5-553 To Harry S. Truman, September 13, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 13, 1946

Subject: China

To Harry S. Truman

September 13, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 1491. [Nanking, China]

Top Secret

Dear Mister President:

Since my message of Friday, September 6, GOLD 1450, I have been to Kuling, conferred with the Generalissimo and returned to Nanking and conferred with Chou En-lai, also officials of Government. The Generalissimo agreed on several points at issue and made significant statements regarding other phases of the problem. He agreed to contention of Chou En-lai that settlement of military issues should be by Committee of Three and not by State Council where Government majority could dominate, there being special provision for veto action on such questions by less than majority of votes. He stipulated, however, that all matters pertaining to military reorganization and redisposition of troops must be agreed to before cessation of hostilities. He further agreed to leave settlement of the critical local government issue to State Council.

He then stated he would not agree to cessation of hostilities until Communists had nominated their representatives to National Assembly scheduled for November 12th. This, from Communists’ point of view, involves completion of work by constitutional draft committee prescribed by PCC Agreement and suspended last April. While I protested against this stipulation involving further delay, I insisted that this committee must immediately be reconvened and he finally agreed to take this action, but only after meetings of special group under Doctor Stuart’s chairmanship had reached an agreement on membership and veto provisions for State Council.

He further stated that the provision of the PCC which prescribes that the Executive Yuan, that is the principal organs of government, be reorganized on a coalition basis prior to the National Assembly would not be carried out prior to meeting of that Assembly November 12th. He also stated that the places recently occupied by Government troops would be continued in such occupation though this would be contrary to the cease firing agreement of January 10 last.

Chou En-lai considered that the Generalissimo had now added a new demand to the preceding five demands by stipulating that the cessation of hostilities would be dependent on the nomination of the Communist representatives to the National Assembly. He insisted that the cessation of hostilities should be the condition precedent to all other matters and that the Committee of Three should meet immediately to determine the arrangements for the termination of the fighting and that, unless this was done, he could not go ahead with negotiations for the organization of the State Council. This, in effect, puts us back to the condition of statemate of June 30 last, since the Committee of Three can make no progress unless the Generalissimo modifies his demands or conditions. I have urged the Generalissimo to terminate the fighting but he is adamant in his view that the Communists must first meet certain conditions for the security of the Government and that they cannot be trusted to do so except under the compulsion of the prospect of Government military successes. For the moment Doctor Stuart and I are stymied and can only suspend efforts while we wait and see if Chou En-lai decides that the Communists are losing ground and he had best go ahead with negotiations for the State Council. There are other minor considerations and pressures pertaining to the situation too numerous and involved to discuss by radio. Lack of trust and deep suspicion are the fatal influences at the present time and whatever concessions or agreements are made will be made in spite of them.

I am returning to Kuling today I hope for the last time as the Generalissimo is soon due to resume residence in Nanking which will greatly simplify the physical requirements of my task. Doctor Stuart remains here to seize any opportunity to forward negotiations.

Relief of isolated Marine detachments commences with guards at coal lines [mines] on September 15 followed by relief of bridge and other railroad guard detachments.

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. 684-685.

Digital Downloads




Holding Rights: Public Information
Holding ID: 5-553

Rights: Public Information