Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting Between General Marshall and Mr. Butterworth at General Marshall’s Residence, Nanking, December 1, 1946, 11 a.m.

Also present: Mister Ludden82
Mister Melby83
Mister Sprouse84
Colonel Caughey

General Marshall opened the meeting by stating he was to see the Generalissimo and that he felt the reason for the Generalissimo’s request [Page 574] for such a meeting would concern, or would have as a basis, the new Constitution. Mister Butterworth stated that he and the Embassy people present had been discussing this matter previously in the morning, and agree in general that the new Constitution is based on PCC resolutions, is democratic, and should be adaptable to China’s need; but he added that no Constitution, however good, is worth very much unless the people who are responsible for its promulgation are themselves democratic-minded and true servants of the people. Mister Ludden injected the thought that probably the most important single step toward democracy for China is to get the “party hands out of the public coffers” and stated that while enforcement of this policy would cause “a terrific uproar”, such an enforcement could, itself, be a basis for the creation of a new minor party (consisting mainly of those evicted because of enforcement of the policy) with a leveling influence. General Marshall stated that he was relieved to know that Mister Butterworth had no particular points he wished him (General Marshall) to take up with the Generalissimo in this connection, and stated that he would assume there is nothing in the Constitution which he should contest.

General Marshall then asked Mr. Butterworth what his views were with reference to General Marshall’s continued negotiating. For instance, General Marshall mentioned that various liberal members of the Government might proceed to Yenan, thus indicating good intentions on the part of the Government, to invite the Communists to participate in the new Government. General Marshall also mentioned certain specific acts which might indicate good faith on the part of the Government, such as fixing the number of seats in the State Council at 9 for the Communists and 4 for the Democratic League; and moving for adjustments toward reorganizing the Executive Yuan, including Communist membership. (At this point there ensued a discussion on the organization of the Ministries within the Executive Yuan and a discussion as to which posts Communists might logically hold, such as Communications, and Agriculture and Forestry).

General Marshall then stated that upon General Chou’s departure, he had promised to find out from the CCP specifically whether or not it wished him to continue in mediation, and added that no reply had been received. He asked Mr. Butterworth’s opinion as to what he (General Marshall) should do. Mr. Butterworth stated that his instinct is against forcing a reply from the Communists since the reply probably would be negative and since, under those circumstances, there would be no recourse other than General Marshall’s departure from China. General Marshall mentioned that should he leave China, Dr. Stuart would continue as Ambassador, and Executive Headquarters remain in existence, and asked what effect his leaving might have on the general situation.

[Page 575]

Mr. Butterworth said General Marshall’s presence in China was a desirable restraining influence on the Government. Mr. Butterworth added that he felt General Marshall’s departure would be catastrophic, and in view of Dr. Stuart’s inclinations, would cause the United States, as far as its policy is concerned, to drift toward full support of the National Government.

General Marshall pointed out that his role in China could be interpreted by many, particularly the reactionary group in the Kmt, as an undesirable necessity since by keeping him continually in the picture the Government reactionaries could continue their undemocratic practices and military campaigns under the guise of willingness to negotiate. He added that this places him in a position which could compromise the United States policy.

  1. Raymond P. Ludden, Second Secretary of Embassy.
  2. John F. Melby, Second Secretary of Embassy.
  3. Philip D. Sprouse, Second Secretary of Embassy.