5-590 Draft Statement for the Generalissimo, November 7, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 7, 1946

Subject: Postwar, China

Draft Statement for the Generalissimo1

November 7, 1946 [Nanking, China]

On October 16th I made public a statement regarding the policy of the Government, with a series of proposals as a basis for the termination of hostilities. This was formally transmitted to the official representative of the Communist Party, but as yet no formal acknowledgement has been received. I had hoped that this would evoke a response from the Communist Party leading to a final and complete cessation of war. Today, on the eve of the meeting of the National Assembly, I wish to reassert the consistent policy of the Government to promote internal peace and national unity and to carry through to consummation the conclusion of the period of political tutelage and the inauguration of constitutional democracy. As a further evidence of the sincere desire of the Government to achieve a lasting peace and political stability for the country, orders have been issued for all Government troops to cease firing except as may be necessary to defend their present positions. Further, I wish to announce that the Government desires to reach an immediate agreement with the Communist Party for the unconditional termination of hostilities.

In accordance with the resolutions of the PCC, the National Assembly was to have been convened on May 5th, 1946. However, the Communist Party and the Democratic League declined to submit the list of their delegates. Later, on July 4th, an announcement was made by the Government to the effect that the National Assembly would be convened on November 12th thus leaving a period of four months for discussions and preparations by all parties concerned. There has been objection to this procedure made by minority parties, especially on the grounds that the certain steps in the reorganization of the Government under the PCC agreements had not yet been carried out. To these objections I would say that the general situation had changed greatly changed since after the determination of the agreed procedure for the political development of the Government, serious fighting having developed in Manchuria and spread into North China., and the demobilization of the Communist forces was not initiated as agreed upon and has not yet been started. Under these conditions In this situation the normal procedure for reaching political agreements was rendered ineffective. However, any further postponement of the National Assembly would only serve to intensify the political and military instability as well as the sufferings of the people. legally elected delegates to the national Assembly have already arrived in Nanking and any further postponement of the Assembly would serve not only to intensify political and military instability with the consequent sufferings of the people, but would deny the only legal step by which the Government can return political power to the people. Therefore, it is the decision of the Government that the Assembly be formally convened on November 12th.

The Government is prepared to agree to an immediate but temporary adjournment of the National Assembly after formal convocation until the following conditions shall have been fulfilled:

1. Sufficient time has been allowed to permit the selection and arrival of the delegates who have not yet been selected.

2. Reorganization of the State Council has been agreed to by the PCC Steering Committee and the council established.

3. The Draft Constitution Committee shall have completed its work on a basis of the principles set forth in the PCC agreements.

When these conditions have been fulfilled, the National Assembly shall reconvene and proceed to the adoption of the Draft Constitution in the form presented.

As regards the reorganization of the Executive Yuan that, according to the PCC resolutions, is a function of the State Council. Furthermore, it involves a drastic change in the administration of the Government which must be approached with careful deliberation.

In my recent statement of October 16th, the Government showed a spirit of conciliation which it was hoped would be accepted by the Communists in order that a complete settlement could be reached on all pending problems. The Government stands ready to provide ample opportunity for the Communist Party and other parties to develop along truly democratic lines. Militarily, however, no political party should maintain a private army. All troops should be servants of the state.

In the meeting of the National Assembly, the Government would reserve the Communist quota of the delegates in the hope that they will participate in the making of the constitution. The Government also hopes that the Communists will authorize their representative to participate in meetings of the Committees to discuss the immediate implementation of the measures for the restoration of communications and the reorganization and integration of armies as proposed in my statement of October 16th.

An agreement for the reorganization of the State Council should be reached and the Council formally established in order that it may immediately carry out its function for the reorganization of the Government in accordance with the PCC resolutions. As such reorganization involves a drastic change in the administration of the Government, it must be approached with careful deliberation.

As regards the draft of the Constitution, the Government will submit to the National Assembly the uncompleted draft of the Constitutional Drafting Committee. Whatever decision is made by this Assembly should be regarded as tentative pending further revision by a body representative of all parties, to be adopted at the following Assembly.

The next few weeks are of fateful importance to China. It is within our power to lay the foundations for a strong and prosperous democratic nation. We must overcome natural the serious but natural divergenceies of views as well as deep suspicions and much bitterness. The time has come to rise above these difficulties and dedicate ourselves purely to the service interests of the people. I am keenly conscious of the services and sacrifices of the armies of the Government and I am deeply aware of the political convictions and long and patriotic service of members of my party, but I feel compelled to act at this time solely in the interest of the people who so urgently need and desire peace and security. I appeal, therefore, to the members of my own and all other parties, to my colleagues in the Government and in the National Army, and to all others concerned to unite in a final effort to reach an agreement by peaceful means for achieving “the democratization of the government” and “the nationalization of the armed forces.”

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Department of State (RG 59), Lot Files, Marshall Mission, War Department, Originals, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed draft.

1. Marshall’s first draft of November 7 is the basis for this document. Lined-through characters were dropped in the revised (November 8) draft; characters added in the revised draft are indicated by italics. The revised draft and Chiang Kai-shek’s actual statement are in Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 484-86, 493-94.

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 736-739.

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