5-530b Meetings with Yu Ta-wei and Chou En-lai

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Subject: China

Meetings with Yu Ta-wei and Chou En-lai

August 13 and 15, 1946 Nanking, China


YU Ta-wei, August 13, 9:30 A.M.

General Yu gave Marshall a copy of Chiang Kai-shek’s message on the anniversary of the Japanese surrender that was to be issued that evening (for an English summary, see China White Paper, pp. 649-51). After reading it, Marshall observed that “the statement was obviously for foreign consumption.” Of the six government policies Chiang listed, Marshall suspected that the Communists would issue propaganda on Chiang’s willingness to implement the five January P.C.C. agreements (which the Communists had been calling for) and on Chiang’s call for the Communists to “withdraw from areas where they threaten peace and obstruct communications.” (Ibid., p. 651; Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 22-23.)


Chou En-lai, August 15, 10:45 A.M.

Having read the Generalissimo’s August 13 message, General Chou thought that it said nothing new and blamed all the problems on the Communists. He then responded to the government’s positions listed in the message. An immediate general cease-fire was indispensable, Chou stated, otherwise “negotiation is bound to be fruitless.” Marshall said he would take a draft of Chou’s statements with him to Kuling that afternoon.

Marshall asked Chou to “clarify” the “status of those areas from which the Communist Army troops were to withdraw.” After China’s military was reorganized and reduced in size, Chou explained, Communist forces would have to concentrate and thus to withdraw from certain areas, but the Communists would not tolerate the abolition of popularly elected governments in those Communist areas and their replacement by Nationalist dictatorships.

Marshall then raised the Anping incident. While he had faith in General Chou and Lieutenant General Yeh Chien-ying, the Communist commissioner at Executive Headquarters (who was present at this meeting), the statements and actions of the senior Communist member of the incident investigating team and statements from Communist party headquarters in Yenan “are calculated to destroy any possibility of my, or Doctor Stuart’s, being able to serve any useful purpose in contributing to a successful negotiation. The purpose of the procedure followed [by the Communists] is incomprehensible to me, unless it is a deliberate effort to provoke a situation which will result in a civil war, with the possible thought in the minds of those directing the procedure that by this means the civil war will be carried out in the absence of the Americans.” Chou En-lai defended the Communists and asserted that they were suspicious that the Nationalists had somehow manufactured the incident. He also did not like the attitude of the U.S. representative on the investigating committee.

At this juncture, General Marshall left the meeting for his trip to Kuling. Walter S. Robertson—U.S. commissioner at Executive Headquarters, who had come to Nanking for this meeting—continued the discussion on the handling of the Anping investigation. (Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 28-45.)


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