Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Notes on Meeting Between General Marshall and General Yeh Chieh-ying at Executive Headquarters, Peiping, November 26, 1946, 10 a.m.

Also present: Capt. Soong
Mr. Wang

General Yeh told General Marshall that he was planning to go to Harbin to settle the problem of an American liaison office in Harbin and that he would return to Peiping on the 29th. After his return from Harbin, he planned to go to Yenan for consultation, although he had no instructions from Yenan as yet. He said Mr. Tung Pi Wu telegraphed him that a meeting was held between Dr. Stuart and Mr. Wang Ping Nan, in which Dr. Stuart stated that he would continue his efforts to achieve peace and unity in China.

General Yeh then reported to General Marshall regarding the activities of the Communist Branch in the Executive Headquarters. He said that the Communist Branch was established on January 13. Up to May 7, there was a total of 400 Communist personnel in the Executive [Page 564] Headquarters, including 100 working for the liberation paper and 40 attached to the Communist Liaison Office in Peiping. However, since 7 May the Communist personnel withdrew gradually because of suspension of the liberation paper and termination of the liaison office. In the face of warlike conditions in Manchuria and North China since May, it was impossible for the Communist Branch to function fully in the Executive Headquarters and in the field teams. Now there are only 12 remaining in Changchun and 52 in Peiping. However, General Yeh pointed out that the fundamental staff members are still in the Executive Headquarters and that once negotiations are revived, the Communist Branch in the Executive Headquarters will be ready to function again. General Yeh stated three conditions under which the entire Communist Branch in the Executive Headquarters would withdraw: 1) If the Government did not desire the Communist Branch to remain in the Executive Headquarters; 2) If communications for and safety of the members of the Communist Branch were restricted; or 3) a total military and political split. If none of the three conditions developed, the Communist Branch would remain.

General Yeh described the convening of the National Assembly as a step toward political split and that if the Government forces attacked Yenan, a military split would result. General Yeh charged that Government troops are actively preparing an attack on Yenan. If the attack was actually made, further negotiations would be impossible.

General Marshall then said that the present difficulty was severely aggravated by distrust and mutual suspicion. He stated that since July the Communists, including General Chou, had based their logic largely on their own propaganda, and had become the victims of that propaganda. General Marshall contended that the Government propaganda was equally bad if not worse, but that he is concerned primarily with the 450 million Chinese now suffering from the dispute between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. General Marshall stated that many of the Kuomintang members accused him of not knowing China; consequently he had invited Dr. Stuart to participate in the negotiations. However, when Dr. Stuart and General Marshall proposed the reorganization of the State Council in order to break the prevailing impasse, he found that Communist authorities would trust neither Dr. Stuart nor himself.

General Marshall said the mutual distrust was very serious. Both the Government and the Communists had at different times asked General Marshall and Dr. Stuart to give a guarantee for the opposing party, but that this guarantee could not properly be given by American mediators. Then, later, the integrity of General Marshall and Dr. Stuart was attacked by the Communists. Eventually, no one trusted anyone, and the situation became hopeless. General Marshall [Page 565] believed that such a situation had been greatly welcomed by the reactionary group in the Kuomintang whose policy was to use force and to surrender as little political power as possible. General Marshall emphasized that the Communist attack on General Marshall and on the United States Government’s policy in China merely served to give the Chinese people the misleading impression that the United States was favoring the Chinese Government.

General Marshall read excerpts from the minutes of his last meeting with General Chou before the latter’s return to Yenan. General Marshall stated he was just as interested as the Communists in the procedures outlined by the PCC and in the drafting and treatment of the Constitution before the National Assembly. Yet the present disagreement was not based on these fundamental issues.

General Yeh thanked General Marshall for his explanation. He said that since he had been in Peiping continuously, he could not comment. However, based on the fighting of the past five months, he would like to analyze the situation for General Marshall. He said that there were two evaluations of this fighting. First, the Government had scored impressive victories and now thought it could successfully conduct a broad military campaign. Second, although the Government had occupied many cities, the Communist troops were still intact, while the Government had lost much strength. Therefore, the Government had not actually been successful and a continued policy of force would not bring concrete results, and political negotiations should be revived. General Yeh elaborated on Communist strategy and claimed that evacuation of the large cities was in accordance with their plan. He emphasized that the Communists do not want any local victories; they want an over-all victory. General Yeh further pointed out that the Communists had learned through the past five months’ experience that the Government does not have sufficient troops to conduct campaigns in Manchuria and in North China simultaneously and that the Government is conducting a rigid program of recruiting and taxation. General Yeh said that the greatest obstacles for peace today are the CC clique, Tai Li’s69 organization and the militarists in the Kuomintang. General Yeh hoped that General Marshall would study the situation carefully and try his best to convince the Government of the necessity for a peaceful settlement.

General Marshall said he felt that it was utterly wrong for either side to use military force and that military campaigns conducted in the past had been most regrettable. He stated that the situation could not be settled by force and that he had not agreed with either side on their military operations. He then asked General Yeh’s opinion [Page 566] regarding the usefulness of American members of the field teams in view of the deep-rooted anti-American feeling stirred up by the Communist propaganda among the rank and file. General Yeh commented that the anti-American feeling among the low ranks in the Communist Party was not directed at individual Americans and that once negotiations are reopened he was confident that field teams would function effectively.

  1. Deputy Director of Bureau of Investigation and Statistics, Chinese National Commission of Military Affairs, until death in a plane crash earlier in the year.