Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
October 17, 1945
[This report was made by Comrade Mao Tse-tung to a meeting of cadres in Yenan after his return from Chungking.]
Let us talk about the present situation. That is what our comrades are interested in. This time the negotiations between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party at Chungking have lasted forty-three days. The results have already been published in the newspapers. The representatives of the two parties are continuing to negotiate. The negotiations have borne fruit. The Kuomintang has accepted the principles of peace and unity, recognized certain democratic rights of the people and agreed that civil war should be averted and that the two parties should co-operate in peace to build a new China. On these points agreement has been reached. There are other points on which there is no agreement. The question of the Liberated Areas has not been solved, and that of the armed forces has not really been solved either. The agreements reached are still only on paper. Words on paper are not equivalent to reality. Facts have shown that a very great effort must still be made before they can be turned into reality.
The Kuomintang is negotiating with us on the one hand, and is vigorously attacking the Liberated Areas on the other hand. Not counting the forces surrounding the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region, 800,000 Kuomintang troops are already directly engaged in these attacks. Wherever there are Liberated Areas, fighting is going on or being prepared. The very first article of the "October 10th Agreement" is on "peace and national reconstruction"; don't these words on paper contradict reality? Yes, they do. That is why we say it still requires effort on our part to turn what is on paper into reality. Why does the Kuomintang mobilize so many troops to attack us? Because long ago it made up its mind to wipe out the people's forces, to wipe us out. Best of all, it would like to wipe us out quickly or, failing that, to worsen our situation and improve its own. Peace, though written into the agreement, has not in fact been realized. In places like the Shangtang area in Shansi Province there is fighting on a fairly large scale. The Shangtang area, rimmed by the Taihang, Taiyueh and Chungtiao Mountains, is like a tub. This tub contains fish and meat, and Yen Hsi-shan sent thirteen divisions to grab it. Our policy also was set long ago -- to give tit for tat, to fight for every inch of land. This time we gave tit for tat, fought and made a very good job of it. In other words, we wiped out all thirteen divisions. Their attacking forces had 38,000 men, and we employed 31,000 men. Of their 38,000 men, 35,000 were destroyed, 2,000 fled and 1,000 scattered. Such fighting will continue. They want desperately to grab our Liberated Areas. This seems hard to explain. Why are they so anxious to grab? Isn't it good for the Liberated Areas to be in our hands, in the hands of the people? Yes, but that is only what we think, what the people think. If they thought so too, there would be unity and we would all be "comrades". But they won't think this way; they will oppose us stubbornly. They can't see why they shouldn't oppose us. It is quite natural that they should attack us. For our part, we can't see why we should let them seize our Liberated Areas. It is also quite natural that we should counter-attack. When two "can't-see-whys" come together, they fight. Since there are two can't-see-whys, why have they negotiated? And why have they concluded the "October 10th Agreement"? In this world, things are complicated and are decided by many factors. We should look at problems from different aspects, not from just one. In Chungking, some people think that Chiang Kai-shek is unreliable and deceitful and that negotiations with him can lead nowhere. So I was told by many people I met, including some members of the Kuomintang. I told them that what they said was justified and well-founded and that we were firmly convinced by eighteen years of experience  that this would be the case. The Kuomintang and the Communist Party are sure to fail in their negotiations, sure to start fighting and sure to break with each other, but that is only one aspect of the matter. Another aspect is that many other factors are bound to make Chiang Kai-shek have misgivings. Among these factors, the three main ones are the might of the Liberated Areas, the opposition to civil war by the people in the Great Rear Area and the international situation. In our Liberated Areas there are 100 