Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270
Statement by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek at Nanking on November 8
On October 16th I made public a statement regarding the policy of the Government, with a series of proposals as a basis for the termination of hostilities. I had hoped that this would evoke a response from the Communist Party leading to a final and complete cessation of war. Today on the eve of the meeting of the National Assembly, I wish to reassert the consistent policy of the Government to promote internal peace and national unity and to carry through to consummation the conclusion of the period of political tutelage and the inauguration of constitutional democracy. As a further evidence of the sincere desire of the Government to achieve a lasting peace and political stability for the country, orders have been issued for all Government troops in China proper and the Northeast to cease firing except as may be necessary to defend their present positions.
In accordance with the resolutions of the PCC, the National Assembly was to have been convened on May 5th, 1946. However, the Communist Party and other parties declined to submit the list of their delegates. Later, on July 4th, an announcement was made by the Government to the effect that the National Assembly would be convened on November 12th thus leaving a period of four months for discussions and preparations by all parties concerned. There has been objection to this procedure made by minority parties, especially on the ground that certain steps in the reorganization of the Government under the PCC agreements had not been carried out. In this connection, I would say that the general situation changed greatly during the six months after the conclusion of the PCC conferences, serious fighting having developed in Manchuria and spread into North China, and the demobilization of Communist forces was not initiated as agreed upon and has not been started. Under these conditions the procedure for reaching political agreements was rendered ineffective. However, legally elected delegates to the National Assembly have already arrived in Nanking and any further postponement of the Assembly would serve not only to intensify political and military instability with the consequent sufferings of the people, but would deny the only legal step by which the Government can return political power to the people. Therefore, it is the decision of the Government that the Assembly be formally convened on November 12th as scheduled.
In my recent statement of October 16th, the Government showed a spirit of conciliation which it was hoped would be reciprocated by the Communists in order that a complete settlement could be reached [Page 494]on all pending problems. The Government stands ready to provide ample opportunity for the Communist Party and other parties to develop along truly democratic lines. Militarily, however, no political party should maintain a private army. All troops should be servants of the state.
In the meeting of the National Assembly, the Government will reserve quotas of the delegates for the Communists as well as for the other parties in the hope that they will participate in the making of the constitution. The Government also hopes that the Communists will authorize their representatives to participate in meetings of the Committees to discuss the immediate implementation of the measures for the cessation of hostilities, the disposition of troops, the restoration of communications and the reorganization and integration of armies as proposed in my statement of October 16th.
It is hoped that an agreement for the reorganization of the State Council will be reached and the Council formally established. The reorganization of the Executive Yuan cannot be effected before the adjournment of the present National Assembly. As such reorganization involves a drastic change in the administration of the Government, it must be approached with careful deliberation.
As regards the draft of the constitution, the Government will submit to the National Assembly the uncompleted draft of the Constitutional Drafting Committee. Within six months after the adjournment of the present National Assembly, a general election will take place according to the adopted constitution. All parties and all citizens can then freely take part in this election, in order to bring into existence the next National Assembly which will exercise its functions as stipulated by the Constitution. Should any modification be found necessary in the next National Assembly, amendments still could be introduced by all parties.
The next few weeks are of fatal importance to China. It is within our power to lay the foundations for a strong and prosperous democratic nation. We must overcome the serious but natural divergencies of view as well as deep suspicions and much bitterness. The time has come to arise above these difficulties and dedicate ourselves purely to the interests of the people who so urgently need and desire peace and security. I appeal, therefore, to the members of my own and all other parties, to my colleagues in the Government and in the National Army, and to all others concerned to unite in a final effort to reach an agreement by peaceful means for achieving “the democratization of the government” and “the nationalization of the armed forces.”