words “in the first three or four months”, just to say “during the period of transition” leaving out three or four months.

M: That is better. Now it should be understood in the minutes, I think, that at some point in this transition the government will take over the problem of supply of these troops. We will be involved in a transition here for 18 months.

C: We could add, “during the initial part of transition”.

M: We don’t say how long but just “initial”—that is better. Is that acceptable as modified?

G: Yes.

C: General Chou just raised another question to General Chang personally that for the time of setting up of supply regions that the government would also employ Communist officers and General Chang said he agrees.

M: Now are there any other general provisions that apply to the implementing of these agreements that you gentlemen think of? This article is the general implementation of all the agreement. They have no more provisions to propose?

[Page 257]

G: General Chang has nothing to add.

C: General Chou has nothing to add.

M: Is General Chou ready to discuss the question of integration at this time?

C: General Chou is not ready now.

M: Then as I understand it now except for Article 5 on integration and the issue of gendarmes and railroad police, we have cleared the agreement in its present form. I have here General Chou’s suggestion regarding the gendarmes and railroad police. I would like some time to look that over rather than discuss it this evening.

G: General Chang likes to reiterate that the proposed article raised by General Chou is better to be raised to the Executive Yuan during and after its reorganization. In this present plan he really doesn’t think it is necessary to include that section.

M: Well[,] is there anything else to be taken up this afternoon.

C: General Chou likes to have an estimate when we may finish with this paper. His own estimate is we may possibly finish in three days. He hopes that after this paper has been passed, he will be able to raise the question of supply to military units which are much jeopardized such as those in Hupeh8 and he hopes that after passing this paper we will discuss on their redisposition to some other places to be assigned.

M: It seems to me that the time required to finish this will depend entirely on when General Chou is ready to discuss integration again. It is possible, I should say, that we might be able to finish in one afternoon, once we get at that. I hope so.

C: General Chou is asking whether some other question will be put to this committee except of those contained in this paper.

M: As far as I understand my position, there is nothing further relating to this paper except the detailed plans which come much later. I would like to report that General Caraway who has been General Wedemeyer’s Chief of Staff and three other officers are working on these detailed plans generally on a tentative basis now but trying to get the framework or arrangement in shape as quickly as possible for the discussion by them with the corresponding Chinese officials in order to present the complete details of the plan for submission to this committee at as early a date as possible. I have taken the liberty of going ahead on that basis in order to save time. About all they have been able to do the last three days is try to figure out just how to approach the problem and once the general agreement is reached here, particularly as to integration, then they can prepare a tentative outline as a basis for discussion with the staff officers of the [Page 258]Chinese forces. As I see it, we will practically have to have here in China for a brief period a combined staff until they get this draft of this detailed plan ready for us to look at. I thought the quickest way was to let the Americans try to take a crack at it by themselves and then start all three sides together discussing it. Now I would suggest that various items here regarding which there is no debate, regarding which the decision is reasonably certain, that the data should be in process of being gathered right now without waiting for the formal approval of this document. For example, on the Communist side, it has been agreed that there will be 18 divisions at the end of a year and 10 divisions at the end of 18th month. Now the earliest date we could know where the first five of those divisions are that are to be in existence at the end of the 18th month the quicker we can work out these plans. The earliest date that we can learn where and what is to be demobilized first will be very helpful. That is particularly important from the Communist side because we know nothing of their dispositions and their locations and organization. The same information is equally important from the Government headquarters, but there should be no difficulty in obtaining it quickly. Again we should know as quickly as possible what are the first divisions to be demobilized during the first two or three months—what are they and where are they. At the same time, if the Ministry of Public Works or whatever the appropriate agency knows to what extent it can make use of these demobilized men the planners should know that and where the work is because that will help them in outlining the procedure. What I am trying to explain is, if we can proceed in this manner, as we do in our army preliminary to a battle, which is to get started on all the things that we have agreed on. We do not wait for the formal issuing of the completed document. Are there any other issues tonight. Could I speak to you, General Chou, a few minutes before your leaving.

C: Yes.

M: If there is no further business, we are adjourned.

  1. February 16 is meant.
  2. Military Police.
  3. For correspondence on the situation in the Hankow area, see pp. 613 ff.