5-376 To Harry S. Truman, February 26, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 26, 1946

Subject: China

To Harry S. Truman

February 26, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 251. [Chungking, China]

Top Secret

Dear Mr. President:

Yesterday, Monday, at 4 PM a ceremony was made of the formal signing of the agreement for the demobilization and integration of the armies of China. There were speeches by the Government and Communist representatives each emphasizing the great importance of the agreement and of the occasion, including most generous references to me. However, I felt it necessary in my brief comments to make a direct reference to the destructive efforts of certain cliques composed of men who will lose power, position, and income as a result of the modernization of the Government. I felt it necessary to put those responsible for the recent disorderly occurrences here in Chungking and at Peking and other points on notice that I understood the character and purpose of their efforts.

The Generalissimo discussed matters with me last night until midnight and again this morning at nine o’clock. (1) He wishes to delay the announcement of Chinese troops taking part in the occupation of Japan until the successful conclusion of the meeting of the Kuomintang Central Committee, presumably between March 10th and 15th. (2) He wishes to delay sending combined teams into Manchuria until I return from a trip to be referred to later. (3) He requested me to shorten my trip in order that I would be in Chung- king during the latter half of the meeting of the Central Committee, that is from May [March] 5th to 10th so that he could consult with me regarding the drafting of the constitution in particular and also in case the meeting developed precariously. He also wished Chou En-lai to be here at the same time.

The meeting of the Central Committee of the Kuomintang Party starts March 1st and is for the purpose of formally indorsing the recent resolution of the Political Consultative Conference. By this action, if it is taken, the Central Committee vacates its present power of governmental rule over China. The action of this committee would be the acid test of whether or not the Government is to proceed in good faith towards the establishment of a genuine democratic coalition.

I am scheduled to start on an inspection trip Thursday in company with my committee associates, General Chang and General Chou, to visit Executive Headquarters in Peking and in turn the critical points in North China. We will meet and talk to the principal military leaders, endeavor to compose their difficulties and will explain to them the agreed upon procedure of demobilization and unification. We will also visit Communist Headquarters at Yenan.

Chou En-lai wants us to visit Mukden and Changchun. I will not agree to go to Mukden if the Russians are in control there, because I feel certain that they would attribute to my appearance there every implication but the real purpose, which might create a situation more embarrassing than helpful.

I will return to Chungking March 5th to be on hand for the Central Committee meeting and to advance certain plans preliminary to the demobilization program.

About March 12th I think I should return to Washington for a short visit as there are a number of aspects of the situation I would wish to discuss with you and the Secretary of State, but I am particularly anxious to go directly into the details of certain matters regarding transfer of surplus property and shipping and with regard to loans. Also I wish to make a personal presentation of the situation here regarding UNRRA and famine conditions.1 I should be back in China in time to balance differences that are bound to rise over the major adjustments that will then be getting under way, political as well as military.

If you approve of the foregoing I suggest that as soon as I indicate to you a definite time for my departure that you formally recall me to Washington, announcing that action at a press conference indicating the general purpose of my visit and that I am to return again to China.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Department of State (RG 59), Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, GOLD Messages, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. Concerning the famine situation, see Marshall Memorandum for Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, March 26, 1946, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-404 [5: 515].

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. 477-479.

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