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Memorandum for the Generalissimo
June 13, 1946 OSE 168 Nanking, China
General Yu Ta-wei tells me that you desire that I present to you, in written form, my present suggestions regarding the redistribution of troops in Manchuria, so far as the Communist forces and various provinces are concerned.
At the present time I have no idea of just what the Communist proposals in this matter will be, although I should have this within twenty-four hours. In the meantime I can only proceed on conjecture as to what conditions might meet their demands that at the same time would be reasonably acceptable to the National Government.
The initial proposal of your military staff which relegated the Communist forces to the mountainous, sparsely populated province of Shinhei Lung Kiang [new Heilungchiang] and along the course of an uncompleted railway immediately to the west, I am certain would not be accepted by the Communists. You had referred to the province Ho Kiang as a possible compromise, with the Communist agreement to withdraw from Jehol as a necessary stipulation. You also mentioned their possible demand for including the province Hsing-An, in which event you had not decided on what compromise they must agree to in North China.1
Following my conversation with you and an examination of the map I came to the conclusion that the three provinces mentioned were so mountainous and apparently devoid of resources other possibly than timber, that a Communist commitment to deployment in these areas would be rather unlikely. I therefore suggested to General Yu that Ho Kiang province be ignored and that we consider the possibility of including Nunchiang as the third province, stipulating the evacuation of Jehol and Chahar. General Yu desired to include in the stipulation a Communist commitment to the National occupation of Chefoo and Wei hai wei and the reinforcement of Tsingtao.
The province of Nun chiang would not, in my opinion, be too serious a concession for the National Government. The railroad net through Tsitsihar could be cut in any event if the Communists were in the provinces to the northwest and north, and the railroad from Hailar south would fall within the government province of Hao Peh [Liaopei]. It therefore appears to me that if the Communists can be prevailed upon to concentrate their troops in the northwest, the old province, consisting of Hsin Hei Lung Kiang, Hsing-An and Nan Kiang [Nunkiang], would be the desirable area.
In order to secure the necessary concessions in Shantung it might prove to be necessary to relax on the requirements stipulating the withdrawal of Communist forces from Chahar.
General Yu informs me that it is desired that the Communist divisions be included in two integrated armies, which would mean three National divisions north and west of Sung Kiang province. To my mind this is not only too many troops for that thinly populated region, but also involves an over extension on the part of the National forces. Also, there is the consideration that some time will be required before an integration on the army level of divisions can be effected, while what is immediately wanted is a disposition that will not present an undue hazard to the National Government. I am therefore of the opinion that at least for the first six months and possibly for the first year, a purely Communist army will prove a more practical arrangement and one which can be more easily adjusted to circumstances and the terrain.
General Yu informs me that if the Communist Divisions are not integrated it would be necessary to stipulate that no Communist troops would occupy any of the cities or towns along the railroad. I think this presents two undesirable conditions; on the one hand it would be far more irritating, in my opinion, than it would be important for the interests of the National Government, and on the other hand, judging from the map, it would appear that there are very few localities in which the troops could be quartered, other than along the railroad. I understand that the climate of north Manchuria is very severe in the winter season, therefore a disposal of troops in isolated places would be objectionable from a number of points of view. General Yu stated that National Military Police should be employed along the railroad. I think that some arrangement other than this should be considered because it would inevitably lead to trouble as there would be no immediate support for these isolated men, which could lead, I think, to trouble in some incidents. It seems to me, that since the power to interrupt the railroad would rest with the military forces in the general vicinity it would be much better to charge the guarding of the railroad in such areas to that military force, at least so far as prevention of sabotage by banditry was concerned.
As I before stated, I have no indication at the present time of the Communist proposal as to the future disposal of their troops in Manchuria. General Byroade feels that in view of their present concentration to the east of Kirin, that it is possible that they will desire to maintain a concentration near the Korean border to the southeast of Lafa. That region I believe is rich in resources. Whether or not any such proposal is to be made remains to be seen. If it were made, it might be considered on the basis of an integrated army between Changchun and the Korean border immediately to the east, with a single Communist division near the border. The remaining two Communist divisions could then be disposed within an integrated army in the northwest, one division in southern Hsin Hei Lung Kiang and one in southwest Hsing-An, with the National division in Nun-chiang and the Communist commander of the integrated forces in Tsitsihar. But such an arrangement does seem rather improbable of agreement.
In considering all these matters, I think it is most important that stipulations be avoided which will cause great difficulty of acceptance or prove merely irritating to the negotiations, unless a really important advantage is to be obtained. The main purpose of negotiations would seem to be the attainment of peace under conditions which will not present a hazard to the National Government and also will not involve conditions which might give rise to local incidents that would develop into serious consequences.
Note: I find that the present design of provinces in Manchuria present exceptional difficulties with relation to the military adjustments.
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Department of State (RG 59), Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, OSE Letters, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. From the Chinese point of view, the Northeast was made up of three of the country’s twenty-eight provinces: Kirin, Liaoning, and Heilungkiang. In their colony of Manchukuo, the Japanese had redrawn the boundaries of these three to make nine provinces. During the period of Marshall’s mission, Americans continued to use the Japanese boundaries; thus Hsingan, Heilungkiang, and Hokiang were the three most northern provinces.
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. 591-593.