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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


August 26, 1945

[This inner-Party circular was drafted by Comrade Mao Tse-tung for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China two days before he went to Chungking for peace negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek. Because the Chinese Communist Party and the broad masses of the Chinese people firmly opposed Chiang Kai-shek's civil war plot and because U.S. imperialism still had to pay some heed to world-wide democratic public opinion, which unanimously condemned his policy of civil war and dictatorship, Chiang sent three telegrams to Comrade Mao Tse-tung on August 14, 20 and 23, 1945, inviting him to Chungking for peace negotiations, and for the same purpose Patrick J. Hurley, then U.S. ambassador to China, came to Yenan on August 27. The Communist Party of China decided to send Comrades Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai and Wang Jo-fei to Chungking for peace negotiations with the Kuomintang in order to make every possible effort for peace and also, in the process of struggling for peace, to show U.S. imperialism and Chiang Kai-shek in their true colours and so help unite and educate the masses of the people. This circular drafted by Comrade Mao Tse-tung analysed developments in China during the fortnight after Japan announced her surrender. It set forth the policy of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the peace negotiations, certain concessions the Party was prepared to make in the negotiations and policies for coping with the two possible outcomes of the negotiations. It contained directives concerning the principles to be followed in the struggles in the Liberated Areas of northern and eastern China and of central and southern China respectively. And it warned the whole Party that it must absolutely not relax its vigilance or its struggle against Chiang Kai-shek because negotiations were to take place. Comrade Mao Tse-tung and his colleagues arrived in Chungking on August 28 and held negotiations with the Kuomintang for forty-three days. Although the negotiations resulted only in the publication of the "Summary of Conversations Between the Representatives of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China" (also known as the "October 10th Agreement"), they were nevertheless successful in that politically they enabled the Chinese Communist Party to gain the initiative to a great extent and put the Kuomintang in a passive position. Comrade Mao Tse-tung returned to Yenan on October 11. Comrades Chou En-lai and Wang Jo-fei remained in Chungking to continue the negotiations. For the results see "On the Chungking Negotiations", the next article in this volume.]

The speedy surrender of the Japanese invaders has changed the whole situation. Chiang Kai-shek has monopolized the right to accept the surrender, and for the time being (for a stage) the big cities and important lines of communication will not be in our hands. Nevertheless, in northern China we should still fight hard, fight with all our might to take all we can. In the past two weeks our army has recovered fifty-nine cities of various sizes and vast rural areas, and including those already in our hands we now control 175 cities, thus winning a great victory. In northern China, we have recovered Weihaiwei, Yentai, Lungkou, Itu, Tsechuan, Yangliuching, Pikechi, Po-ai, Changchiakou, Chining and Fengchen. The might of our army has shaken northern China and, together with the sweeping advance of the Soviet and Mongolian forces to the Great Wall, has created a favourable position for our Party. In the coming period we should continue the offensive and do our best to capture the Peiping-Suiyuan Railway, the northern section of the Tatung-Puchow Railway and the Chengting-Taiyuan, Tehchow-Shihchiachuang, Paikuei-Chincheng and Taokou-Chinghua Railways; and also to cut up the Peiping-Liaoning, Peiping-Hankow, Tientsin-Pukow, Tsingtao-Tsinan, Lunghai and Shanghai-Nanking Railways. We should gain control of whatever we can, even though temporarily. At the same time, the necessary forces should be employed to take as many villages, county and higher administrative centres and small towns as possible. For example, a highly favourable situation has been created because the New Fourth Army has occupied Nanking, Taihu Lake and the Tienmu Mountains and between the Yangtse and the Huai Rivers, because our forces in Shantung have occupied the whole of the Eastern Shantung Peninsula and because our forces in the Shansi-Suiyuan Border Region have occupied many cities and towns north and south of the Peiping-Suiynan Railway. After another period of offensive operations, it will be possible for our Party to control most of the areas north of the lower Yangtse River and the Huai River, most of Shantung, Hopei, Shansi and Suiyuan Provinces, all of Jehol and Chahar Provinces and a part of Liaoning Province.

