Two Telegrams from the Commander-in-Chief of the 18th Group to Chiang Kai-shek

Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of power!

TWO TELEGRAMS FROM THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE 18TH GROUP TO CHIANG KAI-SHEK

Chairman Mao Tse-tung
August 1945

Selected Works, Vol. 4
Foreign Languages Press
Peking 1965
Reproduced by
The Red Flag

TWO TELEGRAMS FROM THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE 18TH GROUP TO CHIANG KAI-SHEK

These telegrams were written by Chairman Mao Tse-tung for the Commander-in-Chief of the 18th Group Army. At that time, when the Japanese aggressors had announced their surrender but had not yet actually surrendered, the Chiang Kai-shek government, with the armed assistance of U.S. imperialism, monopolized the right to accept the Japanese surrender and was actively preparing a counterrevolutionary civil war by sending large forces to advance on the Liberated Areas on the pretext of accepting the Japanese surrender. Chairman Mao Tse-tung‘s purpose in writing the first telegram was to unmask the counter-revolutionary face of Chiang Kai-shek and teach the whole people to be on guard against his civil war plot. The second telegram further exposed the plot of the Chiang Kai-shek clique for preparing civil war and put forward the six-point proposal of the Communist Party of China for preventing civil war. For the same purpose, Chairman Mao Tse-tung wrote for the New China News Agency two commentaries, „Chiang Kai-shek Is Provoking Civil War“ and „On a Statement by Chiang Kai-shek‘s Spokesperson“, which are included in this volume. Owing to the firm, determined stand of the Communist Party of China in refusing to be cowed by Chiang Kai-shek‘s reactionary bluster, both the Liberated Areas and the Liberation Army expanded quickly; and, under strong political pressure from the forces at home and abroad opposed to civil war in China, Chiang Kai-shek had to change his tactics, assume a posture of peace and invite Chairman Mao Tse-tung to Chungking for peace negotiations.

1. THE TELEGRAM OF THE 13TH OF AUGUST, 1945

We have received through the Chungking radio two Central News Agency dispatches, one carrying the order you sent us and the other your order to the officers and troops in various war zones. Your order to us reads: „All units of the 18th Group Army should stay where they are, pending further orders.“ In addition, it talks about such things as forbidding us to take over the enemy‘s arms. Your order to the officers and troops in various war zones was reported as follows in the Central News Agency dispatch from Chungking, dated August 11th: „The Supreme Command today sent telegrams to the officers and troops in various war zones, ordering them to step up the war effort and in accordance with existing military plans and orders actively to push forward without the slightest relaxation.“ We hold that these two orders contradict each other. According to the first, our units should „stay where they are, pending further orders“ and should no longer attack or fight. Why do you tell us not to fight at this moment when the Japanese aggressors have not yet actually surrendered, when every hour and every minute they are killing Chinese people and fighting Chinese troops as well as Soviet, U.S. and British troops, and when, in their turn, the Soviet, U.S. and British troops are fighting the Japanese aggressors every hour and every minute? As to the second order, we consider it very good. „Step up the war effort and actively push forward without the slightest relaxation“ — that‘s more like it! But what a pity you have given this order only to your own troops, and not to us, and that you have given us something quite different. Chu Teh issued an order on August 10th to all anti-Japanese armed forces in China‘s Liberated Areas1 precisely to the effect that they should „step up the war effort“. His order said further that while stepping up their war effort they must order the Japanese aggressors to surrender to them and must take over the arms and other equipment of the enemy and puppet troops. Isn‘t this very good? Undoubtedly it is very good; undoubtedly it is in the interest of the Chinese nation. But to „stay where they are, pending further orders“ is definitely not in the national interest. We hold that you have given a wrong order, an order so wrong that we have to inform you we firmly reject it. For your order to us is not only unjust but also runs counter to China‘s national interest and benefits only the Japanese aggressors and the traitors to the homeland.


2. THE TELEGRAM OF THE 16TH OF AUGUST, 1945

At a time when our common enemy, the Japanese government, has accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and already announced its surrender but has not yet actually surrendered, I hereby address to you the following statement and demands on behalf of all the anti-Japanese armed forces and all the 260,000,000 people in China‘s Liberated Areas and Japanese-occupied areas.

