Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

General Marshall’s Notes on a Series of Meetings With Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek

On November 5th, Dr. Stuart and I called by appointment and there followed a lengthy discussion of the situation. My view was requested and I described in some detail a meeting that I had had the previous morning with three leading members of the Democratic League,75 who were consulting me regarding an informal meeting to be held the following morning among the three parties (Government, Communist and Third Party) for a general discussion. The Democratic League representatives told me that the Generalissimo had favored such a meeting, but had stated that it should be confined to a discussion of the eight points of the October 16th statement. I had advised these gentlemen to start the discussion with the eighth point which related to the submission of names of delegates to the National Assembly and to explore the objections and the remedies therefor. Now, today (Nov 5) I was informed that the meeting had not been held because the Government declined to participate.

The Generalissimo replied that the Government would not participate because of indications that the Communists wished to eliminate American mediation. I replied that I regretted that there had been a failure to meet for this reason because it was not a matter that could be settled by pressure. The Communists either accepted us as mediators or did not accept us; they trusted us or did not trust us. The decision as to that could not be settled any other way.

The Generalissimo referred to the report of the meeting which was actually held between the Third Party and General Chou En-lai in which General Chou had been requested to state the Communist demands and had done so (Copy attached—Incl. 1).76 He stated that [Page 487]General Chou’s reference to the settlement of the disputes in teams and in Executive Headquarters indicated the Communist desire to eliminate American mediation. I disagreed with this point of view, since most of the other of the eight points was involved in these adverse implications.

The Generalissimo stated that the time had come to stop the fighting and he was prepared for an unconditional termination of hostilities. He wished Dr. Stuart and me to advise him as to an announcement to that effect and with reference to the approaching meeting of the National Assembly. With some further discussion without important reference, Dr. Stuart and I withdrew to consider the Generalissimo’s request.

We proceeded to draft a document which we thought presented the Generalissimo’s views as to the termination of fighting and as to conciliatory attitude and also proposed the procedure for the meeting of the National Assembly which we thought might be acceptable to the minority party groups if announced by the Government. (See copy attached—Incl. 2).77 However, before completing this document, we received most confidentially a draft of such a statement prepared by the Generalissimo (Copy attached—Incl. 3)78 which we felt would not improve the situation and on the contrary was highly provocative, too lengthy, and difficult to understand.

On November 7th, Dr. Stuart and I met again with the Generalissimo and presented a Chinese translation of our draft and commented on his to the effect that it would be very unfavorably received abroad because of its length, its repetition of old arguments and its provocative nature. We also stated that so far as we could anticipate, it would arouse bitter feeling among the minority parties and that it would lose most of the valuable effect which might result from the statement that the fighting would be terminated.

In a lengthy speech, the Generalissimo explained that in preparing his draft he had to take into consideration a number of important points, namely:

While previously there had been a divided opinion as to the proper course to be followed by the Government, there had very recently become a complete unanimity in the Government as to the course to be followed which was one of force; the belief being that by no other method could matters be finally settled.
He must give careful consideration to the delegates who had been legally elected in 1936 and who had already assembled in Nanking. If they were, in a sense, ignored by any prolonged delay of the National Assembly, a very serious situation would arise which might even involve riots here in Nanking. Furthermore, that if he unduly [Page 488]accentuated the PCC influence on the procedure of the National Assembly as to the consideration of the Constitution, he would seriously offend this large portion of the party.
He must give very careful consideration to the Army, considering the losses sustained in carrying forward the campaign and now was to be greeted by the announcement of the cessation of hostilities with what amounted to a virtual unconditional surrender of the Government’s position. He stated that the reference in our draft to the immediate and unconditional termination of hostilities could not be supported by him before the military and political leaders of the Kuomintang; that the morale of the Army would suffer greatly by such an announcement which would be a very serious matter.
He stands practically alone in the belief that matters could and should be settled by peaceful negotiations and the fighting stopped.

The Generalissimo concluded by asking us to consider his statements and to advise him accordingly as to what announcement he should make. I replied that I would have to have an opportunity to consult with Dr. Stuart as I was seriously concerned as to whether or not I should participate, as a representative of the U. S. Government, in the preparation of a paper in accordance with the point of view he had indicated which was generally antagonistic to my views and, I thought, those of the United States Government. However, I would discuss the matter with Dr. Stuart.

It should have been mentioned that the Generalissimo made quite a point of objection to a temporary adjournment of the National Assembly once it had convened, as proposed in our draft, on the grounds that this would probably be of indefinite length; would provoke the Government members here assembled in Nanking to serious reactions; and would be taken as a rather complete surrender of the position which had been held up to this time by the Government.

On November 8th, Dr. Stuart and I called on the Generalissimo at his request at 11:30. We had hurriedly prepared a redraft of our statement (Incl. 4)79 to represent the points of view expressed by the Generalissimo and to eliminate the portions of our draft which were opposed thereto. He notified us on our arrival that there was to be a meeting of the political and military advisers at one o’clock today at which they would decide:

Whether there should be a cessation of fighting.
Whether or not the National Assembly should be postponed.

This was why he wanted to see us this morning. We submitted our draft with an oral statement of the various points that he made which had been included therein, concluding with the statement by me that in submitting this draft it must be understood that it did not have my approval as a representative of the U. S. Government, that we [Page 489]had merely endeavored to help him as staff officers might assist him in drafting his views, but in the least provocative manner. To make doubly sure that this was understood, I repeated it very carefully at the termination of the meeting. That is, that the draft we had submitted did not have my approval and was only prepared to render him some assistance in the expression of his own views. I added that I was in rather complete disagreement with his military leaders.

The Generalissimo referred again to the meeting to be held at 1 o’clock and asked us to hold ourselves in readiness to meet with him later in the day. He expressed his thanks for our efforts and his understanding of our position.

During this meeting, Dr. Stuart had described at some length his meeting of the previous evening with General Chou En-lai and the representatives of the Third Party during which the decision was made by the minority group that a reply should be submitted to the Generalissimo’s formal proposal of October 16th, and also the view was expressed that it was his desire for a limited period of say, two weeks after the initial convocation of the National Assembly, during which successful negotiations by the Committees might possibly be achieved. Throughout this meeting, General Chou displayed great bitterness toward the Generalissimo; contempt for any proposition that the eight points be considered and a state of complete distrust of the purposes of the Government.

  1. For notes on conversation of November 3, see p. 466.
  2. See notes on General Chou’s statement of November 5, p. 472.
  3. United States Relations With China, p. 676.
  4. Ante, p. 476.
  5. November 8, supra.