Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting Between General Marshall, Dr. Stuart, and Members of the Third Party Group at the Ambassador’s Residence, Nanking, October 22, 1946, 10:45 a.m.

Democratic League

  • Lo Lung Chi
  • Wang Yen Pi
  • Chang Po Chun
  • Liang Shu Men [Ming]
  • Wu Chia Chu

Young China Party

  • Tseng Chen [Chi]
  • Cheng [Chen] Chi Tien


  • Liao Yun Tchen
  • Miao Yun Tai

Doctor Stuart: I want to say how heartily General Marshall and I welcome all of you here this morning. We hope this will all lead to the results we desire. This morning we would like to hear from this group their advice and their impressions as to what the procedure would be to accomplish our purpose.

Mister Wang: First, I would like to say that the Third Party includes the members of the Young China Party, Non-Party, and the Democratic League. We would like to pay our respect and thank Dr. Stuart and General Marshall in trying to bring peace to China. The Third Party members have tried to equal the efforts of General Marshall and Dr. Stuart here in Nanking. Today, I would like to present the high lights of our efforts made in Shanghai.

Ten days ago, it was the Third Party’s original plan to persuade General Chou En-Lai of the Communist Delegation to come to Nanking. However, such a plan was stopped by the capture of Kalgan by the Government troops and also the announcement of the convocation of the National Assembly. However, the Third Party continued their efforts and also the Government sent their representatives Mr. Wu Te Chen, Mr. Shao Li Tse and Mr. Li Chiang [Lei Chen] to Shanghai. At that time the Generalissimo had made the eight-point statement. As soon as this statement was made public, we contacted the Communist Delegation in Shanghai and discussed the statement with them. The Third Party members found that the Communist Delegation thought that this eight-point statement was an ultimatum to force General Chou En-lai to come to Nanking. However, the Third Party members explained that the eight-point statement was not an [Page 400] ultimatum at all. Also, Mr. Wu Te Chen and Mr. Shao Li Tse explained that the eight-point statement is by no means a prerequisite for the cease fire—it merely serves as a basis for discussion.

At that time Yenan also made a broadcast. This broadcast contained two essential points. However, the Third Party members felt that both sides at the present time should disregard these two points of the Communist Party and the eight points of the Government. The first was that it was necessary to decide on a procedure as to how to achieve the purpose—whether the first thing is that we should achieve the cease fire. However, before a cease-fire can be obtained, there are many questions that must first be discussed. Therefore, the Third Party members suggested that first we discuss the matters pertaining to a cease fire, then obtain an actual cease fire and after that discuss the other issues. To this point the Communist Delegation has agreed.

Speaking about the cease fire, of course we hope a total cessation of hostilities will be effected on all fronts. In order to obtain a speedy cessation of hostilities, the best way is to hold the positions both sides occupy as of today. Therefore, there should be a total cessation of hostilities and the troops should be held where they are now. This, of course, is different from Yenan’s broadcast that the troops should be returned to their original position as of January 13th. The Third Party members have spoken to General Chou many times trying to convince him that in order to obtain a speedy cessation of hostilities, the troops must be held at places where they are now. General Chou did not express his agreement to that point—neither did he express objection.

Another point is in regard to political matters. The political and military affairs cannot be handled separately. The political affairs should be dealt with according to the resolutions of the PCC. This procedure should be that the Steering Committee of the PCC should follow the resolutions of the PCC to handle the problems of the reorganization of the Government and also the National Assembly. If we follow the resolutions of the PCC, then the Communist Delegation would automatically hand out their name list for the National Assembly. Therefore, we say that if we can proceed in dealing with the political issues according to the procedure set up by the PCC, then the eight points in the Generalissimo’s statement would be automatically accomplished.

The above is not only the feeling of the Third Party members, but also shared by the three Government representatives. They also recognize that this is a correct procedure. Therefore, in Shanghai the atmosphere was very friendly and optimistic. Finally, the Government representative rose up and said, “Since we all agree, why don’t [Page 401] we all go to Nanking?” Therefore, the Third Party members all decided that they should make a trip to Nanking. General Chou En-lai was aroused by the spirit and said that he would also come to Nanking.

Does anybody else have any statements to make?

Mr. Lo Lung Chi: Mr. Wang has gone over the outline of the developments in Shanghai. Of course we have discussed in detail many questions and maybe there are some specific points General Marshall and Dr. Stuart would like to ask questions about.

