Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


Talk with the American Correspondent A. T. Steele

September 29, 1946

Steele: Sir, do you consider that the U.S. effort to mediate in the Chinese civil war has failed? If the policy of the United States continues as at present, what will it lead to?

Mao: I doubt very much that the policy of the U.S. government is one of "mediation".[1]Judging by the large amount of aid the United States is giving Chiang Kai-shek to enable him to wage a civil war on an unprecedented scale, the policy of the U.S. government is to use the so-called mediation as a smoke-screen for strengthening Chiang Kai-shek in every way and suppressing the democratic forces in China through Chiang Kai-shek's policy of slaughter so as to reduce China virtually to a U.S. colony. The continuation of this policy will certainly arouse the firm resistance of all patriotic people throughout China.

Steele: How long will the Chinese civil war go on? What will be its outcome?

Mao: If the U.S. government abandons its present policy of aiding Chiang Kai-shek, withdraws its forces now stationed in China and carries out the agreement reached at the Moscow Conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain, [2] the Chinese civil war is sure to end at an early date. Otherwise it may turn into a long war. This would of course bring suffering to the Chinese people, but on the other hand, the Chinese people would certainly unite, fight for survival and decide their own fate. Whatever the difficulties and hardships, the Chinese people will certainly fulfil their task of achieving independence, peace and democracy. No forces of suppression, domestic or foreign, can prevent the fulfilment of this task.

Steele: Sir, do you consider Chiang Kai-shek the "natural leader" of the Chinese people? Is the Communist Party of China going to reject Chiang Kai-shek's five demands [3] in all circumstances? If the Kuomintang tries to convene a National Assembly without the participation of the Communist Party, [4] what action will the Communist Party take?

Mao: There is no such thing in the world as a "natural leader". If Chiang deals with the political, military, economic and other problems of China in accordance with the truce agreement [5] signed last January and the joint resolutions then adopted by the Political Consultative Conference, [6] and not in accordance with the so-called "five demands" or ten demands, which are one-sided and run counter to the agreement and joint resolutions, we will still be willing to work with him. The National Assembly must be convened jointly by various political parties, in line with the resolutions adopted by the Political Consultative Conference; otherwise we will firmly oppose it.


1. In December 1945 the U.S. government sent George C. Marshall to China as the president's special representative and used "mediation in the hostilities between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China" as a cover for strengthening the U.S. forces of aggression and the reactionary Kuomintang rule in various ways. To gain time to prepare for his civil war, Chiang Kai-shek, prompted by U.S. imperialism, pretended to accept the demand of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people to stop the civil war. In January 1946 representatives of the Kuomintang government and the Chinese Communist Party signed a truce agreement, issued a cease-fire order and formed the "Committee of Three" and the "Peiping Executive Headquarters" with the participation of U.S. representatives. During the "mediation", Marshall resorted to all kinds of ruses to help the Kuomintang forces attack the Liberated Areas, first in northeastern China and later in northern, eastern and central China; he actively trained and equipped the Kuomintang troops and supplied Chiang Kai-shek with a vast amount of arms and other war matériel. By June 1946 Chiang Kai-shek had massed 80 per cent of his regular forces (which were about two million men) at the front for attacks on the Liberated Areas; more than 540,000 of these troops were transported directly by the warships and planes of the U.S. armed forces. In July, when the disposition of his troops had been completed, Chiang Kai-shek launched a country-wide counter-revolutionary war. Subsequently, on August 10, Marshall and Leighton Stuart, U.S. ambassador to China, issued a joint statement declaring that "mediation" had failed in order to give Chiang Kai-shek a free hand to wage civil war.

2. This refers to the agreement on China reached at the Moscow Conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain in December 1945. In the conference communiqué the three foreign ministers "reaffirmed their adherence to the policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of China". The foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and the United States agreed that Soviet and U.S. forces should be withdrawn from China at the earliest possible time. The Soviet Union faithfully carried out the terms of this agreement. It was only because of repeated requests from the Kuomintang government that the Soviet forces postponed the date of withdrawal. On May 3, 1946, the armed forces of the Soviet Union completed their withdrawal from northeastern China. But the U.S. government broke its promise completely, refused to withdraw its troops and stepped up its interference in China's internal affairs.

3. On two occasions, in June and August 1946, Chiang Kai-shek put forward his "five demands" to the Chinese Communist Party, declaring that only if the Communist Party accepted them would the Kuomintang consider stopping the civil war. The five demands stipulated that the Chinese People's Liberation Army withdraw from the following places: (1) all areas south of the Lunghai Railway; (2) the entire length of the Tsingtao-Tsinan Railway; (3) Chengteh and the area south of it; (4) most of northeastern China, and (5) all areas liberated since June 7, 1946, from the puppet troops in Shantung and Shansi Provinces by the people's armed forces of the Liberated Areas. The Chinese Communist Party categorically rejected all these counter-revolutionary demands.

4. According to the resolution of the Political Consultative Conference held in January 1946, the National Assembly was to be an assembly of democracy and unity, in which various political parties would take part, and was to be convened under the auspices of a reorganized government after the terms of the agreements reached at the Political Consultative Conference had been carried out. On October 11, 1946, the Kuomintang troops occupied Changchiakou, and this "victory" turned the heads of the Chiang Kai-shek clique. On that very afternoon it openly violated the terms of the PCC resolution and ordered the convening of a divisive and dictatorial "National Assembly" controlled exclusively by the Kuomintang. Officially opened in Nanking on November 15, 1946, this "National Assembly" was firmly opposed and boycotted by the Chinese Communist Party, the democratic parties and the entire people.

5. See "Smash Chiang Kai-shek's Offensive by a War of Self-Defence", Note 1, p. 92 of this volume.

6. See the same article, Note 2, pp. 92-95 of this volume.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung