5-543 To Harry S. Truman, August 30, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 30, 1946

Subject: China

To Harry S. Truman

August 30, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 1422. [Nanking, China]

Top Secret

Dear Mr. President:

In a series of interviews with the Generalissimo at Kuling I secured his formal agreement to the creation of a special group of five men with Dr. Stuart as chairman to pave the way for the formation of the coalition State Council of 40 members, and also his agreement to have the conclusion of this group confirmed by the Steering Committee of the PCC. This last was to convince the Communists that he was not seeking to evade the PCC agreements of last winter. Since my return to Nanking the two Government representatives have been designated and they left for Kuling this morning to confer with the Generalissimo. Incidentally, he has not in any way moderated his insistence on certain conditions which must be met by the Communists in order to secure a cessation of hostilities.

In view of the conditions mentioned in the last sentence, Chou En-lai is dubious about the proposition of creating the State Council because he claims it will only serve to give false encouragement to the people generally, here and overseas, as the Generalissimo has no intention of facilitating the cessation of hostilities by moderating his previous harsh terms.

The general situation is this: both sides claim the other side is leading and pressing the fighting. Both claim the negotiations are being utilized by the other side to gain time for favorable military operations. My estimate and that of my associates and a select few of our most experienced foreign correspondents is that the Government militant leaders feel that they can settle the matter by force or at least can gain favorable advantages of position by force in the near future which will compel the Communists to make the desired concessions in order to terminate the fighting.

The Communists have practically reached the conclusion that the Government does not intend to settle matters peaceably and is deliberately pursuing a policy of force. Therefore they are striking as heavy military blows as possible both to protect their military position and to discourage the Government against a policy of force. Also they are seeking by intense propaganda and any other means available to terminate all American assistance to the Government which they claim is making possible the latter’s military effort.

There are leading military participants on both sides who confidentially take a somewhat Chinese view that several months of fighting will be a necessary procedure looking to an acceptable adjustment. What happens in the meantime to the hundreds of millions of oppressed people is ignored. Also what happens in the way of Soviet intervention overt or covert is also ignored or not mentioned.

In this situation Dr. Stuart and I are concentrating on the measure to create a State Council as at least one definite step towards governmental reorganization that may exert an influence sufficient to permit us to secure a basis for the termination of hostilities.

Since the Generalissimo in a statement to me last Tuesday declared that all that was necessary to terminate hostilities was for the Communists to stop fighting, and abide by the cease firing order and terms of January 10th, though under my questioning he admitted that he was not moderating his recent terms regarding Kiangsu, etc. Chou En-lai has been considering the possible effect of an independent declaration by Mao Tse-tung calling a halt to all Communist fighting for a period of say four days to see what action the Government would then take. Chou has radioed Yenan and expects a reply tomorrow morning. Therefore I am leaving for Kuling this afternoon so as to be there in case the Communists take this step. Dr. Stuart meanwhile will continue discussions here in Nanking and initiate the organization of the group under his chairmanship as soon as the two delegates return from Kuling.

The investigation of the Anping Marine-Communist incident has recently gone forward with less of complication than I had feared but I do not anticipate an agreement on the findings.

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.

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. 670-672.

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