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Editorial Summary of Meetings with S.J. Hasan, C. P. Lee, and Sun Tan-lin and Wu Chi-yu
December 30-31, 1946 Nanking, China
S. J. Hasan, December 30, 6:00 P.M.
Captain Hasan, chargé d’affaires of the Indian Office in Nanking, came to hear Marshall’s views on the political-military situation in China. No one knew what the Communist forces’ logistical position was, Marshall responded, although they claimed to have captured considerable government equipment. Moreover, guerrilla warfare did not require great quantities of supplies, and the Communist troops’ fanaticism compensated for shortages. Communist strategy, Marshall added “was based upon the expectation of an economic collapse before the National Government could achieve total military victory. At the same time the National Government was making very faulty and optimistic estimates of its ability to exterminate the CCP army.” The Communist assertion that the government would soon collapse “might possibly be correct,” given that the military campaign was consuming 80 to 90 percent of the budget. “Marshall then described at length the plight of the common people of China and that his prolonged stay in the face of distressing experiences with the Government and the CCP was based upon his hopes for doing something to improve the lot of the Chinese people.” (NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Political Affairs, Conferences Miscellaneous, vol. 7].)
C. P. Lee, December 31, 11:00 A.M. [added for the internet edition]
General Lee talked about his forthcoming trip to Shanghai for minority parties meetings. He thought the Democratic League would become the real balance between Communists and Nationalists. Marshall thought that an amalgamation of minority parties into a single liberal party was essential for genuine government reform and reorganization; the problem was that few in China understood “exactly how a democracy works and how an opposition party operates.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 667–69.)
Sun Tan-lin and Wu Chi-yu, December 31, 5:30 P.M.
Professor Wu served as interpreter for Mr. Sun, a former minister of the interior and a nonparty man who wished to hear Marshall’s views on China’s future. Marshall expounded on his liberal coalition ideas, with which Mr. Sun agreed, although he was dubious about its accomplishment given the pressures from Nationalists and Communists. Marshall admitted the difficulties; “the idea would be impossible of accomplishment without the indirect support of the Generalissimo.” When pressed by Marshall to name some people who might lead a liberal minority party, Sun suggested the names of three businessmen, whom he labeled the Chinese equivalents of Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller. Marshall was dubious; “the experience in the United States had been that this type of person did not do well in politics—that they were not equipped for the type of considerations necessary in political workings.” Unlike financiers, however, lawyers “seem to have the facility of moving in.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 669–71.)
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 767–768.