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Meeting with Yu Ta-wei
July 31, 1946, 6:45 P.M. Nanking, China
GENERAL Yu asked what had been the results of General Marshall’s July 26-30 visit with the Generalissimo at Kuling. “Practically none,” Marshall replied. Ambassador Stuart had become ill with dysentery, which delayed things, but it seemed to Marshall that Chiang Kai-shek “was somewhat resentful of Dr. Stuart’s appointment as ambassador because he referred to him several times as being merely a college professor.” Marshall said that he had had Stuart appointed because whenever he (Marshall) broached political subjects Chinese “politicos always seemed to go way back into history to start educating him,” which would not be necessary with Stuart, who “knows more about China and has more China in his head than almost anyone in China.”
The next time he went to Kuling, Marshall said, “he would have to go into the seriousness of the present situation very decidedly with the Generalissimo.” The information he was receiving from the War Department on U.S. media and public opinion indicated a “tremendous change in the U.S. attitude towards China,” particularly a loss in Chiang’s prestige. “That is sheer tragedy. The Generalissimo represents perhaps the greatest capital of China. Now he is being stripped. His advisors give him such prejudiced advice that the situation seems hopeless.”
Military considerations were no longer the key problem, Marshall asserted; a high-level political settlement had to take place quickly. The Generalissimo’s keeping “under surveillance almost every individual who had a liberal thought in China” and suppressing the press was damaging the government in American eyes, “yet he does not realize that.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 1422-26.)
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. 639-640.