million people, one million troops and two million people's militia, a force no one dares to belittle. Our Party's place in the nation's political life is no longer what it was in 1927, nor what it was in 1937. The Kuomintang, which has always refused to recognize the equal status of the Communist Party, is now forced to do so. Our work in the Liberated Areas has already influenced all China and the whole world. The people in the Great Rear Area desire peace and need democracy. When in Chungking, I had a profound sense of the warm support given us by the broad masses of the people. They are dissatisfied with the Kuomintang government and place their hopes on us. I also met many foreigners, including Americans, who sympathize with us. The broad masses of the people in foreign countries are dissatisfied with the reactionary forces in China and sympathize with the Chinese people's forces. They also disapprove of Chiang Kai-shek's policies. We have many friends in all parts of the country and of the world; we are not isolated. Those who oppose civil war in China and stand for peace and democracy include not only the people in our Liberated Areas but also the masses in the Great Rear Area and throughout the world. The subjective desire of Chiang Kai-shek is to maintain his dictatorship and destroy the Communist Party, but many objective difficulties stand in his way. Therefore, he has to be a little realistic. He is being realistic, and we are realistic too. He was realistic in inviting us and we were realistic in going to negotiate with him. We arrived in Chungking on August 28. On the evening of the 28th, I told the Kuomintang representatives that the country had needed peace and unity ever since the September 18th Incident in 1931. We had asked for peace and unity, but they had not materialized. Peace and unity materialized only after the Sian Incident of 1936 before the outbreak of the War of Resistance on July 7, 1937. During the eight years of that war we fought together against Japan. But civil war never stopped; there were continuous frictions, big and small. To say that there was no civil war is deception and does not square with facts. In the past eight years we repeatedly expressed our willingness to negotiate. At the Seventh Congress of our Party we declared that "we are willing to resume negotiations with the Kuomintang authorities as soon as they are willing to renounce their present erroneous policies and agree to democratic reforms". In the negotiations we declared that, first, China needs peace and, second, China needs democracy. Chiang Kai-shek could find no reason to object and had to agree. On the one hand, the policy of peace and the agreements on democracy published in the "Summary of Conversations" are words on paper and not yet reality; on the other hand, they have been determined by a variety of forces. The forces of the people in the Liberated Areas, the forces of the people in the Great Rear Area, the international situation -- the general trend has forced the Kuomintang to accept these things.
How to give "tit for tat" depends on the situation. Sometimes, not going to negotiations is tit-for-tat; and sometimes, going to negotiations is also tit-for-tat. We were right not to go before, and also right to go this time; in both cases we have given tit for tat. We did well to go this time, for we exploded the rumour spread by the Kuomintang that the Communist Party did not want peace and unity. They sent three successive telegrams to invite us, and we went. But they were totally unprepared, and we had to make all the proposals. As a result of the negotiations, the Kuomintang has accepted the general policy of peace and unity. That's fine. If the Kuomintang launches civil war again, it will put itself in the wrong in the eyes of the whole nation and the whole world, and we shall have all the more reason to smash its attacks by a war of self-defence. Now that the "October 10th Agreement" has been concluded, our task is to uphold the agreement, to demand that the Kuomintang honour it and to continue to strive for peace. If they fight, we will wipe them out completely. This is the way things are: if they attack and we wipe them out, they will have that satisfaction; wipe out some, some satisfaction; wipe out more, more satisfaction; wipe out the whole lot, complete satisfaction. China's problems are complicated, and our brains must also be a little complicated. If they start fighting, we fight back, fight to win peace. Peace will not come unless we strike hard blows at the reactionaries who dare to attack the Liberated Areas.
