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Meetings with Chou En-lai and Yu Ta-wei
July 5, 1946 Nanking, China
CHOU En-lai, 5:45 P.M.
Chou complained that the government’s recent public announcement that the National Assembly would be convened on November 12 (Sun Yat-sen’s birthday) constituted “a bomb shell to the Communist Party,” because both sides had previously agreed that the assembly would not meet until all outstanding political and military issues had been settled. The Communist party had refrained from calling an assembly of people’s delegates from the Communist liberated areas, Chou noted, because they desired unity and cooperation for the whole country. Now the government was “threatening the Communists to come to terms before a certain date or the Government would go ahead unilaterally.” Chou then explained the results of his meeting with government represernatives led by Foreign Minister Wang Shih-chieh.
He was “a little afraid,” Marshall responded, that the Communists’ insistence that local governments not be changed in those areas that the party’s troops vacated would make a general agreement on troop dispositions “rather impossible,” as Chiang Kai-shek had insisted that the government would “not accept that procedure.” He hoped that some temporary measure on reorganizing the government—precisely what he did not know—would pave the way for a formal settlement of outstanding issues. He emphasized the need “to clear the air of conflict and permit political discussions with a reasonable chance of success.” It was extremely important, Marshall asserted, that the fighting stop and agreement reached on his “Preliminary Agreement to Govern the Amendment and Execution of the Army Reorganization Plan of February 25, 1946.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 1299-1305.)
Yu Ta-wei, 6:30 P.M.
The Generalissimo had sent him, Yu said, to tell Marshall that the Communists had taken, by force and without justification, cities in both Shantung and Shansi provinces, and that if they did not stop such actions he would break off negotiations with them. The Communists had reported to him similar instances where the government had attacked, Marshall replied; both sides conducted “outrageous and stupid” retaliatory military actions. Each sides’ military commanders were anxious to demonstrate military power in order to force political concessions by the other. It was crucial that the conference he had arranged between the two sides (aimed at resolving civil administration matters with respect to areas vacated by the Communists) solve that problem, because it was blocking Committee of Three action on other issues. Marshall promised to “take up the grievances of each side with the other side.” (Ibid., pp. 1305-7.)
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. 622-623.