Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting Between General Marshall and Admiral Cooke at No. 5 Ning Hai Road, Nanking, July 24, 1946, 12 noon

Also Present: Col. Litzenberg, USMC36
Col. Caughey

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General Marshall told Admiral Cooke to go ahead with the reduction of the Marine Garrison at Tsingtao,37 avoiding publicity since the Generalissimo should not be given the idea that this action was a threat to him at this particular moment. General Marshall added that the Government has now reinforced Tsingtao and that further reinforcements could be moved in. With respect to Tientsin, General Marshall stated that the 53rd Army which is reported to be going to Chinwangtao could take over Marine duties in that region, although it is too early to start actual reductions at that place. General Marshall asked Admiral Cooke to continue planning however and said that at an opportune time he (General Marshall) would notify the Generalissimo of our intention to withdraw Tientsin garrison at a specified date. Admiral Cooke pointed out that there were certain considerations with respect to any Marine reductions and they were: The necessity [Page 870] for sufficient Marines to guard U. S. installations at Tsingtao and to protect U. S. property which is yet to be disposed; the possible eruption of an emergency situation in Shanghai which would require dispatch of Marines from North China by air or sea, for the purpose of protecting U. S. lives and property; the possible use of combat ships to stop Communist forces from crossing the Yangtze river to engage in sabotage activities against Shanghai installations. Admiral Cooke asked General Marshall if it would be appropriate to continue Tsingtao reductions in the face of these considerations. General Marshall replied, “yes”. Admiral Cooke stated that in that event, about 4,000 Marines could be taken out of Tsingtao leaving approximately 1900 for garrison and guard purposes.

Captured Marines

Admiral Cooke then brought up the question of the seven Marines which were recently captured by Communist forces. He stated that if the Communists did not release the Marines possibly some threat, such as giving ammunition to the National Government forces, should be employed. If they are released some form of apology should be demanded and punishment rendered to the Communist commanders.38 Admiral Cooke added that it was quite likely that Chairman Mao Tse-tung39 purposely adopted this course in order to stir up in the United States a feeling that the U. S. Marines should be withdrawn from China. General Marshall stated that before making up his mind he wanted to see the reply from Yenan to his recent messages. This reply could take three possible forms: (1) An open defiance, which would not be likely, (2) The suggestion of delay, this attitude being more likely since he agreed with Admiral Cooke that it is a strong possibility that Chairman Mao Tse-tung was attempting to develop a U. S. reaction, or (3) An apology which would have to be dealt with upon receipt depending upon the terms of the apology.

  1. Homer L. Litzenberg, Marine representative, 7th Fleet Liaison Group.
  2. Anticipating the possibility that General Marshall, incident to his negotiations, might recommend early reduction in 4th Marines reinforced, due to presence 54th Chinese Nationalist Army at Tsingtao, Admiral Cooke stated in his telegram No. 180434Z, July 18 to Admiral Towers: “It has been agreed between General Marshall and me that for the foreseeable future there should remain at Tsingtao a reduced battalion landing team of about 1000 personnel. Our view is that the special situation of the 7th Fleet ashore at Tsingtao requires a garrison force for internal security of naval facilities ashore such as is usually provided by a Marine barracks at a naval station.”
  3. Admiral Cooke noted in his telegram No. 260602Z, October 26, to General Marshall that, despite General Marshall’s having made representations to the highest Communist level, they had never disavowed nor apologized for the seven marines kidnapped, for the Anping incident (see final report of October 8, p. 320), or for the Hsinho ammunition raid.
  4. Chairman of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.