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Editorial Summary of a Meeting with Chiang Kai-shek
December 21, 1945, 9:15 P.M. Nanking, China
Marshall flew from Shanghai to Nanking on the morning of December 21. That evening there was a meeting that included Marshall, Generalissimo Chiang, Madame Chiang (who did the translating), Wedemeyer, Robertson, and Wang Shih-chieh, China’s foreign minister.
The Truman administration and Americans generally were “warmly disposed” toward China, Marshall began, but reluctant to interfere in its internal affairs and to keep troops in the country. Marshall emphasized that the administration’s policies depended a sense almost entirely upon United States public appreciation of the reasonableness and determination on the part of both sides to reach satisfactory settlement.” This public gaze would fall most sternly upon the Nationalist government, but if the Communist party did not make efforts toward compromise, they too would lose sympathy in the United States.
His mission was to listen to all Chinese groups, Marshall stated, but he would not make his personal views known to anyone but the Generalissimo himself. Chiang replied that he understood the U.S. position and hoped that Marshall would speak frankly to him. The Chinese Communist party, Chiang asserted, depended upon the Russians in all matters of broad policy, and he described a number of his recent problems with the Russians in Manchuria. But Stalin suddenly appeared to reverse this unfriendly attitude and requested that Chiang send a representative to Moscow for talks. Marshall recalled that he had had good relations with Stalin during the war but not with his Foreign Ministry; the same applied to his relations with Prime Minister Churchill and the British Foreign Office. “Our own State Department might be considered in a similar manner—they use mysterious language.” (Foreign Relations, 1945, 7: 794-99. These minutes were written by General Wedemeyer from notes he took.)
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), p. 400.