The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State

No. 182

Sir: I have the honor to report that on the morning of October 8 the Communist Party representative, Wang Ping-nan, came to inform me of the Yenan reply to our proposal (see my despatch no. 176 dated [Page 331] October 7, 1946) which, though sent in the Embassy’s telegram no. 1613 of October 8,14 is recapitulated below for convenient reference:

The truce should be without a time limit because, based on previous experience, it would otherwise be unsatisfactory. The proposal would seem to be a strategy unless the Government troops were withdrawn to their original positions, thus demonstrating the sincerity of the Government.
The Communist Party wishes to have the Three- and Five-man Committees to meet but the discussion should not be limited to the two paragraphs of the October 2nd communication of the Generalissimo. These topics dealt with under truce conditions may be regarded as under military coercion.
No reply had been sent to the communication of October 2nd because the Communist Party had been hoping to have some word from General Marshall and Dr. Stuart clarifying the situation for peace. The latest proposal implies that the situation has not changed much. General Chou is therefore preparing to send a formal written reply and sees no need for his returning to Nanking.

This was in effect a complete rejection. I at once reported this to General Marshall who drafted, with me present, the joint statement issued yesterday. You will note that it is entirely objective in form, thus enabling us to resume our role as mediators if the Communist Party should reconsider their attitude. To help them to this decision we invited Messrs. Tung Pi-wu and Wang Ping-nan to a conference later on that afternoon in which we tried to meet their objections and persuade them to avert the tragedy of thus ending all efforts for a negotiated peace. The only apparent result, however, was their promise to communicate the substance of the conversation to Chou En-lai.

This morning General Marshall has left as quietly as possible for Shanghai in a final dramatic effort to persuade General Chou to return to Nanking. This is the ultimate in humble, kindly-meant activity in mediatorial procedure. In this splendid gesture he is demonstrating his willingness to exhaust all possibilities before abandoning his mission. Whatever the outcome, the impression it will make on the Chinese public will be very great. It will also be abundantly worthwhile in helping to test out more convincingly whether or not there is any real hope of Communist Party cooperation in achieving peace, unity and democracy in China.

Respectfully yours,

J. Leighton Stuart
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