5-565 Editorial Summary of a Meeting with John Leighton Stuart

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: October 1, 1946

Subject: China

Editorial Summary of a Meeting with John Leighton Stuart and Tung Pi-wu and Wang Ping-nan


October 1, 1946 Nanking, China

John Leighton Stuart, 9:40 A.M.

Dr. Stuart suggested that he and Marshall urge the government and the Communists to hold “immediate and simultaneous” meetings of the Five-Man Committee and the Committee of Three. Marshall replied that he had told Yu Ta-wei, his liaison with the Generalissimo, that he would participate in Committee of Three meetings, but he doubted that the Communists would do so under the conditions imposed by the government. Moreover, if the meetings stalemated, Marshall said he was “finished. He would not continue to go along in further delays and long dragged out procedures leading nowhere.” He could not, in good faith, “become a party to the Government’s evident delays in negotiations while proceeding with a Kalgan campaign against the Communists.” Marshall felt that he and Stuart were, in effect, being made “stooges.” He was also inclined to attempt to force government leaders to back down on some of their demands. “Perhaps the best idea,” Marshall said, “would be to send some sort of a memorandum to the Generalissimo late this afternoon, informing him that General Marshall had practically come to the conclusion that the United States Government could no longer continue to be a third party to the present procedure.” Stuart agreed. (Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 260-62.)


Tung Pi-wu and Wang Ping-nan, 10:05 A.M. [added for the internet edition]

Tung commented on some of the areas where government forces had attacked Communists since the breakdown of negotiations in June. The Communists were especially concerned about the government’s current three-pronged attack on Kalgan, a strategic city just over one hundred miles northwest of Peiping. They had already notified the government that this precluded further negotiations, and they desired that Marshall do this also. Marshall responded that he had made it clear to both sides that he disagreed with their recent actions and stated that his “endurance” as mediator had “about reached the limit.” For months, whenever he struggled with one side to come to terms, the other would make some announcement that undermined his efforts. “I do not agree with either the stand of the Government or of the Communist Party; and I think possibly, in my position, I have the best understanding of the fears of each side with regard to the other. Distrust, fear and suspicion are the roots of the trouble.” He would do his best in the next few days to affect a compromise, Marshall concluded. (Ibid., pp. 262-66.)

John Leighton Stuart, 11:45 A.M. [added for the internet edition]

The ambassador reported that he had just come from a meeting with T. V. Soong, who feared the disastrous consequences of a breakdown in negotiations. Soong gave Stuart an outline of procedures he thought might overcome the current difficulties. Marshall read the outline and dismissed it as taking too long to implement—meanwhile the fighting would continue—and merely returning the situation to where it had been in June. He repeated his belief that soon he would have to recommend that his mediation mission be terminated. (Ibid., pp. 266-67.)

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. 698-699.

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