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Editorial Summary of a Meeting with Chang Chih-chung and Chou En-lai
February 9, 1946, 10:10 A.M. Chungking, China
General Byroade had been conducting discussions with Chang and Chou and had reached a general agreement on the wording of three draft documents regarding the restoration of communications in China: an order to Nationalist and Communist military commanders in North and Central China to assist in restoration efforts (document “A”); a memorandum to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek requesting that the government provide some technical staff to assist in railroad reconstruction (document “B”); and a memorandum of principles adopted regarding railroad reconstruction (document “C”). (The final versions of these are in Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 422-25.)
They began the discussion with document “C.” Chang and Chou agreed that the agreement applied to the period until the creation of a coalition government and to the eight railroad lines in the area north of the Yangtze River and south of Manchuria. The political and military aspects of railroad operation and construction (including the sending out of field teams to settle disputes) would be handled by a Railway Control Section to be established at Executive Headquarters. Document “C” was approved.
Document “A”—which directed local commanders to remove all blockages and military works along communications lines, to prevent interference with civilian travel, and to facilitate the work of repair personnel—was quickly approved with only minor amendments, as was document “B.” Chou En-lai then raised the issues of absorption of Communist railroad personnel by the reorganized Ministry of Communications and that ministry’s decision-making capacity. The three discussed the extent to which they needed to become involved, for the determination of principles or the sake of efficiency, in decisions and policies that would normally be handled by lower-level leaders (e.g., at Executive Headquarters). They then modified the paragraph in document “C” that dealt with train guards and administrative control and operating personnel so that it was clear that such personnel would be under the direct control of the Ministry of Communications, which itself would be under the general supervision of Executive Headquarters. The meeting ended with a general agreement of the importance of cooperation in the reopening of communications. (Ibid., pp. 398-422.)
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. 446-447.