At present the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain all disapprove of civil war in China; [1] at the same time our Party has put forward the three great slogans of peace, democracy and unity [2] and is sending Comrades Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai and Wang Jo-fei to Chungking to discuss with Chiang Kai-shek the great issues of unity and national reconstruction, thus it is possible that the civil war plot of the Chinese reactionaries may be frustrated. The Kuomintang has now strengthened its position by recovering Shanghai, Nanking and other places, reopening sea communications, taking over the arms of the enemy and incorporating the puppet troops into its own forces. Nevertheless, it is riddled with a thousand gaping wounds, torn by innumerable inner contradictions and beset with great difficulties. It is possible that after the negotiations the Kuomintang, under domestic and foreign pressure, may conditionally recognize our Party's status. Our Party too may conditionally recognize the status of the Kuomintang. This would bring about a new stage of cooperation between the two parties (plus the Democratic League, [3] etc.) and of peaceful development. In that event, our Party should strive to master all methods of legal struggle and intensify in the Kuomintang areas in the three main spheres, the cities, the villages and the army (all weak points in our work there). During the negotiations, the Kuomintang is sure to demand that we drastically reduce the size of the Liberated Areas, cut down the strength of the Liberation Army and stop issuing currency. We on our side are prepared to make such concessions as are necessary and as do not damage the fundamental interests of the people. Without such concessions, we cannot explode the Kuomintang's civil war plot, cannot gain the political initiative, cannot win the sympathy of world public opinion and the middle-of-the-roaders within the country and cannot obtain in exchange legal status for our Party and a state of peace. But there are limits to such concessions; the principle is that they must not damage the fundamental interests of the people.

If the Kuomintang still wants to launch civil war after our Party has taken the above steps, it will put itself in the wrong in the eyes of the whole nation and the whole world, and our Party will be justified in waging a war of self-defence to crush its attacks. Moreover, our Party is powerful, and if anyone attacks us and if the conditions are favourable for battle, we will certainly act in self-defence to wipe him out resolutely, thoroughly, wholly and completely (we do not strike rashly, but when we do strike, we must win). We must never be cowed by the bluster of reactionaries. But we must at all times firmly adhere to, and never forget, these principles: unity, struggle, unity through struggle; to wage struggles with good reason, with advantage and with restraint; and to make use of contradictions, win over the many, oppose the few and crush our enemies one by one. [4]

In Kwangtung, Hunan, Hupeh, Honan and some other provinces our Party forces are in a more difficult position than in northern China and the area between the Yangtse and the Huai Rivers. The comrades in those places are much in the thoughts of the Central Committee. But the Kuomintang has many weak spots and its areas are vast; our comrades will be fully able to deal with the situation, provided they make no big mistakes in military policy (movements and operations) and in the policy of uniting with the people, and provided they are modest and prudent, not conceited or rash. Besides receiving the necessary directives from the Central Committee, the comrades in these areas must use their own judgement to analyse the situation, solve their problems, surmount difficulties, maintain themselves and expand their forces. When the Kuomintang becomes unable to do anything with you, it may be compelled in the negotiations between the two parties to give your forces recognition and agree to arrangements advantageous to both sides. But you must definitely not rely on the negotiations, must definitely not hope that the Kuomintang will be kind-hearted, because it will never be kind-hearted. You must rely on your own strength, on correct guidance of activities, on brotherly unity within the Party and good relations with the people. Firmly rely on the people, that is your way out.

To sum up, our Party is confronted with many difficulties which must not be ignored, and all Party comrades must be well prepared mentally. But the general trend of the international and internal situation is favourable to our Party and to the people. So long as the whole Party is united as one, we shall be able to overcome all difficulties step by step.


1. Around the time of Japan's surrender, the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain for a period all expressed disapproval of civil war in China. Events soon demonstrated, however, that the U.S. statement about its so-called disapproval of civil war in China was only a screen for actively helping the reactionary Kuomintang government prepare for a counter-revolutionary civil war.

2. The three great slogans of peace, democracy and unity were put forward in the "Declaration on the Current Situation" by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on August 25, 1945. The declaration pointed out that after the surrender of Japanese imperialism, "the important task confronting the whole nation is to consolidate unity in the country, safeguard domestic peace, bring about democracy and improve the people's livelihood so as, on the basis of peace, democracy and unity, to achieve national unification and build a new China, independent, free, prosperous and powerful".

3. The Democratic League was formed in 1941 under the name of the China Federation of Democratic Political Groups. It was reorganized under the name of the China Democratic League in 1944.

4. See "Problems of Tactics in the Present Anti-Japanese United Front" and "On Policy", Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. II.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung