Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting Between General Marshall and Mr. Butterworth41 at No. 5 Ning Hai Road, Nanking, November 21, 1946, 10:30 a.m.

Also present: Col. Underwood42

[Here follows discussion on various matters concerning the Embassy in China.]

General Marshall mentioned that General Yu Ta-wei43 was coming to see him at 11 a.m. He referred to minority party representation in the National Assembly and opined that General Yu Ta-wei would probably ask if composition of the National Assembly met United States demands for a representative government in China. General Marshall asked Mr. Butterworth’s advice on a reply to this question. Mr. Butterworth stated that he had never believed that a coalition government would work permanently in China. He considered it a satisfactory solution only during the interim period when the constitution was being prepared. Based on his European experience, he was somewhat skeptical of Communist willingness to cooperate in a coalition government. He felt that future events would be governed by the results of General Chou En-lai’s trip to Yenan. He thought that the United States should advocate a united China so long as the Communist Party desired assistance from the United States.

[Page 555]

General Marshall stated that the National Government was waging war on a large scale, heavily absorbing Government funds and contributing to increased inflation at the same time that it was asking the United States for large loans. He felt it important to make it emphatically clear to the Government that the military leaders were sinking the Government into economic chaos with their aggressive campaigns. He also considered that perhaps the time was propitious, to tell the Generalissimo that the United States could not consider favorably a government dominated by his association with the military and CC44 reactionary cliques, that the United States could not align itself with a reactionary government.

Mr. Butterworth recalled a copy of a memorandum45 from Mr. John Carter Vincent46 to Mr. Dean Acheson47 bearing on United States reaction to a coalition government in China which excluded the Communist Party. This memorandum was produced and discussed. The meeting terminated with General Yu Ta-wei’s arrival.

  1. W. Walton Butterworth, Minister-Counselor of Embassy in China.
  2. Col. G. V. Underwood, member of General Marshall’s staff.
  3. Chinese Minister of Communications and liaison for President Chiang with General Marshall.
  4. The Chen brothers, Li-fu and Kuo-fu, prominent Kuomintang members.
  5. August 21, p. 58.
  6. Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs.
  7. Under Secretary of State.