Some comrades have asked why we should concede eight Liberated Areas. It is a great pity to concede these eight areas, but it is better to do so. Why is it a pity? Because these Liberated Areas have been created and arduously built up by the people, with sweat and blood. Therefore, we must explain matters clearly to the people and make appropriate arrangements in the areas we are going to concede. Why should we concede those areas? Because otherwise the Kuomintang will not feel easy. They are going back to Nanking, but some Liberated Areas in the south are right by their beds or in their corridor. So long as we are there, they will not be able to sleep easily and will therefore fight for those places at all costs. Our concession on this point will help frustrate the Kuomintang's plot for civil war and win us the sympathy of the numerous middle elements at home and abroad. All the means of propaganda in China, except the Hsinhua News Agency, are now controlled by the Kuomintang. They are all rumour factories. Concerning the current negotiations, they have spread the rumour that the Communist Party just wants territory and will make no concessions. Our policy is to protect the fundamental interests of the people. Subject to the principle of not damaging the fundamental interests of the people, it is permissible to make certain concessions in exchange for peace and democracy, which the people of the whole country need. In our past dealings with Chiang Kai-shek we also made concessions, and even larger ones. In 1937, to bring about the nation-wide War of Resistance, we voluntarily dropped the name, "Workers' and Peasants' Revolutionary Government", changed the name of our Red Army to "National Revolutionary Army" and altered our policy of confiscating the land of the landlords to one of reducing rent and interest. This time, by conceding certain areas in the south, we have completely exploded the Kuomintang's rumours before the people of all China and the whole world. It is the same with the problem of armed forces. Kuomintang propaganda has been saying that the Communist Party is just scrambling for guns. But we have said we are ready to make concessions. First, we proposed cutting our present armed strength to 48 divisions. As the Kuomintang has 263 divisions, this means our strength would be about a sixth of the total. Later, we proposed a further reduction to 43 divisions, about a seventh of the total. The Kuomintang then said they would reduce to 120 divisions. We said we would reduce by the same proportion to 24 or even 20 divisions, which would still be only a seventh of the total. In the Kuomintang army the proportion of officers as compared to soldiers is unduly large and the complement of a division is under 6,000. By their standard, we could form 200 divisions out of our 1,200,000 men. But we are not going to do so. Therefore the Kuomintang can say nothing more and all their rumours are bankrupt. Does this mean that we are going to hand over our guns to the Kuomintang? Not that either. If we hand over our guns, won't the Kuomintang have too many? The arms of the people, every gun and every bullet, must all be kept, must not be handed over.
The above is what I want to say to the comrades about the present situation. Its development shows many contradictions. In the negotiations between the Kuomintang and our Party, why is there agreement on some questions and not on others? Why does the "Summary of Conversations" speak of peace and unity, while fighting is actually going on? Some comrades just can't understand such contradictions. What I have said is meant to answer these questions. Some comrades can't understand why we should be willing to negotiate with Chiang Kai-shek, who has always been anti-Communist and against the people. Was our Party right or wrong in deciding at its Seventh Congress that we were willing to negotiate with the Kuomintang, provided they changed their policy? It was absolutely right. The Chinese revolution is a long one and victory can only be won step by step. China's future depends on our exertions. The situation will remain in flux for six months or so. We must redouble our efforts to make it develop in a direction favourable to the people of the whole country.
Now, a few more words about our work. Some comrades present will be leaving for the front. Many, full of enthusiasm, are vying with each other for the opportunity to go to work there, and this active and fervent spirit is very valuable. But there are also a few comrades who have mistaken ideas, who don't think of the many difficulties to be overcome, but believe that everything will be plain sailing at the front and that they will have an easier time than in Yenan. Are there people who think that way? I believe there are. I advise such comrades to correct their ideas. If one goes, it is to work. What is work? Work is struggle. There are difficulties and problems in those places for us to overcome and solve. We go there to work and struggle to overcome these difficulties. A good comrade is one who is more eager to go where the difficulties are greater. The work in those places is hard. Hard work is like a load placed before us, challenging us to shoulder it. Some loads are light, some heavy. Some people prefer the light to the heavy; they pick the light and leave the heavy to others. That is not a good attitude. Some comrades are different; they leave ease and comfort to others and carry the heavy loads themselves; they are the first to bear hardships, the last to enjoy comforts. They are good comrades. We should all learn from their communist spirit.
Many local cadres will be leaving their native places for the front. And many southern-born cadres who came to Yenan are also going to the front. All comrades going to the front should be mentally prepared, once there, to take root, blossom and bear fruit. We Communists are like seeds and the people are like the soil. Wherever we go, we must unite with the people, take root and blossom among them. Wherever our comrades go, they must build good relations with the masses, be concerned for them and help them overcome their difficulties. We must unite with the masses; the more of the masses we unite with, the better. We must go all out to mobilize the masses, expand the people's forces and, under the leadership of our Party, defeat the aggressor and build a new China. This is the policy laid down by the Party's Seventh Congress. We must strive to carry it out. China depends on the Communist Party and the people to run her affairs. We have the will and the way to achieve peace and democracy. Provided we unite even more closely with the whole people, China's affairs can be run well.
