5-420 Meeting with Chou En-lai, April 27, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: April 27, 1946

Subject: China

Meeting with Chou En-lai

April 27, 1946, 10:30 A.M. Chungking, China

THE Democratic League had submitted some proposals aimed at stabilizing the Manchurian situation, but neither the Communists nor the government were prepared to accept them, preferring their own ideas. Control of the railroads was the main problem, Chou asserted. Military and political questions were being confused, Marshall suggested; when the political situation was resolved, the military confusion would subside. Marshall said that he had been searching for a quick solution to the Manchurian problem during his entire mission, but this was hard to accomplish amid mistrust and fundamental differences.

The situation in Manchuria was continually getting worse, according to Chou; the government wanted to fight and then talk, whereas the Communists wanted to stop fighting and then talk. Marshall was meeting with Chiang Kai-shek that evening, so he asked Chou if he had any proposals to make regarding troop dispositions. Chou outlined four points for immediate action (separate the armies, cease troop movements, solve the communications problems, and dispatch truce teams to points of close troop contact and along the main rail lines), and four additional points to be discussed after agreement on the first four items. Marshall stressed the importance of providing explicit instructions for the truce teams, such as specifying that Communist and Nationalist units be separated by twenty miles. Marshall noted some of the complications that were likely to arise in implementing any agreements and suggested that if Chou had any definite proposals, they could meet again the next morning. Nationalist secret police organizations stationed along the railroads were one of his main concerns, Chou said, suggesting that this would complicate Executive Headquarters’s attempts to cooperate in settling the railroad problem. (Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 797-800.)

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. 531-532.

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