Dr. Stuart: We both feel extremely encouraged and gratified that this third group has been so active and has accomplished so much. It begins to look extremely hopeful. We are especially pleased that this latest effort is so completely under the leadership of Chinese; we Americans would want to help whenever wanted. I think all of you fully realize the American Government and the American people (General Marshall and I acting for them) want to see China free, united, peaceful, and prosperous. We have no special interest in any one party or any special system of Government. We naturally support the general principles of democracy because it is the American system, but chiefly because the Chinese themselves have so unitedly and enthusiastically determined to adopt that system. But the procedure is, of course, according to Chinese conditions and the desires of the Chinese people. We want to help, but we do not want to interfere. There has been a good deal of misunderstanding as to American help to the Government. General Marshall has explained many times how slight that help has been and the circumstances of how it came about. I do not think it is necessary to [go] into that again, but let me say once more all that America has done and has planned to do is for the whole of China, a united Chinese Republic.

So, we shall watch your activities with our heartiest sympathy, good will, and readiness to do our part when the occasion comes.

General Marshall: I would like to ask a question. I gathered the impression from your statement that the Government members had agreed or acquiesced to the procedure you gentlemen proposed; that is, a discussion of the cease fire, then the issuance of the actual cease fire order, and then thereafter the discussion of the Communist points and the discussion of the Generalissimo’s 8 points. Did the Government members agree or simply acquiesce to that procedure?

Mr. Lo Lung Chi: I wish to explain this point. In a sense the Government agreed and in a sense not. At Shanghai we proposed the procedure of discussing the problem first and then cease fire, and then talk. That formula was agreed upon by the Government, but whether the 8 conditions should be accepted as a basis for discussion by the Communists, was not settled. As Mister Wang explained, the [Page 402] third parties prefer to leave all the proposals and counter-proposals out and discuss the problem and find ways to a solution. But the Government insists that the Communists should accept the 8 conditions first as a prerequisite to discussions of cease fire order.

General Marshall: That is what I tried to find out.

Mister Lo Lung Chi: We had, last night, with the Government an informal exchange of views at Doctor Soong’s house, but that point, even among Government delegates, is not agreed upon. Mister Chang Li Sheng, Minister of Interior, rather emphasizes the formalities, especially after the statement by Yenan and by two Communist members in denying that the Communists did accept the 8 conditions. So that is one of the problems to solve. The Government insists upon the Communists accepting 8 conditions and that will form a basis of discussion for the issuance of an order of cease fire. But the third parties tried to determine what convinced the Government to do that. Mr. Wang said that was just like an ultimatum given by a dictatorial government and the Communists will not come to terms on such a formula. The Communists have expressed no strong opposition to the conditions. Some of the articles the Communists would be glad to have and had proposed, but the approach to these terms is not satisfactory. It was, “I give you these terms; agree or not. If so, we can proceed to discuss. Otherwise we go ahead.” The Communists cannot accept that attitude.

General Marshall: It seems to me there are still a few misunderstandings. An issue that I have encountered all along is, “What must be done to permit the issuance of a cease fire order?” The Communists for a long time, certainly since May and the recovery of Changchun by the Government, have held out for an unconditional cessation of hostilities, meaning of course at that time, January 13th, about which there was little discussion at that time because the situation in North China had not changed. The Government reluctance or refusal was based on Government insistence that there be certain conditions precedent to be fulfilled before they would agree to cessation of hostilities. So the struggle has been to secure either Communists’ agreement to those conditions precedent and to reduce the conditions precedent to the smallest number possible.

The issue, as I now understand it, is that if certain things were agreed to by the Communists, then the Government was willing to go ahead with the cessation of hostilities. For a time the complete stumbling block was the question of local government in Kiangsu, and later there was introduced the question of the announcement of delegates to the National Assembly.

The confusion in the matter, having listened to you gentlemen this morning, in my mind is this: Whether or not the Government agrees [Page 403] to the cessation of hostilities to be followed by the discussion of the 8 points and the Communist points or of any other points, or whether the Government insists on an agreement to the 8 points as a condition precedent to the cessation of hostilities.