The world after World War II has a bright future. This is the general trend. Does the failure of the Five Power Conference of Foreign Ministers in London mean that a third world war is about to break out? No. Just think, how is it possible for a third world war to break out right after the end of World War II? The capitalist and the socialist countries will yet reach compromises on a number of international matters, because compromise will be advantageous. The proletariat and the people of the whole world are firmly opposed to an anti-Soviet and anti-Communist war. In the past thirty years two world wars have been fought. Between World Wars I and II there was an interval of more than twenty years. In the half million years of human history, it is only in the last thirty years that world wars have been fought. After World War I the world made great progress. After World War II the world is sure to make even faster progress. Following World War I the Soviet Union was born and scores of Communist Parties were founded -- they did not exist before. After the end of World War II the Soviet Union is much stronger, the face of Europe is changed, the political consciousness of the proletariat and the people of the world is much higher and the progressive forces throughout the world are more closely united. Our China is also undergoing rapid and drastic change. The general trend of China's development is certainly for the better, not the worse. The world is progressing, the future is bright and no one can change this general trend of history. We should carry on constant propaganda among the people on the facts of world progress and the bright future ahead so that they will build their confidence in victory. At the same time, we must tell the people and tell our comrades that there will be twists and turns in our road. There are still many obstacles and difficulties along the road of revolution. The Seventh Congress of our Party assumed that the difficulties would be many, for we preferred to assume there would be more difficulties rather than less. Some comrades do not like to think much about difficulties. But difficulties are facts; we must recognize as many difficulties as there are and should not adopt a "policy of non-recognition". We must recognize difficulties, analyse them and combat them. There are no straight roads in the world; we must be prepared to follow a road which twists and turns and not try to get things on the cheap. It must not be imagined that one fine morning all the reactionaries will go down on their knees of their own accord. In a word, while the prospects are bright, the road has twists and turns. There are still many difficulties ahead which we must not overlook. By uniting with the entire people in a common effort, we can certainly overcome all difficulties and win victory.
1. This refers to the "Summary of Conversations", also known as the "October 10th Agreement", which was signed by representatives of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China on October 10,1945. In the summary, Chiang Kai-shek had to feign agreement with the "basic policy of peace and national reconstruction" put forward by the Communist Party of China and accept "long-term co-operation on the basis of peace, democracy, solidarity and unity . . . resolute avoidance of civil war and the building of a new China, independent, free, prosperous and powerful" and "democratization of political life, nationalization of troops and equality and legality of political parties as ways and means absolutely essential for achieving peace and national reconstruction". He also had to agree to bring the Kuomintang's political tutelage to a speedy conclusion, convene a political consultative conference, "guarantee the freedoms of person, belief, speech, the press, assembly and association as enjoyed by the people in all democratic countries in peacetime, and abolish or amend existing laws and decrees according to this principle", abolish the secret services, "strictly prohibit all organs other than those of the judiciary and police from making arrests, conducting trials and imposing punishment", "release political prisoners", "actively carry out local self-government and conduct general elections from the lower level upward" etc. The Chiang Kai-shek government, however, stubbornly refused to recognize the legal status of the people's army and the democratic governments in the Liberated Areas and, on the pretexts of "unifying the military command" and "unifying government administration", insolently tried to eliminate altogether the people's army and the Liberated Areas led by the Communist Party of China; consequently no agreement could be reached on this question. The following are excerpts from the "Summary of Conversations" concerning the negotiations on the problem of the armed forces and political power in the Liberated Areas; in the "Summary" the so-called "Government" refers to Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang government.
