5-576 Editorial Summary of Meetings with John Leighton Stuart, Charles M. Cooke, Jr., and Others

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Subject: China

Editorial Summary of Meetings with John Leighton Stuart, Charles M. Cooke, Jr., and Others

October 10-13, 1946 Nanking China

John Leighton Stuart and Wang Ping-nan, October 10, 6:00 P.M.

Marshall described to Wang his surprise at discovering, during his Shanghai meeting with Chou En-lai, that Chou made a “great issue” of the wording of two Marshall-dictated documents. (See meeting summary, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-574 [5: 713].) “We have so many things that are in dispute, are genuinely in dispute,” Marshall continued, “that it seems too bad when differences between the Government and the Communist Party develop over my wording. I tried to say all this to General Chou but I did not appear to make him understand. I could only guess that his general suspicion was so overwhelming that he could not accept my explanation.”

More important than this, in Marshall’s view, was Chou’s opinion that for the Communists even to consider the Generalissimo’s most recent propositions was equivalent to a surrender. He and Stuart did not believe that the Communists were “committed to anything except to sit down at the table.” Chou had also reversed his position on the extent of negotiations: previously he had sought to limit discussions to the Committee of Three and the cessation of hostilities; now he wanted unlimited discussions. This, Marshall told Wang, “left me completely baffled.”

Doctor Stuart commented on Chou En-lai’s October 9 response to Chiang Kai-shek’s proposals and to Marshall and Stuart’s mediation efforts. (See the meeting summary, ibid., #5-574 [5: 713-14], and the document in Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 345- 48.) He and Marshall thought the ten-day truce with negotiations was a good idea, and they were disappointed with Chou’s indication of “an uncooperative attitude” and with a morning press story stating that a Communist spokesman in Shanghai asserted that he and Marshall were deliberately helping the government. Marshall concluded that he was hopeful about the possibility of successful negotiations, if undertaken. He then delineated his understanding of the government’s minimum demands, so that the Communists would not misunderstand what might be achieved. Wang Ping-nan promised to report the gist of the meeting to Chou En-lai and to Yenan. (Ibid., pp. 354-58.)


Charles M. Cooke, Jr., October 11, 11:30 A.M. [added for the internet edition]

The Seventh Fleet commander wished to ascertain Marshall’s position on the U.S. Navy’s acquiring bases at Tsingtao and Shanghai. He had no objections, Marshall replied. He did, however, think that inviting Chiang Kai-shek to a U.S. Navy Day celebration at Tsingtao—aimed at encouraging the Generalissimo to expand his own navy—might cause problems, and he suggested that the Chinese leader be encouraged to make a routine inspection at Tsingtao the week before Navy Day.

Marshall then outlined for Admiral Cooke the status of the negotiations and his ideas with reference to a possible closing down of U.S. interests in China in the event negotiations failed (i.e., close Executive Headquarters, suspend Military Assistance Group activities, and concentrate the Marines at Tientsin and the navy at Tsingtao). Marshall then reported on the status of the Anping incident investigation and requested that Cooke establish a scheduled ship service to the American consulate at Dairen. (NA/RG 59 [Marshall Mission, Political Affairs, Conferences Miscellaneous, vol. 5].)

C. P. Lee, October 12, 9:40 A.M.

General Lee came to report on developments in his effort to assemble a group of influential people to help Marshall and Stuart with Chinese political issues during the mediation. “General Marshall wondered whether this is the right moment to initiate such a group, in view of the fact that Kalgan is now captured and the Communists have declared a National split. And yet, if we should wait for further development, it might be too late.” Marshall thought that Lee might discuss his ideas with the Communists, so long as Lee did not reveal that he had already discussed it with Marshall. (Ibid., pp. 360-61.)


John Leighton Stuart, October 13, 3:00 P.M.

Stuart had just talked with Liang Shu-ming—rural reformer, writer, and member of the Democratic League—who said that the capture of Kalgan and the government’s order for the National Assembly to meet had made the Communists and the minor parties “extremely apprehensive as to the possibility of continuing negotiations.” Liang suggested that Marshall find out from Chiang Kai-shek what his political plans were, and that Marshall and Stuart meet with minor party representatives in Shanghai. Marshall said that he doubted that a Shanghai trip would accomplish anything, but he would approach the Generalissimo to see what steps could be taken to resolve the various issues. (Ibid., pp. 362-63.)

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. 717-718.

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