With the War of Resistance Against Japan coming to a victorious close, I call your attention to this fact in the China war theatre today, namely, that in the vast occupied areas abandoned by you and seized by the enemy and puppets we have, against your will, by our eight years of bitter fighting recaptured nearly 1,000,000 square kilometres of territory; liberated over 100,000,000 people; organized over 1,000,000 regular troops and over 2,200,000 people‘s militia; established 19 large Liberated Areas in the nineteen provinces of Liaoning, Jehol, Chahar, Suiyuan, Hopei, Shansi, Shensi, Kansu, Ningsia, Honan, Shantung, Kiangsu, Anhwei, Hupeh, Hunan, Kiangsi, Chekiang, Fukien and Kwangtung2; and encircled most of the cities and towns, vital communication lines and sections of the sea coast seized by the enemy and puppets since the July 7th Incident of 19373, except in a few areas. In addition, in China‘s Japanese-occupied areas (with a population of 160,000,000) we have organized extensive clandestine forces to strike at the enemy and puppets. In the fighting we are continuing to resist and encircle 69% of the Japanese troops invading China (not counting those in the North-East) and 95% of the puppet troops. Your government and armed forces, on the contrary, have all along followed a policy of looking on with folded arms, sitting around and waiting for victory, conserving your forces and preparing for civil war, and have not only refused recognition and supplies to our Liberated Areas and armies but encircled and attacked us with a huge force of 940,000 troops. Although all the troops and civilians in China‘s Liberated Areas have suffered enough from being attacked by the enemy and puppet forces on the one side and by your troops on the other, we have never in the least weakened in our determination to persevere in the War of Resistance, in unity and in democracy. The people of China‘s Liberated Areas and the Communist Party of China have proposed many times to you and your government that a conference of all parties be convened and that a democratic coalition government of the whole country be formed in order to stop internal strife, mobilize and unite the people‘s anti-Japanese forces throughout China, direct the War of Resistance to victory and ensure peace after the war. But our proposals have invariably been rejected by you and your government. We are extremely dissatisfied with all this.

The enemy country will soon sign its surrender, but you and your government have continued to ignore our opinions, issued a most outrageous order to me on August 11th and ordered your troops to press against the Liberated Areas on a large scale under the pretext of disarming the enemy; the danger of civil war is therefore more serious than ever. All of which compels us to make the following demands on you and your government:

1. I demand that you consult with us, so that we may reach common views before you, your government and your Supreme Command accept the surrender of the Japanese and the puppets and conclude any post-surrender agreements or treaties. For you and your government have aroused the dissatisfaction of the people and cannot represent the broad masses or any of the people‘s anti-Japanese armed forces in China‘s Liberated Areas and Japanese-occupied areas. We reserve our right to speak out, if the agreements or treaties include, without our prior consent, anything that concerns the people‘s anti-Japanese armed forces in China‘s Liberated Areas and Japanese-occupied areas.

2. All the people‘s anti-Japanese armed forces in China‘s Liberated Areas and Japanese-occupied areas have the right, in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration and the measures laid down by the Allies for accepting the enemy surrender4, to accept the surrender of the Japanese and puppet troops encircled by us, take over their arms and matériel and assume the responsibility for carrying out all stipulations laid down by the Allies after Japan‘s surrender has been accepted. On August 10th I ordered the armed forces of China‘s Liberated Areas to make all efforts to attack the enemy troops and be prepared to accept their surrender. On August 15th, I ordered the enemy commander-in-chief, Yasuji Okamura, to surrender with his troops5, this order, however, applies only to the sphere of operations armed forces of the Liberated Areas, and not to any other. I consider my orders very reasonable and very much in the common interest of China and the Allies.

3. The broad masses and all the anti-Japanese armed forces in China‘s Liberated Areas and Japanese-occupied areas have the right to send their representatives to participate in the Allies‘ acceptance of the enemy surrender and in the work of dealing with the enemy country after its surrender.

4. China‘s Liberated Areas and all the anti-Japanese armed forces have the right to select their own delegation to participate in the future peace conference concerned with Japan and any United Nations meetings.

5. I ask you to prevent civil war. The way to do this is for the armed forces of the Liberated Areas to accept the surrender of the enemy and puppet troops they have encircled, while your armed forces accept the surrender of the enemy and puppet troops you have encircled. Not only is this the established practice in all wars, it is particularly imperative in order to avert civil war. If you act otherwise, it will lead to adverse consequences. I am now giving you a serious warning on this matter and I ask you not to treat this warning casually.

6. I ask you immediately to abolish the one-party dictatorship, call a conference of all parties to set up a democratic coalition government, dismiss corrupt officials and all reactionaries from their posts, punish the traitors, abolish the secret services, recognize the legal status of the various parties (the Communist Party of China and all democratic parties have up to now been regarded as illegal by you and your government), annul all reactionary laws and decrees that suppress the liberties of the people, recognize the popularly elected governments and the anti-Japanese armed forces of China‘s Liberated Areas, withdraw the troops encircling the Liberated Areas, release political prisoners and carry out economic and other democratic reforms.