"On the nationalization of troops. The Communist Party of China proposed that with a view to unifying the military command the Government should effect an equitable and rational reorganization of the armed forces of the whole country, draw up a programme for carrying it out in stages, make a fresh delimitation of the military zones and establish a conscription and replenishment system. The Communist Party of China stated that, given such a programme, it was ready to reduce the anti-Japanese troops under its command to twenty-four divisions or to a minimum of twenty divisions and to take prompt action to demobilize its anti-Japanese troops now distributed in the eight areas of Kwangtung, Chekiang, southern Kiangsu, southern Anhwei, central Anhwei, Hunan, Hupeh and Honan (not including northern Honan). The troops to be reorganized would be gradually withdrawn from the above areas to assemble in the Liberated Areas north of the Lunghai Railway and in northern Kiangsu and northern Anhwei. The Government stated that the programme for the reorganization of troops on a country-wide basis was under way and that the Government was willing to consider the reorganization of the anti-Japanese troops led by the Communist Party of China into twenty divisions, if the issues coming up in the present negotiations could all be settled. As to the question of the stationing of these troops, it stated further that the Communist Party of China could submit plans for discussion and decision. The Communist Party of China proposed that the Communist Party and its local military personnel should participate in the work of the National Military Council and its various departments, that the Government should preserve the existing personnel system and commission the existing personnel as officers of various ranks in the reorganized units, that officers not receiving appointment after reorganization should be assigned to different areas for training and that a fair and reasonable system for filling vacancies and a plan for political education should be adopted. The Government indicated that it had no objection to these proposals and was willing to discuss details. The Communist Party of China proposed that all the militiamen in the Liberated Areas should be organized into local self-defence corps. The Government indicated that such organization could be considered only where local conditions would so require or permit. In order to formulate concrete plans in regard to all the questions mentioned in this section, both sides agreed that a sub-committee of three be formed, with one representative each from the Board of Military Operations of the National Military Council, the Ministry of War and the Eighteenth Group Army."
"On local governments in the Liberated Areas. The Communist Party of China proposed that the Government should recognize the legal status of the popularly elected governments at all levels in the Liberated Areas. The Government indicated that, since Japan had surrendered, the term 'Liberated Area' should have become obsolete and that government administration throughout the country should be unified. The initial formula advanced by the Communist Party of China was that the provincial and administrative areas were to be delimited afresh in the light of the existence of eighteen Liberated Areas and that, for the sake of unifying government administration, it would submit a list of all the popularly elected government personnel at various levels for reappointment by the Government. The Government indicated that, as Chairman Chiang had stated to Mr. Mao, the Central Government, after the unification of the military command and government administration throughout the country, would give consideration to the administrative personnel nominated by the Communist Party of China. The Government would consider retaining a due proportion of the administrative personnel who had served in the areas recovered during the War of Resistance, taking account of their record of ability and service, irrespective of party affiliation. Thereupon, a second formula was proposed by the Communist Party of China, asking the Central Government to appoint nominees of the Communist Party of China as chairmen and members of the provincial governments of the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and the five provinces of Jehol, Chahar, Hopei, Shantung and Shansi, and to appoint the Communist Party's nominees as deputy chairmen and members of the six provincial governments of Suiyuan, Honan, Kiangsu, Anhwei, Hupeh and Kwangtung (because in the aforesaid eleven provinces there were extensive Liberated Areas or sections thereof). The Communist Party of China also requested the appointment of its nominees as deputy mayors of the four special municipalities of Peiping, Tientsin, Tsingtao and Shanghai and the participation of its nominees in the administration of the northeastern provinces. After many discussions on this matter, the Communist Party of China modified the aforesaid proposals by requesting the appointment of its nominees as chairmen and members of the provincial governments of the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and the four provinces of Jehol, Chahar, Hopei and Shantung, as deputy chairmen and members of the two provincial governments of Shansi and Suiyuan and as deputy mayors of the three special municipalities of Peiping, Tientsin and Tsingtao. In reply the Government stated that while the Communist Party of China might nominate those of its members who had rendered distinguished service during the War of Resistance and who possessed administrative ability to the Government for appointment, the Communist Party would not be sincerely endeavouring to achieve unity of