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Editorial Summary of a Meeting of the Military Sub-Committee
March 9, 1946, 3:00 P.M., Generalissimo’s Aide’s Office Chungking, China
Chou En-lai requested the meeting in order to discuss the status of Communist divisions surrounded near Hankow (Hupeh province) and Canton (Kwangtung province). Chou reported on Communist-Nationalist talks regarding the withdrawal, in part due to food shortages, by rail of some forty thousand Communist troops north of Hankow and the demobilization of another twenty thousand. The government opposed the move because the Communists had to pass through hundreds of miles of Nationalist troops (they were surrounded by nine government armies) and because there were food and transportation shortages. The government preferred to try to feed the Communists in place; Chou objected that this would not solve the reorganization problems. Marshall expressed concern that field commanders might object to various other impending movements and demobilizations under the military reorganization plan to which the two sides had already agreed. Generals Chang and Chou agreed that they would meet to discuss Hupeh province’s food problems and would postpone for two weeks consideration of the troop movement issue.
The conferees then considered the two or three thousand Communist troops surrounded in south China’s Kwangtung province, where the government’s local commander had asserted that the cease-fire order did not apply. All three agreed that the local commander was wrong in his interpretation of the cease-fire agreement, and Marshall said that he would inquire of Admiral Cooke as to whether the U.S. Navy might evacuate the Communist units.
The committee concluded the session with a discussion of problems relating to reopening the railroads. Marshall wrote instructions to Executive Headquarters directing its Railway Control Section to confer with the Ministry of Communications regarding creation of a unified administration for all railroads and the inclusion of Communist personnel in repair efforts. There was a brief discussion of the directive’s wording, but Marshall had to leave for a meeting with Chiang Kai-shek before the text could be agreed upon. The conferees decided to meet again on March 11. (Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 516-28.)
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. 495-496.