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Meetings with Chou En-lai and Hsu Yung-chang
May 4, 1946 Nanking, China
CHOU En-lai, 10:00 A.M.
This meeting was held primarily to discuss Chou’s April 29 memorandum to Marshall on the situation in Honan province. For some months, approximately nine government armies had surrounded a sixty-thousand-man Communist force in the mountains about one hundred miles north of Hankow. Chou’s memorandum warned that in early May the government intended to try to annihilate the Communist force, and that if such an offensive were launched “it will be viewed by the Chinese Communist Party as the signal given by the Nationalist forces for unleashing a nation-wide civil war.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 648.)
Marshall assured Chou that he had sent Chiang Kai-shek a copy of the April 29 memorandum and that he intended to talk to the Generalissimo about it. He was attempting “to locate the trouble area so that the representatives can go there immediately.” Marshall wanted Chou to go to the region, and he would arrange to send General Byroade and to locate “some responsible Kuomintang representative there with whom General Chou could deal.”
The Communists did not want war in either Manchuria or China proper, Chou assured Marshall. Moreover, hostility by low-ranking Communists toward Americans resulted from their perception that the U.S. supported the Nationalists. General Chou thanked Marshall for his efforts at facilitating the Communist delegation’s move from Chungking to Nanking and help in locating a house in the city. (Ibid., pp. 650-53.)
Hsu Yung-chang, 8:15 P.M.
Hsu, the newest member of the Committee of Three, denied Chou’s accusations about an imminent government attack north of Hankow. Both Chou and Marshall desired that General Hsu go to the area with Chou.
Marshall discussed the Manchurian situation and how Nationalist and Communist misperceptions and fears had aggravated the difficult problems there. With regard to control of Changchun, Marshall suggested that perhaps the Communists could evacuate the city but the government refrain from moving in its forces; meanwhile, Executive Headquarters could establish an advance echelon there to establish peace. (Ibid., pp. 813-14.)
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), p. 540.