5-530a Meetings with John Leighton Stuart and Chou En-lai, August 12, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 12, 1946

Subject: China

Meetings with John Leighton Stuart and Chou En-lai

August 12, 1946 Nanking, China


JOHN Leighton Stuart, 9:30 A.M.

Outlining his meeting the previous evening, the ambassador noted that Chou En-lai had been “vitriolic” toward Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists. Chou also believed that the Marshall-Stuart joint statement (see Draft Joint Statement, August 9, 1946, #5-525) was a clear admission that the Americans felt that Marshall’s mission had failed; Stuart denied this. Chou then outlined the conditions under which the Communists might accept Chiang Kai-shek’s military terms in five regions.

Stuart favored a public statement of the U.S. position on the Anping incident and withdrawal from participation in the committee investigating it. Marshall said he was reluctant to do this as “it would prove conclusively to the Government that he too had had come to the conclusion that it is not practical to settle matters by the processes of negotiation with the Communists and that such a statement would undoubtedly sterilize completely Executive Headquarters.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 7-8.)

Chou En-lai, 10:50 A.M.

Marshall began with a lengthy examination of the current state of the Anping incident investigation, which, Marshall was convinced, was being blocked by the local Communist representative at Executive Headquarters “under orders from higher authority” (i.e., party headquarters in Yenan, not Chou). Admiral Cooke, under whom the Marines in China served, had recently protested to Marshall about the delay in the investigation, Communist propaganda about the incident, and new attacks on Marines (see the following document). He also told Chou about his discussion that morning with Ambassador Stuart on the need for and potential results of a U.S. statement on the incident and its investigation.

Chou reiterated the Communist position on the incident and suggested “a prompt investigation” to determine the facts. He rejected the idea that the Communists were solely to blame for the delay and asserted that Communist-proposed procedures were reasonable. As for Marine guards on the railroads and highways, they were in essence assisting the Nationalists “and freak accidents are bound to occur.” Chou suggested that if the Marines were to stay in China, they ought to garrison and control certain specific areas, permitting neither Communist nor Nationalist troops to enter.

Marshall rejected Chou’s implication that the Communists were being barred from presenting their side of the Anping incident. He was unwilling, however, to permit the Communists to include in the program as facts statements that were to be investigated (e.g., that Nationalist troops had participated with the Marines). Marshall also vigorously denied that local U.S. authorities were concealing or bending the facts, as the Communist press was asserting. (Ibid., pp. 8-20.)


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