893.00/11–1348: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State 82

2204. General Chang Chih-chung is here on visit from Sian having been summoned by Generalissimo to discuss current issues. He called on me earlier this week and lengthy discussion ensued. He said he told Generalissimo that he still held views expressed last June to Generalissimo in Sian to effect that it was useless to continue military struggle with Communists; that this position was now all the more true and that all people wanted peace. Generalissimo’s reply according to Chang was that he also had always realized that the problem could not always be solved by military means, but that he (Generalissimo) wished to wait until conditions were more favorable to Government before undertaking negotiations.

In discussing Communist policy in event of resumption of peace talks and establishment of coalition government with strong Communist participation, Chang reviewed record and public statements of present Communist leaders on basis his acquaintance over past 20 years. They are all, he said, men of peasant stock, strongly nationalistic, and while doubtless on very friendly terms with Russia, and had attained all their technique and ideology from USSR, he still did not believe that these men would want China to sacrifice her independence. In admitting present indication to the contrary, he advised US to be on guard but open-minded; that US could encourage more democratic and nationalistic elements of CCP as opposed to radical pro-Russian group which, in his opinion, is in minority.

Chang denied press reports that he had long discussion with Soviet Ambassador, declaring he had seen Roschin this time only briefly. While denying that he had discussed [on] this visit the possibility of USSR acting as mediator in civil war, he alleged that there were other Chinese who had reopened this idea. As far as he (Chang) was concerned, he considered ideal solution would be for US and USSR to act jointly in mediator role; that such step would be great contribution to world peace if influence of these two countries could be fused in China into something that brought them together with common objective. He refused to believe that aims of two countries, as far as China was concerned, were too divergent to attempt this.

This lead to discussion of American policy and his comments he said came from the heart as an old friend of mine. He spoke of very general critical feeling toward US among all types of Chinese and [Page 565] expressed hope we would adopt clear-cut policy and stick to it. Kmt followers blamed US for inadequate, long-delayed aid, while CCP followers blamed US for helping Kmt and thus preventing Chinese solution of an internal problem and Chinese in between, while belonging to neither group, blamed US for vacillating and inconsistent policy, however well-meaning, which only increased hardships of people and produced nothing constructive. His remarks in this direction, he assured me, were made in desire to lead US to decision which might be made unmistakably clear and remove hopes and fears regarding our future course from minds of Chinese of all types.

He concluded that he had talked very freely with Generalissimo on more than one occasion since his arrival in Nanking but after Generalissimo’s latest statement at Kmt headquarters last Monday he is resigned to fact that any further efforts in Generalissimo’s direction are useless.

Above views of Chang should be considered in light of his known record and attitudes. As Department will recall, he was one of the more active Government negotiators during General Marshall’s Mission in China.83 He got along with Chou En-lai84 perhaps better than anyone else and the two men are friends of many years standing. Chou himself once remarked that he found Chang easier to deal with than anyone else. Some months ago Chang admitted to a reliable American correspondent that he had maintained contact with Chou. It is also known that Chang has for some time now been an open advocate of coalition as the only way out of the current impasse. His record in Sinkiang, on the whole, has been good in terms of conciliation and maintenance of status quo. He appears to have gotten along well with all factions there including Soviets. It seems likely that in event of coalition he would be more acceptable to Chinese Communists than would most Government leaders.

  1. Copy transmitted by the Secretary of State to the White House on November 13 for President Truman at Key West, Florida.
  2. General of the Army George C. Marshall was Special Representative of President Truman in China, December 1945–January 1947.
  3. Member of the Central Committee and the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party; head of the Communist delegation during 1946 negotiations.