5-311 To Harry S. Truman, December 29, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: December 29, 1945

Subject: China

To Harry S. Truman1

December 29, 1945 Radio No. GOLD 7. [Chungking, China]

Top Secret

My Dear Mr. President:

I have no definite opinion or progress to report, the following being merely an outline of my activities since arriving in China. I have requested delivery of this message directly by hand of officer in order to avoid possibility of a leak which might greatly embarrass if not hazard the success of my mission.

In the first place, I have not repeat not up to the present time made any statement of my views but have sought at great length the views of all principal parties concerned. In my latest interviews I have somewhat by implication indicated certain necessities which might enhance the prospects of successful compromises in the Chinese negotiations.

I talked at length with Generalissimo at Nanking and again Xmas Day at Chungking. He had little to say regarding Communists and much to say regarding Russians. Incidentally, I think I brought him to realize that many of the embarrassments in Manchuria were not peculiar to that problem but common to Russian procedure everywhere, citing examples.

To date he has been most friendly and I have endeavored to avoid posture of cracking the whip. Our frank talks must come later, probably within the next few days.

I have had lengthy interviews with all parties, generally from 9 A.M. until 4 or 5 P.M., including lunch—Communists, Democratic League, Youth Movement [Chinese Youth party], T. V. Soong, various Central Government officials, specialists from our Embassy, correspondents, Americans in employ of Chinese Government. All agree to leadership of Generalissimo and to high-sounding principles or desires for a more democratic government, a coalition government, a reorganized and completely nationalized army. But the practical procedure to secure these ends, especially as to the nationalization of army and selection of senior provincial officials are almost completely lacking. This I have plainly and emphatically indicated in my repeated questioning and blunt statements. I think I have made this point glaringly clear to all and they now appear to be struggling towards a more realistic point of view. I now have my own ideas of how to proceed in some of these matters, mainly nationalization of army, but have not yet thought the moment had arrived to state them.

A long interview this afternoon with Government leaders rather precipitated matters. As a result the three governmental principals involved in the Political Consultative Council meetings which it is hoped will find a basis for termination of hostilities and first steps toward coalition agreements, are to meet me tomorrow, Sunday. The Political Consultative Council has not held its first meetings, but the principal Kuomintang and Communist members met Thursday evening and the latter proposed terms for cessation of hostilities. There was another meeting scheduled for this evening at which I was told the Government would be rather uncompromising. However, apparently as a result of discussions with me today the meeting was postponed and the appointment made with me for tomorrow. I will see Generalissimo the following day, Monday.

I think I have laid the necessary basis for my more formal and intimate entry into the discussions and hope to make some progress from now on.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Department of State (RG 59), Lot Files, Marshall Mission, War Department, Report to the President, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. In this message and henceforth, Marshall addressed his reports to the president and the secretary of state or, as Byrnes was often out of Washington, D.C., at meetings, the acting secretary (usually Under Secretary Dean G. Acheson).

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. 405-406.

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