military command and government administration if it should insist upon nominating a chairman or deputy chairman or members of any specific provincial government. The Communist Party of China then said it would withdraw its second suggestion and proposed a third formula. It suggested that general elections be held under the existing popularly elected governments at all levels in the Liberated Areas, and members of all other political parties as well as people in different walks of life would be welcome to return to their native places to take part in the elections to be held under the supervision of persons designated by the Political Consultative Conference. A popular election was to be held in any county where more than half the districts and townships had already held popular elections. Likewise, a popular election was to be held in any province or administrative area where more than half the counties had already held popular elections. In the interest of unity of government administration, the names of all the officials so elected in the provincial, administrative area and county governments should be submitted to the Central Government for appointment by confirmation. The Government replied that this formula of government confirmation of appointments in provinces and areas was not in the interest of unity of government administration. The Government might, however, consider holding popular elections for county officials, but popular elections for the provincial governments could be held only after the promulgation of a national constitution, when the status of the province would have been defined. For the time being, only those provincial government officials who had been appointed by the Central Government should proceed to take up their posts so that conditions in the recovered areas might be restored to normal at the earliest possible moment. At this point, a fourth formula was proposed by the Communist Party of China, namely, that the status quo in all the Liberated Areas should temporarily be maintained until the constitutional provision for the popular election of provincial governments had been adopted and put into effect and that, for the time being, an interim arrangement be worked out in order to guarantee the restoration of peace and order. The Communist Party of China stated that meanwhile this particular problem might be submitted to the Political Consultative Conference for settlement. The Government insisted that unity of government administration must be carried out first, because this problem, if left unsolved, might become an obstacle to peace and reconstruction, and it expressed the hope that a concrete formula with regard to this matter could be agreed upon soon. The Communist Party of China agreed to hold further discussions."
2. Shangtang was an ancient name for the southeastern part of Shansi Province with Changchih as its centre. Its mountainous sections were the base of the 129th Division of the Eighth Route Army during the War of Resistance Against Japan and formed part of the Shansi-Hopei-Shantung-Honan Liberated Area. In September 1945 the Kuomintang warlord, Yen Hsi-shan, mustered thirteen divisions and, in co-ordination with Japanese and puppet troops, moved in successively from Linfen, Fushan and Yicheng and from Taiyuan and Yutse to invade Hsiangyuan, Tunliu and Lucheng in the Southeastern Shansi Liberated Area. In October the army and people of this Liberated Area counter-attacked this invading force, wiped out 35,000 men and captured several high-ranking officers, including corps and division commanders.
3. This refers to the experience gained by the Communist Party of China in its struggles with the Kuomintang from 1927, when the Kuomintang betrayed the revolution, to 1945.
4. On September 18, 1931, the Japanese "Kwantung Army" quartered in northeastern China seized Shenyang. Under Chiang Kai-shek's order of "absolute non-resistance", the Chinese troops at Shenyang and elsewhere in the Northeast (the Northeastern Army) withdrew to the south of the Great Wall, and consequently the Japanese forces rapidly occupied the provinces of Liaoning, Kirin and Heilungkiang. The Chinese people called this act of aggression committed by the Japanese invaders the "September 18th Incident".
5. See "On a Statement by Chiang Kai-shek's Spokesman", Note 5. p. 45 of this volume.
6. Quoted from "On Coalition Government", Part IV, Section "Our Specific Programme", Item 2, Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. III.
7. This refers to the bases of the people's army scattered over Kwangtung, Chekiang, southern Kiangsu, southern Anhwei, central Anhwei, Hunan, Hupeh and Honan (not including northern Honan).
8. See "China's Two Possible Destinies" and "The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains", Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. III.
9. From September 11 to October 2, 1945, the Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, China, the United States, Britain and France met in London to discuss peace treaties with Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland, countries which had taken part in the war of aggression started by fascist Germany, and to discuss the disposal of the Italian colonies. No agreement was reached because the United States, Britain and France rejected the reasonable proposals put forward by the Soviet Union and persisted in their imperialist policy of aggression aiming at overthrowing the people's governments set up in Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria after victory in the anti-fascist war.
10. See "Some Points in Appraisal of the Present International Situation", pp. 87-88 of this volume.
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung