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Editorial Note on the Committee of Three’s Visit to North China
February 28, 1946
With significant progress seemingly being made toward solving the key military problems of cessation of hostilities and military reorganization and integration, Marshall desired that the Committee of Three visit Executive Headquarters in Peiping and various trouble spots in northern China where Truce Teams were active; Chou En-lai convinced him to include Communist headquarters in Yenan. The visits would allow the Committee of Three to impress upon local military and political leaders American-Nationalist-Communist solidarity, explain in detail the meaning and importance of the various agreements, and reinforce the importance of the tripartite Executive Headquarters and its Truce Teams as local mediators. The schedule called for the group to visit and receive briefings at Peiping (February 28), Kalgan and Chining (March 1), Tsinan and Hsuchow (March 2), Hsinhsiang and Taiyuan (March 3), Kueisui and Yenan (March 4), and Hankow (March 5).
Flying in Marshall’s C-54 transport plane, Chou En-lai, Chang Chih-chung, Marshall, and thirteen aides and assistants departed on the morning of February 28. After the hectic weeks of meetings and negotiations in Chunking, Embassy Second Secretary John F. Melby observed: “There is a nice dopey lull today because Marshall took off early for Peiping.” (Melby, Mandate of Heaven, p. 96.) At 1:00 P.M. their thousand-mile trip ended at Peiping’s West Field, which was operated by the U.S. Marine Corps Twenty-fifth Air Group. They were met by a large delegation of local Chinese military leaders and members of the Executive Headquarters staff. At 4:00 P.M. the visitors were briefed on the military situation in North China (see Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 453-62). After this, Generals Chang and Chou offered some brief remarks to the headquarters staff. Marshall took the opportunity to speak at length.
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. 485-486.