Apart from this, I sent you a telegram on August 13th in reply to your order to me of August 11th, and presumably you have received it. I now declare again, your order was completely wrong. On August 11th you ordered my troops to „stay where they are, pending further orders“ and not to attack the enemy any more. However, not only was it true on August 11th, but it is equally true even today (August 16th) that the Japanese government has surrendered only in words, and not in deeds; no instrument of surrender has been signed, no actual surrender has taken place. My view is completely in accord with that of the Allies, Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union. On August 11th, the very day you issued your order to me, the British Army Command on the Burma front announced that the war with Japan was still in progress. Nimitz6, the commander of the U.S. forces, declared that not only did a state of war continue but the war with all its devastating consequences must be carried on. The Far Eastern Command of the Red Army of the Soviet Union announced: „The enemy must be ruthlessly smashed.“ On August 15th, Colonel-General Antonov, Chief of the General Staff of the Red Army, made the following statement:

The message concerning Japan‘s surrender issued by the Japanese Emperor on August 14th is only a general declaration concerning unconditional surrender. The order to the armed forces to cease hostilities has not yet been issued and the Japanese troops are continuing their resistance. Hence there is still no actual surrender by the armed forces of Japan. The surrender of the armed forces of Japan can be considered to have taken place only from the moment the Japanese Emperor orders his armed forces to discontinue hostilities and lay down their arms and when this order is carried out in practice. In view of the above, the armed forces of the Soviet Union in the Far East will continue their offensive operations against Japan.“

It can be seen that you alone, of all the high commanders of the Allied forces, have given an absolutely wrong order. I consider that your error stems from your self-seeking and is of an extremely serious nature; that is to say, your order serves the interest of the enemy. Therefore, taking my stand on the common interest of China and the Allies, I shall firmly and completely oppose your order so long as you do not openly admit your error and countermand this wrong order. At present I am still ordering the armed units under my command to make determined attacks on the enemy, in coordination with armed forces of the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain, the enemy actually stops hostilities and surrenders their arms and all the territory of the homeland has been fully recovered. I declare to you, I am a patriotic soldier, I cannot act otherwise.

With regard to the above I request your early reply.


1See „Chiang Kai-shek Is Provoking Civil War“, Note 1.

2The 19 Liberated Areas were: Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia, Shansi-Suiyuan, Shansi-Chahar-Hopei, Hopei-Jehol-Liaoning, Shansi-Hopei-Honan, Hopei-Shantung-Honan, Shantung, Northern Kiangsu, Central Kiangsu, Southern Kiangsu, Huai River North, Huai River South, Central Anhwei, Chekiang, Kwangtung, Chiungyai (Hainan Island), Hunan-Hupeh-Kiangsi, Hupeh-Honan-Anhwei and Honan.

3On July 7th, 1937, Japanese invading forces attacked the Chinese garrison at Lukouchiao, ten kilometres southwest of Peking. Under the influence of the ardent anti-Japanese movement of the whole people, the Chinese troops there put up resistance. This incident marked the beginning of the Chinese people‘s heroic War of Resistance Against Japan which lasted for eight years.

4On August 10th, 1945, the Japanese government notified the Soviet Union, China, the United States and Britain of its desire to surrender. On August 11th the governments of the four countries replied that „all the Japanese military, naval and air authorities“ and „all the forces under their control wherever located“ must „cease active operations“ and surrender their arms“.

5Yasuji Okamura was then commander-in-chief of the Japanese invading forces China. The order from Commander-in-Chief Chu Teh to Yasuji Okamura reads as follows:

The Japanese government has formally accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and announced its surrender.

  • You are to order all the troops under your command to cease all military operations; all of them, except those encircled by the troops of the Kuomintang government, must surrender to us upon orders from the 8th Route Army, New 4th Army and Southern China Anti-Japanese Column of China‘s Liberated Areas.
  • With regard to the surrender of the Japanese troops in northern China, you are to order General Sadamu Shimomura to appoint a representative to go to the 8th Route Army‘s Fuping area to receive orders from General Nieh Jung-chen; with regard to the surrender of the Japanese troops in eastern China, you yourself are to appoint a representative to go to the Tienchang area, where the Headquarters of the New 4th Army is located, to receive orders from General Chen Yi; with regard to the surrender of the Japanese troops in Hupeh and Honan Provinces, you are to order your representative in Wuhan to go to the Tapieh mountain area of the 5th Division of the New 4th Army to receive orders from General Li Hsien-nien; with regard to the surrender of the Japanese troops in Kwangtung, you are to instruct your representative in Kwangchow to go to the Tungkuan area of the Southern China Anti-Japanese Column to receive orders from General Tseng Sheng.
  • All the Japanese troops in northern, eastern, central and southern China (except those encircled by the Kuomintang troops) must keep all arms and matériel intact, pending our army‘s acceptance of their surrender, and must not take orders except from the 8th Route Army, the New 4th Army or the Southern China Anti-Japanese Column.
  • All the aircraft and vessels in northern and eastern China are to stay where they are, but the vessels anchored along the Chinese coast of the Yellow Sea and the Pohai Gulf should be assembled at Lienyunkang, Tsingtao, Weihaiwei and Tientsin.
  • There must be no destruction of any matériel or installations.
  • You and the commanders of the Japanese army in northern, eastern, central and southern China will be held completely responsible for the execution of this order.“

6Chester W. Nimitz was then Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific War Theatre.