Isaac Douglas, New York Times Reporter
WASHINGTON, 29th August, 1945 — The Nationalist government (KMT) and Communist Party of China (CPC) commenced negotiations today in Chongqing, China. Heated debates have already been sparked on issues of governance and military affairs.
The KMT has proposed in its memorandum for the CPC to reduce the size of its army from the current 40 divisions to 20 divisions or less. This is in order to “safeguard national security”. The KMT has further proposed a system of shared authority to be established over military forces acquired by the CPC.
The CPC has called these moves an attempt by the KMT to “dilute CPC influence in the national army” and “seize power” in the country. Wang Bingnan, diplomat and foreign affairs official of the CPC calls the reduction of 40 divisions to 20 “too much”, and that “a strong, robust army is important for the CPC to serve as a reliable check on the KMT rule”.
With regards to the above criticisms, Soong Mei-ling suggested that ”ulterior motives” are afoot – “What is the necessity of so many military divisions under CPC control?” Soong further argued that the system of shared authority is not an erosion of power on either side, but an “amalgamation of resources”, which would speed up the recovery of the nation in coming decades. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek added that the KMT would be amenable to adjusting the limit to 30 divisions instead of 20, if the CPC truly found the conditions too limiting.
Nonetheless, Patrick J. Hurley, US envoy to China applauded the commendable commitment of both parties on working towards an amenable compromise. Regarding the proposal to share authorities, Hurley affirmed that “cooperation is crucial” on this delicate issue, and stated that the establishment of a joint high command over the military following an integration process is indeed ideal.