Dr. Lo mentioned that there was a confusion, a misunderstanding. I think, as a matter of fact, that this misunderstanding is of little importance if understood. I have not understood at all from my discussions with Government representatives and the Generalissimo that there was to be a limitation on the matters to be discussed. What Dr. Stuart and I were struggling for was the termination of hostilities. There were certain of the Government’s 8 points which the Communists themselves would insist on including. I will illustrate that. The Government insisted upon the Communists announcing their delegates to the National Assembly and, of course, this then was directly related to that matter, the reconvening of the Constitutional Draft Committee and the status of the draft before the National Assembly. Therefore, that particular one of the 8 points is certainly not a term of capitulation or surrender but is an admission, an agreement, by the Government which the Communists would undoubtedly insist upon.

Also, one of the 8 points refers to the matter of local government in North China or in China Proper. Kiangsu had been a stumbling block. The Communists’ insistence was that Kiangsu local government should be settled by political discussion in a reorganized government. That portion of the 8 points is a Government admission, or an agreement, to that procedure. In other words, of the 8 points a portion is concession, a portion is a demand, and several points presumably are not even in debate. So it is a proposal tempered by compromise and agreement to Communist contentions on one side along with Government contentions on the other, and includes several issues, communications for example, on which agreement had already been reached.

Another point refers to the confirmation by the Steering Committee of the PCC of whatever agreement was reached by the Five Man Group. That was not a Government demand; that was a Government agreement to an insistence of General Chou En Lai. General Chou was unwilling to consider any Five Man Group proposal unless whatever it did was to be confirmed or refused by the Steering Committee of the PCC.

Finally a misunderstanding, as I now see it, is in the matter of the restriction of the discussion to the 8 points only. That was not my understanding at all. General Chou was searching for a basis for terminating hostilities as quickly as possible, and the Government in effect said it would agree to the termination provided certain things [Page 404] were agreed to, not that those were the only things to be agreed to but that there were certain things that must be agreed to. In stating those conditions, the Government has carefully also stated certain conditions that General Chou had made so that there could be no question that the Government would not go through with those points which General Chou, for the Communists, had insisted upon.

To summarize, the 8 points are part Government requirements, part Communist requirements, and part matters they had already agreed to. I do not think there is any limitation in discussion of the matters which pertain to the whole organization of the Government and finally the discussion of the Constitution in the National Assembly. Whether or not the Government, through its representatives in Shanghai, had agreed to a cessation of hostilities and then to a discussion of the 8 points, is a matter of great interest to me because that, in a sense, is the kernel of the whole issue at the present time. I think, as I have often said before but never, I think, really impressed upon anybody, that the trouble you gentlemen face now in reaching an understanding of what is written or said, is the complete distrust of the motives of both sides. Of course that is more glaringly apparent to me because time after time I will propose something and I find a very evil purpose is suspected when, in all probability, it is my proposal and accepted by one side unwillingly and that side is suspect of a deadly purpose. That goes on and goes on no matter with which side we are dealing.

I think the hope of the situation rests almost entirely on whether or not you gentlemen can get a clear perspective of what is involved here; a perspective that is as remote as possible from any prejudice and suspicion, and then try to convince the two sides accordingly.

Mister Lo: There are many points I would like to explain in detail, but the time is not sufficient this morning. I quite agree with you and I think that all Third Party leaders think the contents of the eight conditions are not bad. The question is how to approach it—if the Government insists upon taking the eight conditions as a prerequisite before the cessation of hostilities, then the Communists will not accept that. There is a matter of face there. There are quite a number of arguments offered by the Communists. For instance, the question of the communications agreement was brought up. General Chou stated that it had been agreed to in June, but not signed.

General Marshall: That is correct.

Mister Lo: There came up the question of all the June agreements and they involved the January 13th and June 7th position of forces as a basis for agreement. General Chou said you only used the part of the agreement to your advantage and not the articles concerning the January 13th and June 7th positions which the Communists desired. [Page 405] We immediately saw the difficulty there. The Communists quite agree that the position of authority of the American in the field team should be strengthened, but if the Government takes that alone from the June agreement, then the Communists say, “No”. The whole agreement must be adopted.

I would like to go over all these points in detail with General Marshall and Dr. Stuart. I think perhaps this morning some of the other members might have something they would like to talk about. I know Mr. Carsun Chang and Mr. Chen, the manager of the Ta Kung Pao, who were participants in the Shanghai talks wish to discuss in detail with you two gentlemen the various issues.

Mister Miao (Non-Party): The purpose of the Third Party members in coming here today is mainly to pay a visit to Dr. Stuart and Gen. Marshall. We deeply respect the efforts General Marshall and Dr. Stuart have made in the past in mediating for peace. Secondly, we want to report to you two gentlemen the happenings in Shanghai which have already been outlined by Mr. Wang. The Third Party members are members of the Democratic League, Young China Party and Non-Party members (of which I am one). This group of people do not have military strength. Our effort is how to achieve peace for China and stop the hostilities. This Third Party is purely Chinese and Dr. Stuart and General Marshall also form a Third Party.

Therefore, if we can incorporate the Chinese Third Party and the American Third Party, both here and overseas, we can form into a much larger Third Party group and jointly we can make our efforts in obtaining peace and democracy for China. That is my idea.

What I have said is purely an abstract idea. However, listening to the statements by the speakers this morning, it is learned that all the efforts in the past have come to naught. This can be attributed largely to the lack of trust and mutual fear. The Third Party feels that its mission is how to overcome such mistrust and fear. If the Chinese Third Party and the international Third Party (meaning General Marshall and Dr. Stuart) can give assurance to either side when that side has fears and can assure them of their guarantee, then the difficulties just spoken of by General Marshall regarding the fear and mutual distrust may be overcome.

Mr. Chun [Chen?]: The purpose of the Third Party in coming to Nanking this time is the feeling of responsibility in solving the problem for China. This responsibility is to be shared by all political parties in China. Also the Kuomintang and the Communist Party have expressed their hope that the Third Party members would actively participate in the present situation.

The last time I spoke to Dr. Stuart I mentioned that he and General Marshall are the international Third Party and we are the [Page 406] Chinese Third Party. We should mediate in this situation without any partialities. The Third Party of China is a group without any military strength. The Kuomintang and the CCP9 have armies as their background, but the Third Party has the China people as its background. The people of China want peace. We hope General Marshall and Dr. Stuart will consider our opinions and ideas and that liaisons should be established between the Chinese Third Party and the international Third Party, which means Dr. Stuart and General Marshall. If this can be achieved, the present situation can be solved much easier.

Mr. Chung [Tseng?]: We admire the efforts of Dr. Stuart and General Marshal very much. We feel that the present peace problem for China demands a speedy solution, which must be dealt with by informal meetings proceeding to the formal meetings. These informal meetings are to be held before the cessation of hostilities and then the formal meetings will be held after the actual cease firing. In this informal meeting, two essential points must be mutually understood. One, matters pertaining to the military situation, and two, matters pertaining to the political issues. These two points can be dealt with by using the Government contention and the Communist contention as references in order to lead to agreements. If these two points can be mutually understood, then we could have a solution for a real cessation of hostilities. These two points are interrelated. If we have mutual understanding on the military issues without mutual understanding on the political issues, then we cannot have a satisfactory solution. Today we have offered our ideas of the negotiating procedure to Dr. Stuart and General Marshall. This procedure will be a very important issue.

Mr. Liang: (Interpreted by Mr. Lo Lung Chi) I would like to add a few words to what Mr. Chung has said. The last time I called on General Marshall he said if the Communists would agree to the eight points, then, within one or two hours, a solution could be reached for the cessation of fighting. I would like to suggest that the two sides lay their proposals on the table and the Third Party could consider them and arrange some sort of fair bargain.

We wanted the informal discussions to precede the formal discussions. The Third Party has no opportunity to participate in the Committee of Three, though we all participate in the Steering Committee of the PCC. We must have all the demands of both sides in order to reach a mutual understanding and then we can go into the formal meeting and solve the questions more easily. That is the purpose of the informal discussions—to promote mutual understanding.

[Page 407]

At the present time, the China Third Party really is acting as a go between carrying the opinion of one side to the other and then trying to find out the aspects of the situation that would be agreeable to the other side. That is where the Chinese Third Party needs the help of the American mediators. If these two can work together in close cooperation, then we think that a solution possibly can be reached. That is what we want to explain this morning.

Dr. Stuart: I would like to make two points. One, all the people of China want peace as soon as possible. If it is purely a matter of procedure, then somehow the procedure will be worked out. Two, the substance of what General Marshall was calling attention to is that the procedure itself is not easy. The difficulties are very real, very great. The distrust, suspicions and fears on both sides are important elements in this problem. There is the question of face and feelings which have to be taken into consideration. So, we Americans look to the Chinese Third Party group to help actively, as we believe you are going to, and we will do our utmost to cooperate with you. The object of our discussion is of such tremendous importance and so urgent that we must find a workable solution that both sides will accept.

(The meeting was adjourned.)

  1. Chinese Communist Party.