Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

General Marshall to the Commander of the Seventh Fleet (Cooke)13

1302. Reference your message August 9th,14 present situation Peiping regarding An Ping incident is that agreement has been reached Saturday evening by American and Communist Commissioners as to procedure and approval of National Commissioner was secured. Then Communist Commissioner, Sunday, added details in wording involving implications that were unacceptable.

Delicacy and embarrassment of situation for me is this: Government profits by delay and growing antagonism between Americans and Communists. Rupture would completely defeat my effort to secure Government agreement for cessation of hostilities and action to terminate present suppression of freedom of press and speech and positive steps for reorganization of present arbitrary and concentrated authority of Kuomintang Party.

It would also end role of Executive Headquarters. Hopei and Jehol Communist leaders are evidently most bitterly anti-American and I feel sure have of themselves precipitated this series of incidents which actually are critically harmful to Communist desires. Considerations of Soviet reactions and later procedure are also involved. I have just completed lengthy interview with Chou En-lai15 in which I demanded immediate acceptance of procedure tentatively agreed to by Commissioners on Saturday. He is communicating with Peiping and Yenan. The situation is much that of the proverbial rock and the whirlpool, except that one or two additional hazards are involved.

If you desire to make statement to press in light of the situation I do not object, but would like to see draft of such statement before release.

Delay in answering your message was due first to garbles which incidently indicated message was from Nimitz16 to me, and also my desire to first have this additional meeting with Chou. The other matters you brought up will be discussed later.

  1. Vice Adm. Charles M. Cooke, Jr.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Head of the Chinese Communist Party delegation at Nanking.
  4. Admiral of the Fleet Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet.