The China Crisis of 1944
The Generalissimo's agreement in principle that Stilwell should command in China and the tenacity with which the Japanese clung to their grip on the Burma Road meant that events in China would soon take the spotlight. The Generalissimo's conditional agreement required that sooner or later a Presidential representative would arrive in Chungking for the delicate and historic negotiations on Stilwell's assumption of command, while the continuing blockade of China suggested that the Japanese pressure in east China would put more and more strain on the Sino-American alliance and on the Nationalist regime itself. The President's request that Stilwell take command would therefore be an added factor in a scene both complex and alarming to the Americans.
The Defense of Heng-yang
After their easy capture of Changsha on 18 June, which so alarmed Stilwell's staff in Chungking, the Japanese sent the 116th and 68th Divisions against the walled city of Heng-yang. Heng-yang airfield fell on the 26th, and two days later the Japanese, confident and flushed with success, opened their attack on the city itself.1 (See Map 18.)
Changsha had fallen like a ripe plum, but in Heng-yang General Hsueh had a commander, Maj. Gen. Fong Hsien-chueh, and an army, the 10th, that held firm. The Chinese fought well and a Japanese attempt to overrun Heng-yang failed. Japanese casualties were heavy. The division commander and chief of staff of the 68th Division were wounded in the first day's fighting. The commander of the 116th Division was placed in operational control of the Japanese attack against Heng-yang. The Japanese tried again and failed.
After the war, Hata remarked that "supply conditions chiefly embarrassed the Japanese Forces during the Ichi-go Operation." He explained that long stretches of the railway south from Hankow had been torn up, and could not be repaired because of the floods and attacks of the Fourteenth Air Force. The Hsiang River, parallel to the Japanese advance, could not be fully exploited because the Fourteenth Air Force limited travel on it to the hours of darkness. One Japanese officer recalled that motor vehicles were the most successful
means of transportation, though the combined efforts of all agencies produced only a trickle of supplies.2
In concrete terms, this constriction of their supply lines meant that no supplies reached the Japanese forces before Heng-yang until the first series of Japanese attacks had failed. By 2 July a few items began to reach the front, and a week later the Japanese were able to maintain daily average deliveries of ten tons. This was a very meager allotment of ammunition, and as for food the Japanese were obliged to live off the country.3
The tremendous supply problem faced by the Japanese reflected great credit on the 68th Composite Wing, under Brig. Gen. Clinton D. Vincent. Vincent's men drove the Japanese to cover during the day, for they were machine-gunning even individual Japanese soldiers. Daring pilots went out at night to attack Japanese motor transport. Thanks to the impact of the efforts of the Fourteenth Air Force on their supply lines, the Japanese were stalled before Heng-yang.
Chennault and his staff had the liveliest appreciation of the Japanese problems, and hoped the Chinese would make a stand that would force the Japanese to attempt supply movements at a level greater than would be permitted by the Fourteenth's steady attacks.4
When the fighting before Heng-yang died away, the Chinese waited apprehensively for it to resume. After several days had passed with no further attacks, the Chinese and General Vincent's headquarters concluded the Japanese had stopped, and that their next move would be in retreat. Vincent issued an order of the day on 7 July, saying that victory was in sight, and all hands joined to toast it. "Hissing sky rockets and fiery flares split the warm gloom of Kwangsi nights," Chennault recalled after the war. "Merchants of Kweilin loaded trucks with gifts of ivory, silk, jade, and lacquerware and drove them to the airfields for presentation to American airmen." But all the while the Japanese were moving up their artillery and ammunition. By 10 July their preparations were complete, and the attack on Heng-yang was resumed the next day.5
From within their walled city the defenders of Heng-yang resisted as manfully as before, with what assistance the 68th Composite Wing could give them. Pilot fatigue, accumulating maintenance difficulties further compounded by lack of adequate facilities, and an ever-worsening fuel situation combined to reduce that support steadily. But while his resources permitted, Vincent kept his fighters over Heng-yang to hold the Japanese in their trenches during daylight
hours. Fighter-bomber sorties pounded Japanese strongpoints. American aircraft went up and down the Hsiang River, a major Japanese line of communications to the siege, to interdict Japanese supply movements. From 68th Composite Wing's own meager ammunition stores, Vincent took 75-mm. shells and .50-caliber ammunition and dropped them into Heng-yang.6
The combined efforts of the Chinese infantrymen and General Vincent's gallant pilots again disrupted the Japanese plans: ". . . the subsequent combat situation became confused and our operation did not progress according to plan." Once again the Japanese had to halt and reorganize. But Chennault and Vincent could not exploit the situation; from 17 to 24 July lack of fuel grounded the bulk of the 68th Composite Wing.7 The Japanese reorganized once more, brought up the 58th Division, and the siege of Heng-yang went on into the third week of July. To 20 July, Japanese operations cost the enemy 3,860 dead, 8,327 wounded, and 7,099 sick.8
That ICHIGO had been stalled by the 10th Army opened several opportunities to the Chinese and their allies. Since the Japanese had bypassed major Chinese troop concentrations, these latter could attack the lines of communications that fed the Japanese siege. The Chinese could gather reinforcements and proceed to the relief of Heng-yang. The Japanese lines of communications would give Chennault profitable targets, and since he had air superiority he could supply the Heng-yang garrison until it was relieved. So might run an armchair analysis. But events in China moved according to causes that lay below the surface.
Japanese Successes and Chinese Politics
On 20 July, General Hearn, who had returned from medical treatment in the United States to again become Stilwell's chief of staff, began to press the east China situation on his commander's attention. Stilwell was then at his headquarters in Burma. Hearn radioed that Gen. Pai Chung-hsi was predicting that Heng-yang would fall in two days more. Through General Lindsey of Z-FOS, General Pai was asking for six division sets of equipment on the Y-Force scale to prepare the 46th and 64th Armies to defend Kwangsi Province,
Pai's own bailiwick. "These are all Chang Fah-Kwei's and Pai Chung-hsi's favorite troops," noted Hearn, who suggested further that these two potent war lords wished to hedge their own positions against the loss of Heng-yang. He went on to say that Stilwell's headquarters now faced what he called an "enigma"--whether to deny help to the ground forces in order to supply Chennault to the utmost. Hearn had checked with Chennault who was willing to give up tonnage to supply the troops covering his airfields. Hearn suggested, therefore, a shipment of infantry weapons and three units of fire to Kweilin, about 200 tons in all. Stilwell's chief of staff appraised it as a "piddling contribution" and a "token effort" to the troops defending the airfields, but suggested it in the manner of one willing to grab at straws.9
Next day General Lindsey himself sent a radio to Stilwell illuminating the tangled command and political situation in which the Generalissimo and the east China war lords were involved:
Observer from Zebra Force to Ninth War Zone arrived this headquarters on 20 July to present a request from General Hsueh Yueh that we assist him in reequipping and training the 4th Army now in Chenhsien. This assistance to consist of using our influence to have Chinese turn over the part of equipment which is now in Kweilin for this area and to obtain additional equipment from you.
General Hsueh Yueh will not make this request of National Military Council as he states it will be refused. This matter was discussed by me with General Pai Chung-hsi who stated he would not transmit this request to Chungking and that, if the matériel were made available, it could not be sent to that area at this time. It is my opinion that Ninth War Zone is not receiving equipment which is available to Chinese here. Information from reliable sources is that there is a group consisting of Marshal Li Chi-sheng [Li Chi-shen], General Chang Fa-kwei, Yu Han Mo, Hsueh Yueh, Governor Lung Yun [of Yunnan], and a group of dissenters in Szechwan who have been negotiating to set up an autonomous government in Southeast China if communications with Chungking should be cut off. Marshal Li would head this government. I believe present difficulties on equipment are results of Central Government fear of this clique.10
Therefore, after 21 July 1944, Stilwell was in receipt of a warning from one of his principal subordinates that the senior Chinese officers in east and southeast China, plus the authorities in Szechwan and Yunnan Provinces, whose relative freedom from Chungking control was well known to Stilwell, were contemplating revolt. Hearn's message may have presented an enigma, but Lindsey confronted Stilwell with a dilemma.
Since 7 July, the United States Government had been on record as desiring that the Generalissimo appoint Stilwell to command the Chinese Army, as Stilwell knew. If Stilwell was to defy the Generalissimo's order of 5 June that all Hump tonnage should go to Chennault, and give arms to a subordinate of one of the principal east China war lords, and these men were then to turn against the Generalissimo, Stilwell would be in a position too obviously embarrassing
to require elaboration. Stilwell approached the problem by referring the question of tonnage distribution to the Generalissimo.
Stilwell's reply to his chief of staff on 22 July was characteristically terse and left it to Chennault and the Generalissimo to arrange any supply of arms to east China.
Here is my slant. QUADRANT and SEXTANT turned down help for ground forces and accepted Chennault's plan for beating Japs with air alone. Generalissimo was sold on this plan and has insisted on full tonnage for air force. Chennault has stated that with ten thousand tons he could stop the Japs. He had twelve thousand last month. If he now realizes he cannot do it, he should so inform the Gissimo, who can then make any proposition he sees fit. Pai obviously cannot have equipment for six divisions, and as you say the allotment of equipment proposed in lieu of it will have no appreciable effect. I do not see how we can move until a certain big decision is made. You can tell the Chinese we are doing our best to carry out the plan the Gissimo insisted on.11
When Hearn paraphrased the 22 July radio for the information of General Sultan, the deputy theater commander in New Delhi, his text showed he clearly grasped Stilwell's point that if Chennault believed he could not stop the Japanese by air power alone he should tell the Generalissimo, who could then propose any revision of Hump tonnage allocations he desired to give tonnage to the Chinese forces in east China.12 While Stilwell's radio was circulating among his subordinates, he received a plea direct from Chennault to assign a troop carrier flight to China for air supply of Fong's heroic garrison. Stilwell refused on 23 July, saying: "As it would in any case set up precedent for further demands which would not be met, cannot stretch our present facilities to include the proposed commitment."13
Then Stilwell's 22 July radio, with its significant proposal, was given to Hearn's staff in Chungking to serve as the basis for CBI Theater policy on supplying arms to the east China commanders. But as written by the staff, the radio that went to Chennault and Lindsey for action, and Stilwell and Sultan for information, omitted any reference to Chennault's approaching the Generalissimo. The radio stated that at a recent conference the Generalissimo had insisted that all eastbound tonnage must go to the Fourteenth Air Force, that unless the Generalissimo reversed himself, no tonnage could be given to the Chinese ground forces. The message paraphrased the Generalissimo's note to the President of 29 April 1943 by remarking that the Chinese "contribution is the ground forces as now organized and equipped; ours is the air force and such aid as you are able to render the ground forces with practically no tonnage in sight."
The radio went on to say that the problem of Headquarters, CBI Theater, was to know how far the situation could be allowed to go before "pressing CKS for more drastic and effective action." So Lindsey and Chennault were to advise CBI Theater headquarters on what action to take if (1) Heng-yang held, (2) Heng-yang fell and the Japanese advance resumed, or (3) Heng-yang held and the Japanese drove north from Canton.14
Stilwell duly received his copy of the 24 July radio at his Burma headquarters. Almost all of his papers and diary entries for these days deal with the siege of Myitkyina and the misunderstandings over the Chindits, which is suggestive of his major concerns, though not conclusive. If he noticed how his staff had shifted the emphasis of the message from that in his basic radio of 22 July, he did not object.15
Chennault's answer to the 24 July radio drifted still farther from the point of Stilwell's 22 July radio. Replying to the question on the conditions under which the Generalissimo should be approached, Chennault said that under any conditions he should be asked to improve the efficiency of the eastern line of communications to Chennault's advance bases. As for questions of tonnage and allocations, Chennault said only that a minimum of 6,000 tons a month had to be received by him every month in east China, after which all tonnage above 6,000 should go to the ground forces. Thus in moving from one level of staff and command to another, Stilwell's 22 July proposal was altered beyond recognition and the moment passed.
The Chinese gathered considerable forces near Heng-yang, including the XXVII and XXIV Group Armies (seventeen divisions). American observer groups were with most of Hsueh's divisions but sensed that American matériel would have been regarded as preferable to their presence. Gen. Wang Hou-wu, XXIV Group Army, made a good impression on the men of his American team but they feared that General Wang's telephoned exhorting of his subordinates to attack lost effect in the eighty miles that separated him from the front.16
However, General Wang faced command problems. For example, the Americans learned that Wang's 79th Army almost always broke communications with XXIV Group Army on the eve of an attack, and that Wang placed no credence in reports from them.17 The American-equipped Chinese artillery units were disappointing. Fearing the personal consequences if they lost their fine new howitzers, Chinese artillery commanders took but a few forward into action and left the rest miles to the rear.18
Chinese forces stood along the flanks of the long Japanese line of communications all the way back to the Yangtze River and pecked away at the Japanese intermittently. One attack even carried them into Changsha, but the Japanese promptly expelled them. Around Heng-yang itself, the Chinese armies were in a great semicircle, but the Japanese were able to keep them at arm's length and proceed with the siege. On one occasion the Chinese 100th Army moved to within five miles of Heng-yang, but the Japanese lines held firmly. The American staff of Z-Force understood from liaison reports that the 62d, 79th, and 37th Armies and the New 19th Division took heavy losses in the attempt to relieve Heng-yang; the 58th, 72d, and 20th Armies, in attacking the Japanese line of communications.19
When July came to an end, the Fourteenth Air Force, looking back on its efforts, tallied 4,454 sorties flown in support of General Hsueh's men between 26 May and 1 August 1944.20
The East China Crisis Grows
Heng-yang finally fell on 8 August. Immediately thereafter, the east China crisis intensified for the Chinese and Americans. For the Japanese, victory at Heng-yang brought no solution to problems that by the summer of 1944 were growing ever worse. Both parties to the Heng-yang battle soon found their local struggle part of a much larger crisis, which for Chinese and Japanese alike seemed to involve the great issues of national survival.
The summer of 1944 was a black one for the Japanese Empire. The island of Saipan in the Mariana group, which lies within bombing distance of Japan, was invaded by American amphibious forces on 15 June. Japan's Combined Fleet, which had been husbanded as jealously as the China Expeditionary Army, was committed on 18 June in an effort to stop the American amphibious attack on Saipan. The effort had failed with losses to the Japanese carrier air groups that left them impotent. Having completed occupation of Saipan by 8 July, the Americans proceeded to lay out B-29 bases. The long accumulation of Japanese defeats that began at the Battle of Midway in June 1942 finally brought a cabinet crisis in Japan, and Gen. Kuniaki Koiso succeeded Hideki Tojo as premier.
Events in Europe were also going badly for Japan's sole ally, Nazi Germany. OVERLORD had been a complete success, and on 23 June the Russian summer offensive had begun. It went well, and a few days later the Red Army was in Minsk. On 20 July there came unmistakable evidence of dissent in Germany, for an attempt was made to assassinate Chancellor Adolf Hitler. Five days later the Americans broke out of the Normandy lodgment area and, while the British sped up the Channel coast and into Belgium, began a sensational sweep across France.
Organization of the China Expeditionary Army:
15 September 1944
Imperial General Headquarters, examining the critical situation, decided on Operation SHÕ, a massive counterattack on the American forces making the central Pacific offensive to be launched when the Americans attempted an attack within the area Philippines-Formosa-Ryukus-Japan-Kuriles. Since SHÕ was to be the decisive operation, Marshal Hata and China Expeditionary Army received new orders. Just as the JCS had ordered Stilwell to subordinate all else to support of U.S. operations in the Pacific, so Imperial General Headquarters in late July ordered Hata to make preparations to support the first-priority SHÕ operation. Two of Hata's twenty-four divisions, the 26th and 62d, were earmarked for SHÕ,21 The 26th Division went to the Philippines, the 62d to Okinawa. Most of the reinforcements for the SHÕ operation came from Manchuria.22
ICHIGO was necessarily involved in the general examination of Japanese strategy that preceded issuance of the directive for the SHÕ operation. Nothing in the postwar Japanese studies and comments suggests that abandonment of ICHIGO was considered, but China Expeditionary Army was given an added
FIELD MARSHAL SHUNROKU HATA
GEN. YASUJI OKAMURA
objective, "to establish an operational linking with French Indo-China by opening a road network. By doing so, the Imperial General Headquarters hoped to maintain only a liaison connection with the Southern Army forces to the south. It did not plan to open a line of communication to the south by reopening the Hankow-Canton Railway as a substitute for sea transport. The reason why the Imperial General Headquarters did not plan to reopen the Railway was simply that Japan at that time had no railway material reserve for that purpose."23
The Japanese command structure in China was reorganized. (Chart 8) To conclude ICHIGO, in late August 1944, General Okamura was placed in command of a new headquarters, 6th Area Army, so that the former commander of the North China Area Army became responsible for Japanese operations in east China, while Hata was free to concentrate on the problems of meeting the feared American landings on the China coast. Under 6th Area Army were placed the 11th, 23d, and 34th Armies, plus the 27th, 40th, 64th, and 68th Divisions, stretching from Hankow to Canton inclusive. Four independent infantry
brigades were brought up to division strength as the 114th, 115th, 117th, and 118th Divisions. Organization of Okamura's new command was completed on 10 September. In mid-October, Headquarters 20th Army (Lt. Gen. Ichiryo Banzai) was brought down from Manchuria to command the Japanese units between Changsha and Heng-yang.24
After the Chinese lost Heng-yang, a lull of about thirty days followed in east China. The Japanese had to stop their advance because the Fourteenth Air Force was making their supply situation extremely difficult. To renew their offensive, and attack Kweilin and Liuchow, the Japanese wanted to accumulate the extremely modest sum of 400 tons of supplies in newly captured Heng-yang. Though they made the most strenuous efforts to bring up supplies, and though they halted for a month, they could not reach their goal. Some ammunition did come forward; the divisions to make the attack got from thirty to fifty tons each. But clothing and food could not be brought up. In retrospect, it would seem that if the Chinese had stood firm, and forced the Japanese to expend their supplies, ICHIGO would have died of simple starvation.25
The fall of Heng-yang also marked a new phase in the complicated politics of the Chinese defense of east China, no less than the beginning of a new phase of ICHIGO. Perhaps the fall of Heng-yang on 8 August was the signal, or perhaps the timing was coincidence, but one day later a Chinese believed to be an associate of Marshal Li Chi-shen walked into the American consulate in Kweilin with a request that a message from Marshal Li be forwarded "to the highest American authorities concerned":
In order to cope with the critical situation with which China is confronted at present, a provisional government known as the Southwestern Government of Joint Defense, will be established in the near future. This Government will be participated in and supported by the Provinces of Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Hunan, Fukien, Anhwei, Szechwan, Yunnan, and Sigang [Sikang], and a great number of military and political leaders. It will have the following aims: (1) To substitute the present one-party and one-man dictatorial government at Chungking with a democratic form of government under the leadership of the Kuomintang; (2) to bring about the national unity, and to affect a general mobilization in order to cooperate with the Allies in crushing the Japanese; and (3) to obtain a better understanding and a closer cooperation with the Allied countries. Simultaneously with the instigation of this government, there will be sent out a telegram, jointly signed by all the leaders who advocate this movement, demanding the resignation of President Chiang Kai-shek; it is expected that this can be obtained without armed conflict. The provisional government will be headed by Marshal Li Chi-shen, President of the Military Advisory Council of Chungking, and former Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek when the latter commanded the revolutionary army in the famous Northern Expedition of 1926.26
Stilwell's first reaction to this news, which he received while vacationing in Ceylon, was joyful. "Hooray for crime!" he wrote in his diary, hoped that perhaps now the Generalissimo would have to act, and added cryptically, "Lucky I prepared the ground months ago." Seeking more information, Stilwell ordered Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Timberman to contact General Pai, and there the topic disappears from his diaries.27
The immediate reaction from the American Embassy was cautious and discreet. On 9 August State Department personnel at Kweilin were ordered by Ambassador Gauss to act with the utmost discretion and to deal with local Chinese authorities simply as local Chinese authorities.28 As for General Stilwell's further and official reaction, after a day's reflection he made his stand unmistakably clear. In December 1942, Foreign Minister T. V. Soong had hinted that Stilwell might play a tremendous role in China Theater, and Stilwell had rejected the offer. Now, in August 1944, trouble was brewing in east China, and if Stilwell intended to meddle in Chinese politics, here was his opportunity. But the orders he now sent Hearn were: "Our policy is to lay off the internal affairs of China but we now have a big stake in this business and must keep ourselves informed. Listen to any propositions that may be made, but do not make any commitments nor even express any opinion. Just say you will forward any messages proposed."29 Stilwell meanwhile attempted to ascertain the reaction of the Communists and the northern war area commanders to the threatened coup.30
From Kweilin, Consul Arthur R. Ringwalt on 10 August relayed information which he presumably obtained from Marshal Li's clique, and which made serious charges against the Generalissimo. Ringwalt reported that in April 1944 the Japanese and the Generalissimo had agreed on a line delimiting the Japanese sphere of influence in China. The line was said to run from the Communist border region due south through Tung-kuan to the Yangtze River, thence westward along the Yangtze through Tali to Burma. The Japanese were said to have assured the Generalissimo he would not be molested west and north of that line so long as he (1) did not compromise with the Communists or any other dissident faction, (2) co-operated with the United States only to such an extent as not to lose the support of that Government, (3) ordered his personal forces outside his zone of influence to offer only token resistance to the Japanese, and (4) gave no support to armies outside his territory. Ringwalt reported further that in May the Generalissimo had become seriously concerned
at the attitude of Gen. Hsueh Yueh and had asked the Japanese to disperse General Hsueh's troops.31
After the war, Marshal Hata denied that any such agreement existed, and suggested that the report of such an agreement might have originated with the Chinese Communists. Hata and his successor Okamura were quite familiar with the intricacies of Chinese politics. In 1952 they discussed at some length the relationships between the various war area commanders and the Generalissimo, as well as between several war area commanders plus one of the provincial governors with the Japanese. They also stated that Marshal Li was in touch with the Japanese at the same time he was seeking U.S. aid.32
In compliance with Stilwell's orders, Hearn gave General Lindsey, who, as the senior U.S. ground force officer in east China, would be deeply concerned if the east China war lords revolted, clear orders on CBI Theater and U.S. policy in regard to internal Chinese politics:
We have referred URAD CCA 205 to General Stilwell. This headquarters has no authority to enter into discussions or make arrangements for negotiation with any party except that of the Central Government which has received for several years the backing of the United States Government. Our concern in political factions is limited to the manner and degree in which they affect our mission in China, viz., to promote the war against Japan. Therefore, it is desired that you observe closely the situation and keep this headquarters informed of developments especially those which affect our war effort. Be careful not to express any opinions or make any comments which may be interpreted as an indication of our being for or against such a movement. Work closely with Ringwalt and comment for our info only on his messages where such is applicable.33
Ambassador Gauss believed that without substantial encouragement from the United States Marshal Li would not go further. Gauss did not intend to furnish such encouragement, but decided to adopt Stilwell's policy of listening and saying nothing in reply.34
The next development was a report from an officer described to Stilwell as being in close touch with Li's circle, and with Communist forces in south China. This man said that Pai Chung-hsi had broken with Li, moved his family from Kwangsi, and would have nothing to do with the proposed coup. He also believed that Li had Communist support, which might soon reveal itself as a Communist drive to link forces with Li. He went on to depict Marshal Li as engaged in setting up his new government and named certain Chinese as potential cabinet ministers.35
Stilwell promptly reported the projected coup to Marshall. He described it
as Ringwalt had reported it to Headquarters, CBI Theater, but deprecated any attempt by Marshal Li to supplant the Generalissimo. Wrote Stilwell:
There is only one outstanding man in China who could handle the proposed transitions without too much confusion. He is Pai Chung Hsi. Pai has character and ability as well as common sense and has always been most cooperative with us. In case this matter reaches a more serious stage, I strongly recommend that he be kept in mind as the one man best suited to take over. We are trying to get more definite information and will transmit promptly any news of development.36
A few days later Stilwell modified his 10 August radio by reporting that as yet neither Pai Chung-hsi nor Gen. Li Tsung-jen was openly identified with the movement. If they stayed loyal to the Generalissimo, Stilwell believed the Generalissimo had a chance and observed that since the same east China war lords had betrayed Pai and Li in 1930 and 1936 the latter were probably waiting for solid guarantees. Then came the topic always close to Stilwell's heart. He had been informed that the Generalissimo had held an important conference where sweeping reforms of the Chinese Army were considered, the sort Stilwell had been urging for two years. If the report was correct, said Stilwell, it showed the importance the Generalissimo attached to U.S. support.37
In compliance with Stilwell's order, Timberman had gone to Kweilin and begun conversations with General Pai. Initially, Timberman received the impression that Pai knew nothing of the plot, and so did not discuss it with him lest Pai inform the Generalissimo.38
Then General Pai became more communicative. A day or so later he told Timberman that Marshal Li and three war area commanders, Gens. Hsueh Yueh, Chang Fa-kwei, and Yu Han-mou, were contemplating a separatist movement. Pai believed that the movement was largely the work of the Chinese Communists, that the east China war lords had little real support, and that any coup they might attempt would fail. In the light of his talks with Pai, Timberman reached an opinion which Hearn relayed to Ambassador Gauss in Stilwell's name: "Li's group now control the area but it will take U.S. backing to influence the overall picture. I believe this the reason for the approach to us. CKS will be influenced by a local coup and undoubtedly know we have been approached. The whole thing looks too small for us to do more than continue our present policy of receptive observation."39
In conversations between Timberman, U.S. Consul Ringwalt, and Marshal Li himself, on 15 August, the Americans made it clear that the United States was maintaining a "hands-off policy" but wanted to know what was happening because of its great interest in the early defeat of Japan. Marshal Li was bitter in his denunciations of the Generalissimo's regime, which had, he thought, failed the defenders of east China. Li made no promises as to when his coup would be launched but left the impression it would be within thirty days. At the end of the meeting, Li asked Timberman point-blank if the United States would support him and received the answer that such matters were for Washington to decide, that Timberman could say nothing.40
In Yenan, headquarters of the Chinese Communists, Mr. Service, Hearn's political adviser, made repeated attempts to learn whether the Chinese Communists supported Marshal Li. Service concluded that if the Chinese Communists knew anything of Li's plans, they were not interested. He also decided that the northern war area commanders were solidly behind the Generalissimo.41
While CBI Theater headquarters and the American Embassy were studying Marshal Li's threatened coup in east China, Chennault on 17 August raised anew the issue of American supplies for General Hsueh, whom so many reports had mentioned as one of Li's principal supporters. In his request, Chennault showed himself fully aware that Hsueh was not in the good graces of the Generalissimo but suggested to Hearn that Stilwell ignore the Generalissimo's government and give arms to Hsueh directly:
With Timberman in conference discussing ways and means of materially assisting the Chinese ground armies in retaking Heng-yang I stated that I would be willing to contribute one thousand tons my tonnage for bringing light machine guns, grenades, demolitions and so forth as would contribute to the effectiveness of General Hsueh Yueh's army. I would not be interested in turning this over to the Minister of War because the chances are great that it would never reach Hsueh Yueh whom I believe will fight if given the bare essentials. Suggest that you discuss this with Timberman who gave me the impression that he was convinced we must do something quick right.42
Hearn relayed the suggestion to Stilwell, who, weighing the matter in the light of the still-pending command question, answered: "The time for halfway measures has passed. Any more free gifts such as this will surely delay the major decision and play into the hands of the gang. The cards have been put on the table and the answer has not been given. Until it is given, let them stew."43
On the basis of Stilwell's reply, Hearn's staff prepared and sent the following answer to Chennault:
Your proposition to divert one thousand tons from air force allotment to ground force supplies in order to retake Heng-yang has been given the best treatment in the shop. We find after investigation that one thousand tons is sufficient to equip only one army with a very limited quantity of infantry weapons, two and one half units of fire for infantry weapons, a small amount of signal and demolition equipment with sufficient transportation to haul but one unit of fire.
Stilwell also sent us his views on your proposal. He agrees, in order to restore the situation in the east, an operation is required. He is working on a proposition which might give this spot a real face lifting and is loath to commit himself to any definite line of action right now.
Consequently we must hold off in making any proffers of help to the ground troops until things precipitate a bit more.
Realizing the press of time sorry had to hold up on this non-committal answer until heard from boss man.44
The exchange of radios between Chennault and Stilwell's headquarters showed how the pressure of events since 1943 had persuaded Chennault to change his views. In sharp contrast with his attitude then, Chennault was now asking Stilwell to take Hump tonnage from the air arm so that the east China ground forces might have supplies. That the loyalty to the Generalissimo of the senior Chinese officers in east China was a matter for open speculation, and that Stilwell in accord with his long-held bargaining approach was reluctant to give arms to the Chinese without concrete evidence that they would be used against the common foe rather than in domestic squabbles, combined to make Stilwell refuse Chennault's suggestion. It is interesting to note that Chennault's and the Generalissimo's views had so far diverged by spring 1944 that the Generalissimo was insisting that all supplies go to the Fourteenth Air Force while Chennault was pleading for arms for the east China commanders.45
The Hurley-Nelson Mission
While Stilwell and Chennault were, in their separate ways, seeking an answer to the east China crisis, the United States Government was about to intervene directly to place responsibility for the solution on Stilwell's shoulders. Whenever the President turned his attention again to the command problem,
he would find waiting for him a memorandum from the Generalissimo, dated 23 July 1944. In it, the Generalissimo again accepted "in principle" Stilwell's command of "China's forces directly under the Generalissimo," then proceeded to lay down three conditions which would have to be met before Stilwell could take up his new duties. The provisions would be necessary, wrote the Generalissimo, because of the political circumstances in China and the psychology of the Chinese Army and people.
The Generalissimo's three conditions were: (1) the Chinese Communists could not be under Stilwell's authority until they agreed to obey the "administrative and military orders of the Chinese Government"; (2) Stilwell's functions, authority, title, and relationship to the Generalissimo should be clearly defined; and (3) "The distribution and disposal of all military supplies under the lend-lease arrangements should, in accordance with the spirit underlying the Lend-Lease Act, be placed entirely under the authority of the Chinese Government or its Commander-in-Chief. The Generalissimo, however, is prepared to delegate authority to certain officers of the United States Army to supervise over the disposal of such supplies."46
To his agent in the United States, Dr. H. H. Kung, the Generalissimo sent instructions for the conduct of the forthcoming negotiations, describing the Generalissimo's political position in China as he himself saw it, and as he feared Stilwell's proposed appointment might affect it. The Chinese leader said that he himself was "responsible to the end for China," so that if transfer of power over the Chinese Army to a foreigner was not carefully regulated, the Chinese Army and people might think the Generalissimo no longer so responsible. Japanese and "subversive elements" might then exploit the resulting situation. He stressed the financial preconditions to Stilwell's having command powers in China: China must control lend-lease and the United States must give generous financial aid. That command over the Chinese Army
which the Generalissimo had agreed in principle to give Stilwell was most narrowly defined by the Chinese leader. Stilwell could command the troops actually fighting the Japanese, but not those in reserve or in training. The Communist forces would be discussed in special negotiations.47 In effect the Generalissimo was proposing that Stilwell assume command of the Y-Force, plus a few divisions of Gens. Hsueh Yueh and Chang Fa-kwei, and with them stop Marshal Hata's offensive.
Pending the President's return the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, and the Army's Chief of Staff did considerable spadework toward establishing the post of Presidential representative on which first Vice-President Wallace and then the Generalissimo laid such stress. The President had sent many special emissaries to troubled spots overseas. Several had gone to China, and of them it seemed to Stimson that only the commander of the Army Service Forces, General Somervell, had been "truly helpful." So Stimson and Marshall sought to find another Presidential emissary who might duplicate Somervell's success.48
Their thoughts turned to Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley. General Hurley had had a long and distinguished career in politics, corporation law, and diplomacy. After reaching the rank of colonel in World War I, Hurley had resumed the practice of law. From law he entered politics and was Secretary of War in President Herbert C. Hoover's administration, 1928-32. Returning to his law practice in 1933, Hurley scored his greatest legal success by negotiating in 1940 an agreement between the Republic of Mexico and five American oil corporations regarding the latter's expropriated Mexican holdings. Though Hurley was a corporation lawyer, his work on the Richfield Oil Company reorganization and the Mexican oil tangle had led the public to think of him as an oil man. Immediately after Pearl Harbor, Hurley had offered his services to the War Department. By his efforts to run supplies through the Japanese blockade of the Philippines, and by his later work as U.S. Minister to New Zealand in the spring of 1942, he had won the confidence of the President, who thereafter entrusted Hurley with a series of diplomatic missions, to the Soviet Union in November and December 1942, and then to the countries of the Middle East. While in Iran Hurley drafted the Declaration of Tehran and secured the signatures of Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin.49 In the fall of 1943 General Hurley went to China to arrange the Generalissimo's presence at the Cairo Conference, November-December 1943. He made an excellent impression on both the Generalissimo and Stilwell.
Inviting Hurley to a conference in July 1944, Marshall and Stimson turned the conversation to China and the problems of CBI. Years later Hurley recalled Marshall and Stimson asking him if he thought that Chennault should be
theater commander. He answered in the negative and believed later that his answer pleased the two men.50 Marshall for his part soon concluded that Hurley would like to be the President's special envoy to China. Marshall asked Stilwell's reactions to having Hurley sent to China to be the President's representative and act as a buffer between Stilwell and the Generalissimo, whose personal relations had so sadly deteriorated during the years since January 1942.51
Stilwell was pleased with Marshall's nomination of Hurley, raised no objection to the fact that Hurley as a Presidential emissary would be in some respects his superior, and closed his reply with a jest: "It takes oil as well as vinegar to make good French dressing."52
Acting for the President, Marshall then placed Hurley's name before the Generalissimo on 10 August,53 and with it that of Donald M. Nelson, former chairman of the War Production Board, as a Presidential agent to study China's fast-deteriorating economy. Nelson's mission to China did not arise from the command question, but rather reflected a situation which had arisen within the Roosevelt administration, involving the War Production Board and the forthcoming Presidential election.54 The Generalissimo accepted Hurley and Nelson, with the now familiar stipulation that there had to be thorough preparation and mature consideration before Stilwell was actually given command.55
Therefore when the President returned to Washington on 17 August he found H. H. Kung ready with the Generalissimo's detailed preconditions and Marshall and Stimson with the Generalissimo's agreement to Hurley's mission. The President talked to Kung, heard the Generalissimo's preconditions, and brushed them aside. In answering the Chinese leader's memorandum and several radios, the President urged the importance of speed in setting up Stilwell's command, and said that Kung had informed him the Generalissimo would take the administrative steps necessary to carry out his agreement to put Stilwell in command.
General Hearn presented the message on 23 August:
I am glad that you find General Hurley and Mister Nelson acceptable for the important missions they will perform for us. Now that my personal representatives to you have been decided upon, I think we should proceed immediately to take the positive steps demanded by the military situation. I urge that you take the necessary measures to place General Stilwell in command of the Chinese force, under your direction, at the earliest possible date.
Extended deliberations and perfection of arrangements may well have fateful consequences in the light of the gravity of the military situation.
In my position I can well appreciate your political problems and particularly the political difficulty of installing an American officer in the desired command position. I feel certain, however, that between General Hurley and General Stilwell there will be an adequate comprehension of the political problems you face. I am urging action in the matter of Stilwell's appointment so strongly because I feel that, with further delay, it may be too late to avert a military catastrophe tragic both to China and to our Allied plans for the early overthrow of Japan.
As to matters of detail which Doctor Kung presented: I do not think the forces to come under General Stilwell's command should be limited except by their availability to defend China and fight the Japanese. When the enemy is pressing us toward possible disaster, it appears unsound to refuse the aid of anyone who will kill Japanese.
I am not suggesting Stilwell's title but I think it ought to imply that directly under you he commands the armed forces in China--that of the head of the state with his commander in the field.
I feel sure that General Hurley will be highly useful in promoting relations which will facilitate General Stilwell's exercise of command and his understanding of the related political problems, and that it will not be necessary to delay matters until each detail is considered and settled.
I propose proposing a new arrangement for handling lend-lease matters, relieving General Stilwell of his burden, and will communicate my proposal to you later.
Doctor Kung informs me that you will take the necessary administrative steps to implement our agreement. In this message I have been most frank, my sole effort being directed toward the freedom of China and the complete defeat of Japan at the earliest possible moment. General Hurley and Mister Nelson will leave here about August twenty-third.
I had a most successful inspection trip in Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. I think we have Japan very much worried and that by continuing the pressure every day her position will become still worse.
My warm regards,
The President having accepted Hurley as his representative, the two men proceeded to discuss his mission. The President ordered that Hurley's principal mission be to promote efficient and harmonious relations between the Generalissimo and Stilwell and to facilitate Stilwell's exercise of command of the Chinese armies to be placed under his direction.57 Hurley was ordered to Chungking via Moscow, to discuss Sino-Russian relations with the Soviet Government. During Vice-President Wallace's trip to Chungking, Mr. Wallace and the Generalissimo had discussed the Chinese Communist issue, and the
Generalissimo on other occasions had expressed to the President his concern over the attitude of the Soviet Union. Having been ordered to concern himself with the political aspects of military operations, Hurley would need the widest understanding of the forces playing upon China if he were to obtain the co-operation of the central government's forces with those of the Chinese Communists.58
General Hurley received a briefing from the War Department which presumably did not cover the evolution of the views of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff on the North Burma Campaign, for Hurley took up his mission unaware that Stilwell had begun the North Burma Campaign in compliance with orders from Southeast Asia Command based in turn on directives of the Combined Chiefs of Staff approved by the President and the Prime Minister.59
Washington Plans To End Stilwell's Lend-Lease Powers
While Hurley and Nelson were en route to China, the Operations Division of the War Department suggested that the China, Burma and India Theater be split to create a U.S. theater of operations in each of the two geopolitical areas, China and India-Burma, and that Stilwell be divested of his responsibilities for lend-lease. Such an arrangement would go far to smooth Stilwell's path. Ever since the summer of 1942, Chinese impatience with the lend-lease allocations of the Munitions Assignments Board had taken the form of accusations that Stilwell was somehow to blame, accusations which derived an air of reality from the fact that he controlled the time and place of delivery. OPD's suggestion would free Stilwell of concern for the major logistical problems of the CBI Theater, and would give the Generalissimo's government a much greater voice in lend-lease matters. Stilwell could then concentrate on troop command in the field, and on support of the U.S. drive across the Pacific.
For the proposed India-Burma theater, OPD suggested that it be commanded by some other general, who would discharge his responsibilities in India via a deputy while he served in person as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander of SEAC. Command of the Allied forces in north Burma would be given to another American officer directly under Admiral Mountbatten. OPD expected that SEAC, in accord with the CCS June 1944 directive, would continue operations to secure the trace of the Ledo Road. The Commanding General, India- Burma Theater, who would probably be Lt. Gen. Daniel I. Sultan, Stilwell's deputy, would inherit the delicate problem of co-ordinating American operations in India with those of the Government of India and India Command, while at the same time he would be responsible for logistical support of Stilwell
in China and of the Allied forces in north Burma.60 The Joint Chiefs of Staff would set broad policy on the allocation of airlifted tonnage to China, and in so doing would be guided by Stilwell's wishes. As of 26 August, JCS policy on Hump tonnage allocation gave first priority to the tonnage necessary to maintain, develop, broaden, and secure the air link to China to insure adequate air bases there.61 The projected India-Burma theater would have the policy-making authority inherent in its role of logistical support. If the new theater and Stilwell disagreed, then the matter would be referred to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Acting for General Marshall, General Handy accepted the OPD proposal and relayed it to Stilwell for his comment, ending his radio with the remark: "As in the past most of the foregoing is an irregular arrangement, but between the Government of India, SEAC, the Hump problem, the Chinese Ledo Road Force, the Generalissimo's position and personality, and your dominating mission to save the military situation in China, nothing less than the complicated setup will meet the various requirements of the situation. . . ."62
Stilwell at first did not like the proposed command setup, saying that it would be more complicated than the old. If the present arrangement was continued, he thought the only irritating factor would be lend-lease:
If I have nothing to do with that, I will report with an empty satchel. At Cairo, the President told Chiang Kai-shek, as I remember it, that he would equip 60 Chinese divisions, and even 30 more if necessary. CKS will be looking for deliveries. We are now restricted to 30 divisions plus 10%. The question is: How do I play it? I can tell him that 30 plus 10% is the limit, or that we will make good on the other understanding. In either case, it does not make any difference who administers lend-lease because the Chinese will expect me to be able to influence it. The basic question is whether or not we will make good, and this will be very important in Chinese eyes. In brief, Sultan can handle everything except lend-lease and I will be blamed for that anyway.
After offering some comments on command relations and assignments in SEAC, Stilwell stated:
I should welcome a more definite and less complicated mission. Your proposal accomplishes this as far as I am concerned, but I believe it weakens our position here generally. If you leave the present set-up in India, I can go to China with very little on my mind. If I can get definite guidance on how far we are prepared to go with lend-lease I can do better than if I shrug my shoulders and tell them someone else is responsible. The only concern then is command of the CAI [Chinese Army in India]. . . .63
In reply, the War Department reminded Stilwell that SEAC might argue that the Chinese were responsible for defending the trace of the Ledo Road once it was opened. Therefore, were Stilwell to command the Chinese Army
he would have to reach some agreement with SEAC on Chinese operations in Burma. Concerning lend-lease, the reply stated that two problems faced the War Department as it weighed the increase in shipments to China that would follow the opening of a land route: (1) the commitments made at Cairo; (2) administration of lend-lease to a Chinese Army which might include both Nationalist and Communist troops, if the two did unite to war against Japan. Captured German matériel would offer one source of supply. The Department stated that it was exploring every possibility of creating a new arrangement that would relieve Stilwell of all responsibility for the troublesome problems of lend-lease so that he might devote his time to commanding troops. The War Department had in mind establishment of a Sino-American board in Chungking making its requests direct to Washington. Once decisions were reached by higher authority in Washington, the U.S. Army would deliver supplies to the Chinese at the front. Such a procedure, the Department hoped, would give the Chinese a status like that enjoyed by the Great Powers, while the United States' interests would be safeguarded in that title would not pass until the arms were literally in the soldiers' possession.64
After weighing the War Department's comments, Stilwell withdrew his objections to the proposed split in the CBI Theater. If the War Department could find good men to fill the new command posts that would be created, Stilwell believed the solution would be sound. He believed too that the new lend-lease arrangement (relieving him of responsibility) would be a great improvement over the old (under which he controlled time and place of delivery). Though the use of captured German matériel would multiply the types of weapons and ammunition in China, and create a new spare parts problem, as a stopgap until U.S. matériel could be provided it would be acceptable.65
In none of these exchanges did Stilwell reveal any enthusiasm for essaying the role of commander of the Chinese Army. The initiative had come from the War Department, and he had responded dutifully, first from Burma, and then from Ceylon, where as deputy he was substituting for Mountbatten. During these latter weeks of pleasant interlude Stilwell had enjoyed himself immensely, and his diaries suggest that his interests were those of any holiday seeker to whom the telegram from the office comes as an interruption.
At this same time, his political adviser, John Davies, was of the opinion that Stilwell would be skeptical of any command post he might receive in China. On 4 September, in faraway Washington, Davies carefully recorded a long discussion he had had with Harry Hopkins, who was an enthusiastic partisan of Chennault's, and sent a copy to Stilwell.
After a few remarks about Madame Chiang, Donald Nelson, and H. H. Kung, Hopkins turned to the command question. Davies recalled his saying:
The Generalissimo's latest messages seemed to indicate that he is willing for General Stilwell to assume command of all Allied troops in China, including the Chinese. He [Hopkins] suggested that it was felt that only a foreign commander such as General Stilwell could command both Central Government and Communist troops. I remarked that in view of his experiences in the first Burma campaign I found it hard to believe that General Stilwell would not be skeptical of the degree of control which he could exert over Chinese army commanders. I said that I foresaw his authority being undercut at every turn.
This comment apparently came as a surprise to Mr. Hopkins. He declared that General Stilwell had not indicated any doubt of his ability effectively to command Chinese troops. He asked whether or not the American command of Chinese forces in north Burma had not been a success. I replied that it had been but that in India and Burma we had far more control over Chinese units than we have had or will have in China. I went on to say that General Stilwell might successfully exert command but that all of the way it would be a hard battle against Chinese recalcitrance, lethargy, and indifference, and that I was sure General Stilwell would be the first to admit this. Nevertheless, full of pitfalls as such an arrangement might be, it seemed to me that the alternative--which was to leave the Chinese to liquidate the Japanese armies in China--was a pretty hopeless solution, and I thought that General Stilwell felt the same way.
Mr. Hopkins stated that General Stilwell would have a great deal of power because the White House would in this arrangement work directly through General Marshall to General Stilwell.
In the course of this discussion Mr. Hopkins commented explosively on the inefficacy of the Chinese army. He quoted the Russian criticism--if Tito with his small forces and resources could perform effectively, why was Chiang Kai-shek unable to do likewise?66
The conversation left the command question, and both men agreed that civil war in postwar China was inevitable; that if the Generalissimo did not suppress the Communists, the Chinese Communists would remove him. The conversation drifted to Europe, then back to China, more specifically, to the Stilwell-Chennault feud.67
Apparently quite a few of General Chennault's boy colonels have called at the White House. Mr. Hopkins was tremendously impressed by their youth, their adventures, and their fanatical devotion to Chennault. He remarked that Chennault is one of the most remarkable characters he has met, that the General is highly disliked within the Army but (and this he said with vehemence) the Army does not dare and will not be able to purge Chennault. He intimated that one reason is that Chennault will not remain in the Army after the war and may be expected to speak frankly and publicly. He concluded that events, however, had proved that General Stilwell's and not General Chennault's strategy with regard to China was correct. Mr. Hopkins believed that Chennault's position with the Generalissimo and leading Chinese officials had been impaired by their realization of this.68
On the same day that Davies and Hopkins talked together in Washington, Hurley and Nelson arrived in India after a brief stay in Moscow. There the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav M. Molotov, had assured General Hurley that the Chinese Communists were not true Communists at all, an assurance that Hurley accepted and relayed to Washington. Stilwell was waiting for the
CHUNGKING CONFERENCE. Surrounded by Chinese officers, General Stilwell is photographed with Donald Nelson (left) and General Hurley (right).
American emissaries in New Delhi, because on 26 August he had received word that the Generalissimo wanted him to accompany Hurley and Nelson to Chungking for "important discussions."69 There were some informal, unrecorded conferences on 4 and 5 September, then the Americans left for Chungking to confer with the Generalissimo.70
The Talks Begin
Arriving at Chungking with a minimum of ceremony on 6 September, Stilwell and Hurley conferred with Ambassador Gauss and discussed the political crisis in China. Early the next day the Generalissimo's headquarters called, summoning Stilwell to meet with the Generalissimo at 0930. Hurley and Nelson were to see the Generalissimo at 1100. When Stilwell arrived, the Generalissimo was pleasant in manner and businesslike in approach.
Remarking that in the past Stilwell's work had been 100 percent military,
the Generalissimo said that now as commander of the Chinese Army Stilwell's work would be 60 percent military and 40 percent political, that Stilwell would receive orders from him through the National Military Council. If Stilwell used the Communists, those troops would have to acknowledge the authority of the National Military Council.71
When Hurley and Nelson saw the Generalissimo at 1100, the Chinese statesman told the American negotiators that he would give Stilwell full command of all Chinese forces in the field, and with it his full confidence. In reply, Hurley said that the President proposed that Stilwell's new command be modeled on the integrated Anglo-American command that General Eisenhower had set up in Europe, and that Stilwell must have the Generalissimo's full authority and confidence in undertaking his new assignment.
The Generalissimo's comments suggested to Hurley that he did not understand how Eisenhower's headquarters functioned, but the Generalissimo was emphatic in his desire for a new Chinese services of supply staffed by Americans. The Chinese leader added that any Communists serving under Stilwell would have to submit to Chiang's control.72
When Stilwell returned to his desk he found a radio from Lindsey's headquarters in east China, sketching the situation there in drab colors. A Z-FOS observer, who had just returned from XXVII Group Army, reported that XXVII, now whittled down to 8,000 effectives, was falling back steadily from Heng-yang with no attempt to contact or delay the Japanese. Its automatic weapons, small arms, and ammunition were described as "surprisingly adequate." This group army had two batteries of 75-mm. howitzers with American liaison officers attached, but "their use of these guns has been tragically ineffective. Old story of using one gun with remainder kept back for safekeeping." The 93d, 31st, and 46th Armies were appraised as comparatively well equipped and supplied. The trouble, in American eyes, lay in the command situation, which to Z-FOS appeared as follows:
46th Army is out of the picture because of its location. Similarly other armies on the flanks of the salient [which the Japanese had driven through east China from north to south] will not influence the situation because of their reluctance or inability to attack. Armies listed above are under 4th War Zone control with Chang Fa-kwei in command. Actually he has little or no control of them due to his persona non grata status with Chungking. Hsueh Yueh cannot or will not exercise command in 4th War Zone and he will stay by 9th War Zone. An outsider from Chungking would be a figure head. . . . No one here in power can tell us whether a stand will be made, who controls communications, when demolitions are planned on routes, or where 14th Air Force should best be used. With no real authority here we are just floundering. . . .73
There was also trouble on the Salween front. Unknown to the Allies, the
Japanese Burma Area Army, after giving up the attack on India, planned a limited offensive on the Salween front to re-establish a firm grip on the Burma Road. The 2d Infantry Division and a regiment of the 49th Division were moved to north Burma from the Irrawaddy Delta of south Burma.
On 23 August the Japanese commander at Lung-ling had notified the 56th Division that his situation was hopeless. Next day the division commander sent the 3/148 forward from Mang-shih to reinforce. On the 26th the 56th Division intervened in strength to drive the Chinese off the Burma Road south of Lung-ling and save its besieged garrisons. Some 6,000 Japanese struck the roadblock the Chinese had set up below Lung-ling to isolate the town. The Chinese began to fall back. Meanwhile, the 2d Division was hurrying toward the scene of action.74
Because all of his immediate reserves had been drawn into the fight for Lung-ling, and considering that the Chinese Government had ignored his earlier pleas, Wei Li-huang asked General Dorn to present his further requests for 20,000 trained replacements (Wei had not received one since the offensive began); for two more divisions; for permission to use the 5th Army's tank battalion; and for Pao-shan to be developed as a supply base. Dorn was partially successful in that the National Military Council renewed its promises to send replacements.
Meanwhile, in Burma, the Japanese were bringing up the 2d Division. On 5 September the 2d and 56th Divisions opened their counteroffensive, the DAN operation, with 12,000 men. The 56th Division struck the northern arc of the Chinese positions around Lung-ling on the 8th. The Chinese Honorable 1st Division resisted stoutly, and the battle began to grow in intensity, the Chinese greatly handicapped by the gaps in their ranks.75
On 8 September Hurley took up his role as negotiator. With Stilwell and Nelson he visited a session of the National Military Council, and Stilwell entertained Gen. Ho Ying-chin, Chinese Army Chief of Staff, and a group of senior Chinese officers. From Gen. Yu Ta-wei, chief of Chinese ordnance, he learned that the Generalissimo wanted the Chinese Army in India to leave at once from Myitkyina, which the Chinese had held since 3 August, and attack toward Lung-ling.
Hurley was closeted with the Generalissimo, and later with T. V. Soong. Restored to the Generalissimo's favor after a long hiatus that followed the abortive attempt to have Stilwell recalled in October 1943, Soong was now to play a prominent part in the negotiations. Soong restated the Chinese conditions for Stilwell's actually taking up his new duties, among them, control of lend-lease, and Hurley demurred emphatically. The Generalissimo made a constructive suggestion, that Hurley and Stilwell prepare an agenda for the
GENERAL STILWELL ENTERTAINS AT LUNCHEON. Stilwell is shown with Vice Adm. Yang Hsuan-cheng and General Hurley.
talks. The Generalissimo proposed to meet the Communist troop issue by incorporating the Communists into the Chinese Army if they would submit to his command.76
In compliance with the Generalissimo's suggestion, Hurley, after consulting Stilwell, began drafting an agenda. The Generalissimo's 7 September hint, that he would like his services of supply reorganized, also resulted in action, as General Sultan and General Covell, Commanding General, SOS in CBI Theater, arrived in Chungking. Over 9, 10, and 11 September, Stilwell, Sultan, and Covell conferred with the Chinese military on supply matters, and Hurley completed the agenda. With this preliminary spadework done, Hurley and Stilwell returned to confer again with the Generalissimo on 12 September, and the pace of the command discussions now began to quicken.
The agenda Hurley presented on 12 September covered ten points:
The paramount objective of Chinese-American collaboration is to bring about the unification of all military forces in China for the immediate defeat of Japan and the liberation of China.
To cooperate with China in bringing about closer relations and harmony with Russia and Britain for the support of the Chinese objectives.
The unification of all military forces under the command of the Generalissimo.
The marshaling of all resources in China for war purposes.
Support efforts of Generalissimo for political unification of China on a democratic basis.
Submit present and postwar economic plans for China.
Definition of the powers of General Stilwell as Field Commander.
Definition of General Stilwell's powers as Chief of Staff to the Generalissimo.
Prepare for presentation a diagram of command.
Discuss future control of lend-lease in China.
At Soong's suggestion, the phrase "on a democratic basis" was struck from point 5. The Generalissimo agreed to the "objectives" in the first six points; then, coming to Stilwell, said that Stilwell's powers would have to be defined in an international agreement.77
After the conference, Stilwell recorded his understanding that the Generalissimo would give him command:
Gmo, Hurley, and I. Gmo said: Reds must obey NMC. Have you (JWS) inspected the Reds? In the past your work has been 100% military, now it will be 60% military and 40% political [Stilwell's italics]. We must reorganize our SOS. ("Will appoint JWS to command the field forces, and with the appointment goes my full confidence.")78
Therefore the time seemed ripe for Stilwell to suggest, and Hurley to frame, the American proposals for Stilwell's command role.
American Proposals, 12-13 September 1944
The draft outlines of Stilwell's new powers, and for his exercise of those powers, which Stilwell and Hurley shaped over 12 and 13 September fall into three groups. First were those that Stilwell sketched for his own guidance, his estimates of what he would do on assuming command. Second, were Stilwell's suggestions to Hurley for the paper that Hurley would place before the Generalissimo. Third, and last, were the actual proposals as Hurley wrote them for the Generalissimo's consideration.
For his own personal guidance, Stilwell roughly outlined a draft of a circular telegram to be issued by him to all war area and group army commanders when he assumed command:
To War Zone and Group Army Commanders:
G-Mo has -- -- -- [dashes and blank space left by Stilwell]. Lacking in ability, etc. My need for your assistance and cooperation is great. Without it can't accomplish anything. With your help we can do much. I hope you will look upon me as a true friend of China. My only thought is to defeat the Japanese and have China take her place with the Great Powers, strong and free. To do this we must make every effort to strengthen and improve the Army. I am asking for your full support in this endeavor.
There may be some of you who say: "What is this foreigner doing here?" I ask you not to think of me in that way. I have spent many years in China. I have travelled all over the country, I respect the Chinese people and their character, I have seen the Chinese soldier fight, and I have always stood up for him and the Chinese people. I hope that you will believe I am China's true friend.
Now the G-mo has honored me by appointing me to command the Field Forces. This great honor makes me very conscious of my shortcomings. The responsibility is great and my ability small. To accomplish anything I must have the support and cooperation of you all. Only in this way can I hope to tui te ch'i Kuo Chia, tui te ch'i [unify and save China for] the Generalissimo.
As I see the situation, China is close to exhaustion after her long struggle of 7½ years. The Army needs supplies and weapons, and it is to open a road from India and get them in that I have been working for 2½ years. The air ferry is not enough. We must have a road in order to bring in what we need. Even that will not be enough. We need a port on the sea so that American ships can deliver to us by a shorter route in less time and in greater quantity.
We cannot expect our Allies to do this unaided. We must still depend on ourselves. The G-mo has said that the brunt of the effort in Asia must still be borne by China, and it is our task to prepare for that effort. We have the means to do it. We have the manpower, and we can get the weapons. I know the Chinese soldier. I have seen him fight, and he is as good as any in the world. China's army can make her strong and keep her free. We must make every effort to rebuild the Army. It is for this I need your support and ask your cooperation. It can be done, but only if all of us work together in harmony with our eyes on our goal.79
The steps that Stilwell contemplated after formally assuming command he listed as follows:
Gmo public announcement. Radios to WZ etc. JWS to WZ CG's, repeat Gp A's.
Conf. [with] Reds--Ch'en Ch'eng--Hsueh Yueh--Chang Fa-kwei.
Select training area and concentrate.
Orders to 14th AF.
Allocate tonnage and items.
Get money in rupees.
Set up med. estab. (Armstrong) [medical establishment under the theater surgeon].
Set up attacks on Ichang--Loyang--Shansi.
Planes to supply Reds from Chengtu. Dump at Chengtu.
US appts [appointments] as fu shih [temporary] changes.
ACTION in NMC.
Consolidation of Units.
Relief and appt, reward and punish, promotion and demotion.
Get the art. [artillery] together.
Replacement centers. Inspect and reorganize.
Pull in units from East.
Take over provincial troops.80
Writing to Hurley on 13 September, Stilwell pointed out that the title and role of Joint Chief of Staff meant little until other Allied forces were in China Theater. Therefore he suggested that his new title be Field Commander of the Chinese Army with no reference to the chief of staff function. Then he added: "If General Stilwell is to work satisfactorily he should get his orders direct from the Generalissimo. A copy of these orders should go to the National Military Council, and the Council should work with General Stilwell ways and means of putting them into effect."81
On the several issues involved in command of the Chinese Army, Stilwell offered six points which faithfully reflected the War Department's views as expressed to him on 31 August and 4 September 1944:82
General Stilwell's function must be primarily command and operational with no responsibility for administration beyond general supervision. The situation is too critical to attempt any changes in procedure. The present machinery should not be disturbed. Any malfunctioning should be corrected by changes in personnel rather than by changes in organization.
This is true of all supply agencies. Different methods can perhaps be suggested to improve the system, but the system itself should not be disturbed.
The National Military Council must give its full support and cooperation to General Stilwell. He will not attempt anything beyond its capabilities, and will consult on plans.
All the Chinese Armed Forces, air as well as ground, are included in General Stilwell's command.
General Stilwell must have the authority to support his responsibility. This must include the right to reward and punish, to relieve and appoint officers, all in conformity with Chinese law.
The Generalissimo must announce General Stilwell's appointment and authority and direct all concerned to act suitably. The Generalissimo must give General Stilwell a suitable authenticating seal and a written commission and directive, setting forth his powers and limitations.
Lend-lease will be handled by an American commission sitting in Chungking, with a Chinese representative. The assignment of matériel will be in conformity with accepted plans for the first two groups of 30 Divisions each.83
In his comments on supply, Stilwell was reflecting the advice of his SOS commander, General Covell. After conferring with the Chinese Covell had recommended no material change in the Chinese SOS organization, but rather a clearer definition of official responsibilities and centralized control of transport and communications.84
In an earlier draft of the memorandum to Hurley, Stilwell indicated his conception that any arrangements with the Chinese Communists should be
purely military in nature and limited to the current crisis. He wrote: "3. The 18th Group Army (Reds) will be used. There must be no misunderstanding on this point. They can be brought to bear where there will be no conflict with Central Government troops, but they must be accepted as part of the team during the crisis."85 (Nowhere in the War Department files or in Stilwell's private papers were there found any suggestions from Stilwell that the Chinese Communists should enter the Generalissimo's Government, nor are there any indications that he was ever given any orders to propose such an arrangement to the Generalissimo.)
Hurley weighed Stilwell's suggestions and, with Stilwell's approval, drafted two papers for the Generalissimo. One was an order of appointment, the other a proposed directive from the Generalissimo to Stilwell. Both were in the Generalissimo's hands before 16 September, probably a day or two before. Hurley's proposed order of appointment ran:
I, Chiang Kai-shek, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the Republic of China, with the advice and approval of the National Military Council, do hereby appoint General Joseph W. Stilwell, Field Commander, of the Ground and Air Forces of the Republic of China. He will be responsible directly to me for the operations of these forces.
The National Military Council will give its full support to operations of the Ground and Air Forces of the Republic of China. General Stilwell will consult with the National Military Council in the preparation of plans of operation, for coordination of supply and administration.
General Stilwell is hereby authorized to reward and punish, to appoint and relieve officers, all in conformity with Chinese law.
General Stilwell is hereby authorized to issue orders for the operations of the Ground and Air Forces of the Republic of China over an authenticating seal, an impression of which appears below.
This order will be published to all commanders and units of the Ground and Air Forces of the Republic of China. . . .
The proposed directive from the Generalissimo to Stilwell said:
You will proceed at once with the reorganization and relocation of Ground and Air Forces of the Republic of China and with the preparation of plans for a counter-offensive, by the Allied Forces in the China Theater, to regain the areas of China now occupied by the Japanese.
In carrying out this mission, you are authorized to activate and equip new units; to disband old units; to transfer personnel from one unit to another and to transfer units from one command to another and from one locality to another without regard to the jurisdiction of commanders or of provincial and war area boundaries.
In the course of reorganization, surplus officers will be ordered to report to the Commanding General, Officer Replacement Center, which will be established by the National Military Council.
You will coordinate your plans for reorganization and operations with the National
Military Council to insure that the necessary supply and administrative details are coordinated with your plans.
You will initiate at once plans to improve the livelihood (living conditions) of the officers and soldiers of the Ground and Air Forces of the Republic of China so that it will be at least equal to that of the people in the rear areas.
You are authorized to requisition supplies for the Ground and Air Forces of the Republic of China in the areas where they are stationed, giving a receipt for such supplies. Said receipt will show the date and place of requisition, the name of the person from whom requisitioned, the name, quantity and current local price on each item. Receipts as given will be redeemed by the National Military Council.86
In the proposed directive may be read what Stilwell thought was wrong with the Chinese Army and what he proposed to do about it: amalgamate units to bring the better ones up to Table of Organization strength, weed out and dismiss surplus officers, move units from one war area to another as the military situation might require, feed the soldier an adequate diet, and pay for what the soldier ate. Here were the Army reforms that Stilwell had urged on the Generalissimo in one memorandum after another in 1942 and 1943, memorandums to which, as a rule, the Generalissimo had not replied.87 Now, in September 1944, Stilwell through Hurley was asking for power to put them into effect.
While the Chinese considered their response, Stilwell prepared to go to east China. The military picture appeared gloomy to him, both there and on the Salween, and Stilwell reported as much to Marshall on 12 September. On the Salween, General Dorn was seriously disturbed by the steady Japanese progress at Lung-ling, and Stilwell had come to share his concern. So Stilwell told his superior that there could be a very serious setback at Lung-ling, after which the Japanese might even go on to cross the Salween River itself. If they attempted it, Stilwell did not at the moment know how they could be stopped. As for negotiations with the Generalissimo, they were "dragging along," for "the Gmo meanwhile is using up time in arguments over command and the control of Lend-lease. I will keep you informed."88
Stilwell and the Question of the Communists' Role
By 13 September, when Stilwell was ready to visit east China, his American superiors had somewhat clarified their own ideas on the role the Chinese Communists should play in China Theater, and had informed Stilwell accordingly. During Wallace's visit the advantages of having both Communists and Nationalists turn their full attention to the war against Japan had been stressed.89 The
President had accepted and relayed to the Generalissimo the Joint Chiefs' suggestion that Stilwell command both the Nationalist and Communist forces.90 The War Department had told Stilwell it contemplated giving lend-lease to a Chinese Army that might include Communists as well as Nationalists.91
What the Chinese Communists thought of the prospect of Stilwell's assuming command, which would mean orders to them to take the offensive against Japan, was another question and one that would have to be answered. Stilwell's diaries and papers show that he and his political advisers had only begun to explore that question before the climax of the command crisis made it irrelevant.92
On 27 July 1944, Chou En-lai, the Chinese Communist representative in Chungking, invited John S. Service, Hearn's political adviser, to call on him and gave him a long presentation of the Communist views on the whole Chinese scene. After the talk, Service reported Chou as taking a line which appears very reminiscent of that of the Generalissimo when questions of command and strategy arose, that is, that they should be discussed in detail after U.S. lend-lease and U.S. troops were present in China in great quantity. Manifestly, Chou would be prepared to drive a hard bargain on the command question.
Having in mind [Communist commander in chief] Chu Teh's suggestion to [Gunther?] Stein of an Allied Supreme Commander in China, I asked whether this would be advisable or practical. He replied with a strong affirmative but qualified it by saying that the time for suggestion had not yet come. We should wait until American supplies and men are coming into China in significant magnitude and the counter-offensive is actually in sight. The Commander should be American and would be welcome by the Communists, if agreed to by the Central Government.
Regarding the possible enlargement of activities of the present Observer Section, Chou said that such expansion toward active collaboration would of course be welcomed by the Communists but would, unless there was a radical change, be opposed by the Central Government. However, the door was now opened a crack and it might be possible, by following a slow and careful course, to move towards modified collaboration. For this reason the granting of permission for the Observer Group was a milestone. (I was interested that here, as well as in other parts of the conversation, Chou was careful to recognize the authority of the Central Government and the at least potential leadership of the Generalissimo. He obviously had no expectation that we were going to immediately start on a program of direct support of the Communist forces.)93
Then from Yenan, on 29 August, Service urged that a program for arming the Chinese Communists with lend-lease weapons be set up. He told Stilwell:
The U.S. Army has made a start in cooperation with the military forces of the Chinese Communists. So far this has been passive on our part--the tapping of Communist intelligence sources and the rescue of American air crews. The obvious success which this half-way cooperation has had should lead logically to the consideration of more active measures.
Such military cooperation would begin with our furnishing basic military supplies now desperately lacked by the Communist forces. It should be supported by training in the effective use of these supplies. It should be planned to lead, as the war in China develops into its late stages, to actual tactical cooperation of Communist with air and other ground forces.
The physical difficulties of supplying the Communist forces admittedly will be great. These difficulties can be overcome. But the decision to start this cooperation will involve questions of both military and political policy. It is sure, to begin with, to meet the strong and obstinate opposition of the Kuomintang. We must decide whether the gains we can reasonably expect from aiding the Communists will justify the overcoming--or disregarding--of this Kuomintang opposition.94
By coincidence, as this report was on its way to Stilwell so, too, were the War Department radios of 31 August and 4 September which revealed that the Department was prepared to contemplate giving lend-lease to a Chinese Army that included Chinese Communists, much as it was currently giving arms to the Yugoslav partisans. After Stilwell had had a few days to digest all these matters, as part of his proposals to Hurley for the exact definition of his powers as field commander in China Stilwell gave his views on the distribution of lend-lease. He recommended that it be distributed in accord with "accepted plans for the first two groups of 30 Divisions each," which made no provision whatever for any Communist forces. With Stilwell recommending such priorities, it would be a long time before the Communists received supplies in the "significant" quantities at which Chou En-lai had hinted.95
Such was Stilwell's attitude when Communist emissaries visited him on 13 September, the day he left for Kweilin and east China. All that is recorded of the meeting in his diary is that Stilwell told them he would go to Yenan, that he would meet again with them after he returned from Kweilin, and that they were much pleased. In the light of events, this suggests that after Stilwell's position had been settled to the mutual satisfaction of the Generalissimo and himself he would go to Yenan for the bargaining sessions that would precede any exercise of command over Communist forces.96 A few weeks later, Stilwell recorded his belief that it was "common knowledge" that all facts about "Communist trouble [were?] aired by Communists" as well as "their statement that they would serve under me."97 Possibly the Chinese Communists were seeking
to improve their bargaining position vis-à-vis the Nationalists by such revelations; possibly the disclosure emerged as part of the gossip and rumor that swirled through Chungking.
Had Stilwell visited Yenan, his stay might have coincided with a visit by Japanese emissaries, for according to Marshal Hata, both Japanese and Americans were then thinking of reaching an understanding with the Communists. Hata's recollection was that in the last six months of 1944 "the Japanese Forces planned to use the Chinese Communist Forces to suppress the Nationalist Forces. . . ."98
Crisis in the East, Crisis in the West
The Generalissimo's wish that the Chinese troops from Myitkyina intervene in the fighting around Lung-ling on the Salween front had been conveyed to Stilwell on 8 September, and repeated on the 11th. It could not be more than a desire or request, because the Chinese Army in India was under Mountbatten's command, by the Generalissimo's own order, and Myitkyina lay within Mountbatten's theater, Southeast Asia Command.99
Nevertheless, it was an expressed desire of the Supreme Commander, China Theater, to his joint chief of staff, and before departing for Kweilin Stilwell replied.
Stilwell argued that rather than call upon the 38th and 30th Divisions from Myitkyina, who were exhausted by siege, to attack the strongly fortified Japanese position at Bhamo, it would be better to fill the depleted ranks of Wei's divisions. No replacements had reached Wei since the fighting began, and Stilwell stated bluntly that it was the failure to keep the Salween forces up to strength that was responsible for the trouble the Japanese were causing at Lung-ling. He feared too that the Japanese would let their commander at Bhamo meet the 38th and 30th Divisions with his own resources, while continuing their counterattack at Lung-ling.100
In east China, phase two of ICHIGO was under way again, with the 11th Army (seven divisions) driving south down the railway from Heng-yang, and the 23d Army (two divisions and an independent mixed brigade) north from Canton. A meeting of the two forces would pinch out the Fourteenth Air Force's great bases at Kweilin and Liuchow. The 11th Army began its attack on 29 August with six divisions and about 1 September the Chinese began to retreat. Ling-ling, the next big town south of Heng-yang, fell on 8 September. The whole of the 23d Army was on the move by the 13th, and so the Japanese were well on their way into Kwangsi Province which contained the air bases.101
After the war, in discussing the performance of the Chinese divisions supposed to defend Kweilin and Liuchow, the political situation in east China, and the attitudes of the east China commanders, Marshal Hata remarked that in his opinion Li Tsung-jen and Pai Chung-hsi had kept their forces out of serious fighting in order to conserve them "for the future."102
Chinese resistance was light, but with its supply situation improved the Fourteenth Air Force again did its best on the Salween as well as in east China. In the week of 13-20 September it dropped 463 tons of bombs and flew 1,469 sorties.103 In all September the Fourteenth Air Force dropped 1,897.6 tons of bombs and fired 1,281,382 rounds of machine gun ammunition, some of the latter of course at aerial targets.104
In early September, Japanese fighter reinforcements from the homeland entered combat. The Japanese were pleased at the performance of the late-model fighters with one of the air regiments they sent to China. Thanks to the air cover thus supplied, for the first time in the east China campaign they found themselves able to move supplies regularly on the Hsiang River, which paralleled their line of advance, and so thought their prospects "brightened."105
Arriving in Kweilin on the morning of 14 September, Stilwell summoned Gen. Chang Fa-kwei, commander of the IV War Area. General Chang told Stilwell that the Generalissimo had ordered him to defend Kweilin by placing three divisions within that walled town, an order that Chang did not like. Stilwell did not like it either, and hastily sketched out a plan for submission to the Generalissimo when he returned to Chungking.106
It was necessary to reach painful decisions about the demolition of U.S. installations at Kweilin. Stilwell's solution was to blow up all but one airfield, and to keep it open until the last so that if the Generalissimo approved his plan the means to carry it out might be flown in.
During his stay at Kweilin, Stilwell was told that there had been no co-operation between Gens. Chang Fa-kwei and Hsueh Yueh during the east China campaign, that units from Hsueh Yueh's IX War Area had not fallen back into the IV War Area, and that the Generalissimo had tried to direct the campaign by long distance from Chungking. Having no illusions about Chang Fa-kwei's ability to stop General Okamura short of Kweilin, and hoping only that Chang's troops would not be immured in Kweilin, Stilwell did not interfere with the evacuation of American installations from the area. His notes on this visit record nothing about the political situation in east China.107
General Stilwell received some good news on the morning of 15 September. Teng-chung was finally in Chinese hands. With that heartening word he returned to Chungking. On his arrival, Stilwell and Hurley were summoned to confer with the Generalissimo.
In this conference it became apparent that the Lung-ling battle which had so disturbed Stilwell was now alarming the Generalissimo, who told Stilwell that if the Chinese divisions that had taken Myitkyina did not attack toward Bhamo within one week, the Generalissimo would pull Wei's divisions back across the Salween to protect Kunming. Stilwell was "appalled" and protested strongly, for this was a major step that would end the North Burma Campaign. It may be surmised that two events made the picture seem a good deal brighter to Stilwell than it had been a few days earlier. One was the capture of Teng-chung, which actually opened a usable route to Myitkyina known as the "Teng-chung cut-off." The other was the fact that an infantry company, reinforced, moving due east from Myitkyina under orders of theater headquarters, had established contact with the Y-Force after a nine-day hike. Moreover, Stilwell believed the situation to be improving at Lung-ling, for just the day before he had written in his diary: "Dorn's situation not so desperate. 36th Division, 200th Division, plus 10,000 fillers may save it."108
Disgusted and angered, Stilwell said nothing more to the Generalissimo, neither did he consult with Hurley after the conference, but as he had so often done in the past hastened to acquaint General Marshall with the latest development, and sent off his report at 1600 on 15 September:
Returned from Kweilin today. Arrangements made to safeguard American personnel. Situation that area now hopeless. Only remaining reliable Chinese units will defend Kweilin by getting inside city. The place will then become another rat trap, like Changsha and Hengyang. These dispositions are by personal order of Gmo. For defense of Liuchow, there remains the remnant of the 93d Army, which is unreliable, and two regiments of militia. The jig is up in South China. We are getting out of Kweilin now, and will have to get out of Liuchow as soon as the Japs appear there. The disaster south of the Yangtze is largely due to lack of proper command and the usual back-seat driving from Chungking. The trouble continues to be at the top. The Gmo called me in today and proposed a withdrawal from Lungling to the east side of the Salween. I was appalled and protested strongly, pointing out that we are fighting for a road to China, and that with Lungling in our possession we control the entire trace of that road. It made no impression on him. He is afraid the Japs will advance to Kunming if we are beaten at Lungling, but he has failed utterly in keeping the Y-Force supplied with fillers. It is now down to an effective combat strength of fourteen thousand and we are making frantic efforts to get replacements flown in. The Gmo says that if I do not attack from Myitkyina towards Bhamo within a week, he will withdraw the Y-Force, thus throwing away the results of all our labors. He will not listen to reason, merely repeating a lot of cock-eyed conceptions of his own invention. I am now convinced that he regards the South China catastrophe as of little moment, believing that the Japs will not bother him further in that area, and that he imagines he can get behind the Salween and there wait in safety for the U.S. to finish the war. Our conferences on command are dragging,
and tomorrow we are going to try some plain talk with T. V. Soong, in the hope of getting to the Gmo some faint glimmer of the consequences of further delay and inaction.109
Ironically, on 14 September the Japanese headquarters in north Burma, 33d Army, had halted the Japanese Salween counteroffensive because of the tenacious Chinese resistance at Lung-ling and the fall of Teng-chung and Sung Shan. The 33d Army had not intended to cross the Salween; the counteroffensive was planned to relieve pressure on the 56th Division and to bring aid to the Japanese garrisons of Lung-ling, Teng-chung, and Sung Shan. But communications were slow from the Salween front and Stilwell did not know of the withdrawal for several days.110 There was further irony in the fact that the monsoon was about to lift, and that full-scale renewal of the Allied offensive in north Burma was scheduled to begin in a few weeks.111
"I Do Not Seek the Job"
The Generalissimo's proposal to withdraw the Y-Force and give up the fight to break the blockade of China, his demands to Hurley that China control the distribution of lend-lease, which to Stilwell suggested that only the Generalissimo's own faction within the Kuomintang would receive arms, made Stilwell believe the time had come for some "plain talk" to T. V. Soong.112 In discussing the prospect of his assuming command with the War Department, Stilwell's radios had revealed no enthusiasm for the role. The first negotiations with the Generalissimo had been encouraging, then the Chinese leader's desire to abandon the North Burma Campaign had come as a shock. Moreover, after his experiences with the Generalissimo's system of command in 1942 and 1944, Stilwell was anxious that there be no misunderstanding about Stilwell's powers as a field commander and prepared to make it very plain that he would now accept command only if his conditions as to freedom and full authority were met by the Chinese. So Stilwell decided to tell Soong exactly how he felt about the matter. As was his custom, he drafted his remarks beforehand, and gave a copy to Hurley.113
Hurley, General Sultan, Stilwell, and Soong conferred on the afternoon of 16 September. The latter two were old acquaintances now, the indomitable, rough-hewn Stilwell, and the glib, wily Soong, with friends high in the U.S. administration. They had been allies in the winter of 1942-43; then Soong had
become a powerful advocate of General Chennault and in October 1943 sought to have Stilwell recalled.114
During the conference, Stilwell again defined his conception of the powers he must have as field commander.115 In his draft memorandum Stilwell called it "nothing less than full power, including the right of reward and punishment--(summary punishment)--and of appointment and relief. He [the Generalissimo] must accept the appointment of foreigners in some positions. The commander must be allowed to move units from one war zone to another, combine units, inactivate units, activate new units, make drafts from one unit to another, and change organization as he sees fit." Further, "The Generalissimo must refrain from any interference in operations." Stilwell also suggested major changes in the Chinese military hierarchy, with Gen. Chen Cheng, War Minister, and Gen. Pai Chung-hsi, Chief of Staff.116
After the conference, Stilwell noted that Soong had been taken aback by a concept of command so utterly at variance with what the Generalissimo had in mind. "I know the Generalissimo's mind," remarked Soong, who then told Stilwell what, in Soong's belief, the Generalissimo wanted. Stilwell was indignant when he described it later that day: "What the Peanut wants is an overall stooge, apparently foisted on him by the US, with a deputy commander for the Chinese Army! T. V. let that cat out of the bag."117
The frame of mind in which Stilwell received this information from T. V. Soong is suggested by a paragraph from the draft memorandum for Soong:
. . . . These [remedial steps] should include the appointment of Ch'en Ch'eng as Min. of War, of Pai Chung-hsi as C/S, and of an over-all commander in whom he has confidence. Who this is to be is immaterial, but whoever it is has my full sympathy, since he will have to gather up the broken and dispirited remnants of a beaten army, and with antiquated machinery and inefficient personnel, organize a force to oppose a first-class military power. I hope that the Generalissimo will realize that I do not seek the job; I have been delayed, ignored, double-crossed, and kicked around for 2½ years in my attempt to show the Chinese how they can hold up their heads and regain their self-respect. I have looked forward for 44 years to getting a chance to command American troops, and I could have had it if I had not been a real friend of China and the Chinese people. I am still ready to do anything I can, but only under conditions that make a solution possible.118
Therefore Stilwell had told Soong that the Generalissimo's conceptions "would not do--if I could not have authority, I could not accept responsibility. And the Gmo would have to keep his fingers out of the pie. We gave TV quite a shock."119
Stilwell's very recent experiences in attempting to command Chinese troops in north Burma would be fresh in his mind and might well make him profoundly skeptical of any seals, orders, or commissions that the Generalissimo might agree to give him. In December 1943 the Generalissimo had given Stilwell what was represented as unrestricted command of the Chinese Army in India. The appropriate chop had been issued, together with a formal order from the Generalissimo. Then in April and May 1944, the behavior of the Chinese 22d and 38th Divisions in north Burma had suggested to the Americans that they were deliberately disobeying Stilwell's orders to advance. And, senior Chinese officers of the 22d and 38th Divisions had told Stilwell's liaison officers that the Generalissimo was giving secret direct orders to Sun and Liao not to advance, despite his earlier promises that Stilwell could indeed command in north Burma. These experiences, so like those Stilwell had undergone in Burma in 1942, would very likely make him feel that unless the President and the War Department kept constant pressure on the Generalissimo to honor his commitments, a fresh grant of authority from the Generalissimo would prove no more significant than those which the Generalissimo had ostensibly made in December 1943 and April 1942.120
Though Stilwell might express private indignation at the Generalissimo's notions of command, and though he had given Marshall an alarming report on the military situation, he proceeded on 18 September to submit to the Generalissimo a plan to save the day in east China. This suggests he had no intention of breaking up the current negotiations, and was ready to do what he could in his dual role of joint chief of staff and U.S. theater commander, however hopeless he might feel. Based on the scheme he outlined in his diary after conferring with Gen. Chang Fa-kwei on 14 September, Stilwell's plan read:
No. 3 Chialing Village
September 18, 1944
MEMORANDUM: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek
For the consideration of the Generalissimo, the following possible plan is presented:
It is important to keep pressure on the Japs in South China, to coordinate with the effort in the Pacific. How can this best be done? If the last remaining units are surrounded in Kweilin, it will only be a question of time before the city is taken. The Japs will then have no opposition. General Pai Ch'ung-hsi thinks these units are capable of offensive action. If they are, they could be used in a maneuver battle instead of a static defense, and then even if unsuccessful, they could still be withdrawn towards Liuchow and continue the fight, instead of being completely lost at Kweilin.
An alternative plan would be to have the 93d Army dig in at Hsing An and hold that line, to have the 20th Army and any other available troops block off north-east of Kweilin, and then move the Kweilin garrison out of the city to the west and northwest, and attack to the east across the Chuan Hsien road. The move would be a surprise, because the Japs expect a defense at Kweilin. It would protect the airfield at Kweilin, allowing supplies to
reach the troops. It would also gain time for a possible move of the 97th Army forward and for assembling replacements drawn from Kwangsi province.
At the same time, the remnants of the troops that have been engaged north of Chuan Hsien could be concentrated in the Kweiyang area, and there re-organized, filled up, trained, and equipped for further use. This group would then safeguard the eastern approach to Kunming in case the Kweilin garrison has to withdraw on Liuchow.
For the Generalissimo's consideration.
JOSEPH W. STILWELL
Joint Chief of Staff
for the Generalissimo121
The President Replies
General Stilwell's situation report of 15 September was addressed to General Marshall in Washington. The Operations Division of the General Staff marked it for action by General Handy as head of OPD and for the information of General Marshall. A copy was promptly relayed to General Marshall who was then at Quebec, where the President and the Prime Minister were meeting with the CCS in the OCTAGON Conference, the first to be held after the Cairo and Tehran Conferences.122
The impact of Stilwell's 15 September radio on the President and the Army Chief of Staff was in all probability related to the trend of the discussions and the nature of the decisions at OCTAGON. When the CCS at past conferences had directed their attention to the problems of China, Burma, and India, they had had to resolve differences between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the British Chiefs of Staff as to the intrinsic worth and difficulties of operations in Burma to restore an overland line of communications to China. At the Washington Conference of May 1943 and the Cairo Conference of December 1943 the reluctance of the British Chiefs of Staff to undertake operations in Burma or to make a major commitment of British resources to any operations that might be undertaken seemed apparent to the Americans.123
But the smashing defeats inflicted on the Japanese in May, June, and July 1944 along the Indo-Burmese border and in north Burma were steadily altering the points of view among the British and Americans. Mountbatten pointed out to the British Chiefs of Staff that the British Fourteenth Army had been steadily exploiting the Japanese defeat, and in the pursuit was being led into executing the early phases of one of the then-projected plans for an ambitious operation against central Burma (CAPITAL). He pointed out that to halt pursuit
of a beaten enemy would be misunderstood.124 Then, on 1 September, the British Chiefs of Staff suggested to the CCS a plan earlier discussed between the British and American chiefs of staff. It proposed an airborne and amphibious assault on the port city of Rangoon (Operation DRACULA). Here was something much to the liking of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a very welcome compromise between the two differing points of view. It would minimize the amount of jungle fighting, cut the Japanese line of communications to Burma, and would be a long step toward reopening the prewar line of communications from Rangoon north; at the same time it would advance British forces toward Singapore, on whose capture Churchill placed such stress.125
Approval of DRACULA would necessitate a new directive to SEAC; in the drafting Marshall and Arnold stressed amending it to emphasize development of an overland line of communications to China, for they were most anxious to bring in trucks to relieve the general shortage of transport in China. With the CCS in such accord and with so hopeful an operation as DRACULA having been proposed by the British Chiefs of Staff, a new directive to Mountbatten was speedily agreed to on 14 September. Marshall promptly informed Stilwell of its substance. Mountbatten was told that recapture of Burma at the earliest date was his primary objective. Security of the airline to China, including Myitkyina, and opening of the land line of communications across north Burma were not to be prejudiced by operations to retake Burma. DRACULA and those portions of CAPITAL needed to secure the air and land route to China were approved. Vigorous prosecution of DRACULA and CAPITAL, with a target date of 15 March 1945, was considered of the utmost importance.126
Into this situation of full agreement between the British and Joint Chiefs of Staff on operations to retake Burma was now injected on the 15th the Generalissimo's desire to withdraw his forces across the Salween and end the campaign in north Burma, completely upsetting the CCS strategy for Burma. Marshall's current attitude was perhaps indicated by a promise he made on the 16th to consider sending two U.S. divisions to Burma, an action which would mark a great departure from the past policy of avoiding a major U.S. troop commitment in Southeast Asia. A reply from the President to the Generalissimo was immediately prepared and sent to OPD for dispatch to Headquarters, CBI Theater.
On 16 September, the President and the Prime Minister discussed the final report of the CCS with its authors. The situation in Europe and the Pacific appeared as a bright background that might be taken as vindicating the soundness of earlier planning. On 11 September both U.S. and Russian troops had
begun operations on German soil, and on the 15th the U.S. Marines had gone ashore in the Palau Islands, within easy striking distance of the Philippines.
In their final report, the CCS agreed to define the over-all objective in the war against Japan as forcing Japan's unconditional surrender by lowering Japanese will to resist through blockade and bombardment and ultimate invasion. The CCS agreed to stress naval and air action and to avoid where possible any commitment to costly land campaigns. Both B-29 and tactical air operations would continue in China Theater, pursuant to which "the operations in the Pacific Theater are being conducted to effect the reconquest of the Philippines and the opening of a seaway to China." Indeed, at OCTAGON, the decision was reached to advance the timetable of operations against Japan and to initiate landing operations in the Philippines in late October 1944. Manifestly, American operations per se in China would continue to be in support of the main advance across the Pacific.127
After the discussion of operations against Japan, the problem raised by the Generalissimo's desire to withdraw the Y-Force from the Burma campaign was brought before the CCS, the President, and the Prime Minister. The CCS minutes state:
At the President's request, General Marshall outlined certain developments with regard to the Chinese forces. The Generalissimo contemplated withdrawing the "Y" Force across the Salween unless General Stilwell advanced on Bhamo with the Ledo Force. No replacements had been provided for the Salween Force, which had now dwindled to 14,000 men. A note had been sent by the President to the Generalissimo pointing out the consequences of the proposed action and stating that the Generalissimo must accept full responsibility therefor.128
Arriving in OPD from the OCTAGON Conference, the President's radio caused an immediate discussion of whether in the course of normal message-center procedure in Chungking Stilwell would see the contents of the President's note before delivering it to the Generalissimo. General Handy was most anxious that Stilwell read the message. There was no discussion of the circumstance that the President had Hurley in Chungking as a personal representative who might reasonably be expected to undertake such tasks, for only a week before Stilwell had been called on to deliver a Presidential note asking the Chinese to send General MacArthur 50,000 labor troops.129 The discussion assumed that Stilwell would deliver the note in person: the only point at issue was whether he would have a chance to read it before delivering it. Col. Lawrence J. Lincoln, Chief of the Asiatic Section of the Theater Group, OPD, checked the issue with the War Department signal center and was told that either Stilwell or one of his staff would see the message before it was delivered to the Generalissimo. So Colonel Lincoln wrote to Maj. Gen. John E. Hull:
"In view of the above, recommend no further action be taken. An acknowledgment of this message and statement from General Stilwell that he has delivered it to CKS should be received here within forty-eight (48) hours (1653Z, 18 September 1944)."130
The President's message itself was, in rough form, a typescript draft prepared by the OPD team at OCTAGON, with penciled changes in General Marshall's hand. Neatly retyped, a copy was sent to Mr. Stimson with the attached note from General Handy dated 18 September: "General Marshall wanted you to see the attached message which the President sent to the Generalissimo on September the 16th. It was in effect an answer to General Stilwell's 'eyes alone' message of the 15th of September."131
OPD also sent a message to Stilwell, telling him that the President's note would be "in effect an answer to your CFB 22638 of 15 September."132
After taking Changsha with ease, the Japanese were stalled by a valiant defense of Heng-yang. While the city was still under siege, Stilwell was warned that the Chinese commanders in that area were contemplating revolt. At this point, Chennault urged that his Hump tonnage be cut to fly arms to these same Chinese commanders. Stilwell refused. Heng-yang fell, and Chinese claiming to represent powerful and disaffected elements made overtures for American support. Stilwell adhered to his policy of not intervening in Chinese domestic politics, and contented himself with following the situation closely.
Returning from the Pacific, President Roosevelt turned his attention to China and sent Hurley to China to negotiate the transfer of command. The Generalissimo said he would give Stilwell command, and the complicated question of defining that command was then taken up. While attempts were being made to clarify Stilwell's proposed status and as Stilwell was growing ever more suspicious that he was to be simply "an over-all stooge" for the Generalissimo, a setback on the Burma Road made the Generalissimo threaten to withdraw his Yunnan force from the North Burma Campaign. Stilwell was appalled and reported as much to Marshall.
Stilwell's message reached the President and Marshall at the OCTAGON Conference. The President approved a reply, and it was sent to Stilwell for delivery. The contents of the note, and the Generalissimo's reception of it, would greatly influence the future course of Sino-American relations.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (10) * Next Chapter (12)
1. (1) Japanese Study 78. (2) Rad CFB 19107, Ferris to Stilwell, 25 Jun 44. Item 2651, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
2. Japanese Officers' Comments, Incl 2, Hata; Incl 9, Maj Kanetoshi Mashida.
4. (1) Japanese Officers' Comments, Incl 7, Col Takeharu Shimanuki. (2) Japanese Study 129, pp. 42-43. (3) Japanese Study 130, pp. 3-8. (4) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 296, (5) G-3 Rpt 6, 2-8 Jul 44. Z-FOS G-3 File, KCRC.
5. (1) Fourteenth AF History, p. 439. (2) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 299. (3) Japanese Studies 78, 129.
6. (1) Thanks to the interchangeability of U.S. 75-mm. shells, ammunition for the 75-mm. gun M4 mounted in a few of Vincent's B-25's could be used in Fong's old French 75's, a type the U.S. Army had used as the 75-mm. gun, M1897. Interv with Dr. Constance Green, Ordnance Sec, OCMH, 15 Aug 51. (2) That Vincent dropped .50-caliber ammunition strongly suggests General Fong had some U.S. lend-lease .50-caliber machine guns. No other nation made them; the ammunition could not have been used in another piece. Chennault, Way of a Fighter, page 300, describes the air supply, but charges on page 306 that Fong received no lend-lease aid. As noted above, page 372, the manuscript Campaign of Southeastern China states that Fong was supported by a battalion of U.S.-equipped artillery. The apparent contradiction may reflect nothing more than the fact that Headquarters, Fourteenth Air Force, was not always kept informed on Stilwell's several major projects.
7. (1) Japanese Studies 78, 129. (2) Fourteenth AF History, p. 435.
8. Japanese Study 78.
9. Rad CFB 20147, Hearn to Stilwell, 20 Jul 44. Item 2701, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
10. Rad CCA 71, Lindsey to Hearn, 21 Jul 44. Item 2703, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
11. (1) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. VII. (2) Rad CHC 3019, Stilwell to Hearn, 22 Jul 44. Item 2704, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
12. Rad CFB 20274, Hearn to Sultan, 23 Jul 44. Item 2705, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
13. (1) Rad CAK 5180, Chennault to Stilwell, 20 Jul 44; Rad CHC 3023, Stilwell to Chennault, 23 Jul 44. The Chennault-Wedemeyer Letter, Items 53, 54. (2) Compare the text of radio CHC 3023 with Chennault, Way of a Fighter, lines 10 and 11 on page 300.
14. (1) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. IX. (2) Rad CFB 20318, Hearn to Lindsey and Chennault, info Stilwell and Sultan, 24 Jul 44. Item 2710, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. The message form shows that Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Timberman wrote it for Hearn's signature.
15. Stilwell's copy is in SNF 121.
16. (1) Memo, Heavey for Lindsey, 30 Jul 44. AG (Z-FOS) 210.684. (2) G-3 Per Rpt 9, 23-30 Jul 44. Z-FOS G-3 File, KCRC.
17. Memo, Heavey for CofS, Z-FOS, 10 Aug 44. AG (Z-FOS) 210.684.
18. Memo, Col Albert G. Stackpole, CO TIG, 62d Army, for CofS, Z-FOS, 31 Jul 44. AG (Z-FOS) 210.684.
19. (1) G-3 Per Rpts 8 and 9, 16 and 30 Jul 44. Z-FOS G-3 File, KCRC. (2) Fourteenth AF History, pp. 444-45. (3) Japanese Study 78. (4) Campaign in Southeastern China, p. 3.
20. Fourteenth AF History, p. 446.
21. (1) Japanese Study 72, p. 135. (2) IGH Army Order 1050, 4 Jul 44. (3) See pp. 362-64, above.
22. (1) Japanese Study 6. (2) Japanese Study 72, p. 148. (3) Roy E. Appleman, James M. Burns, Russell A. Gugeler, and John Stevens, Okinawa: The Last Battle, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1948), p. 85.
23. Japanese Officers' Comments, p. 34. The Japanese staff, Historical Section, Far East Command, explicitly rejected a suggestion by the authors that opening a land line of communications to the south was contemplated by Imperial General Headquarters.
24. Japanese Studies 78, 129, and 130.
25. Japanese Officers' Comments, App. 8, Col Imoto Kumao.
26. (1) Rad CCA 205, Arthur R. Ringwalt, U.S. Consul, to Hearn, info American Embassy, sgd Lindsey, 9 Aug 44. Item 2718, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. (2) Graham Peck, Two Kinds of Time (Boston, 1950), pages 578-80, has a summary of the Li Chi-shen affair, which suggests it must have been fairly common knowledge in Kweilin at the time.
27. (1) Stilwell Diary, 10 Aug 44. (2) Rad TST 592, Stilwell to Hearn, 10 Aug 44. Item 2722, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
28. Rad CFB 20964, Hearn to Lindsey, 9 Aug 44. Item 2720, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
29. (1) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. VIII. (2) Rad TST 591, Stilwell to Hearn, info Sultan, 10 Aug 44. Item 2721, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. The statement that "we now have a big stake in this business" probably refers to the pending command question.
30. Rad TST 601, Stilwell to Hearn, 10 Aug 44. Item 2723, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
31. History of China Theater, Ch. II, The Political Scene in China, pp. 4, 8, citing, Rpt, Ringwalt, 10 Aug 44. OCMH.
32. Japanese Officers' Comments, Incls 2, 3, Hata, Okamura.
33. Rad CFB 20970, Hearn to Lindsey, info Stilwell and Sultan, 10 Aug 44. Item 2724, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. For text of Rad CCA 205, see p. 408, above.
34. Rad CFB 21023, Hearn to Stilwell, 11 Aug 44. Item 2726, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. Hearn was keeping in close touch with Gauss and was relaying Gauss's point of view.
35. Rad CFB 21092, Hearn to Stilwell and Sultan, 12 Aug 44. Item 2733, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. In writing the radio Hearn was careful not to betray his source.
36. CM-IN 8690, Stilwell to Marshall, 10 Aug 44.
37. CM-IN 12022, Stilwell to Marshall, 13 Aug 44.
38. Rad CCA 229, Timberman to Stilwell and Hearn, sgd Lindsey, 12 Aug 44. Item 2734, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
39. Memo, Hearn for Gauss, 15 Aug 44. This is a paraphrase of Timberman's last paragraph which read: "If Li does take over out here, it will probably be bloodless as all partners to the crime (who have the troops) are running things as they please now. Such a local coup might conceivably have beneficial effect on CKS particularly as he no doubt will know U.S. has been following same. However, the potential of this group from overall point of view is so small it does not warrant that U.S. go beyond maintaining constant touch with the movement." See Rad CCA 245, Timberman to Hearn, sgd Lindsey, 14 Aug 44. Item 2739, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
40. Rad CCA 251, Timberman to Hearn, Stilwell, and Sultan, 15 Aug 44. Item 2742, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
41. Memo, Hearn for Gauss, 17 Aug 44. Item 2745, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
42. Rad CAK 6394, Chennault to Hearn, 17 Aug 44. Item 2753, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
43. Rad TST 765, Stilwell to Hearn, info Sultan, 21 Aug 44. Item 2756, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
44. (1) Rad CFB 21565, Hearn to Chennault, info Sultan and Merrill for Stilwell, 23 Aug 44. Item 2763, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. This radio was drafted by Timberman. (2) Compare the text above with Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 301.
45. The question of the quantity of munitions China itself produced for the forces of the Chinese Nationalist Government during the China Incident, the Pacific war of 1941-45, and the subsequent Chinese civil war has been the subject of intense discussion. In the first volume of this series, Stilwell's Mission to China, the authors, in commenting on one aspect of the problem--munitions production in Chinese arsenals in 1941--expressed the conclusion that the output of Chinese arsenals was a trickle. This opinion was based on the reports of the Magruder mission to China, in the fall of 1941.
As part of the program of lend-lease to China, nonferrous metals were flown into that country over the Hump. Possibly reflecting that effort, or perhaps other factors, Chinese arms production from the date of the lend-lease program to June of 1945 was a considerable national achievement in view of the difficulties that confronted the Chinese arsenals.
A systematic survey of Chinese industry was made by an American economic mission under Donald M. Nelson, in 1944-45. Working with Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces in China, under Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, the Nelson mission obtained data which General Wedemeyer used as the base of his programs. These figures on Chinese arsenal production, March 1941-June 1945, suggest that the Chinese themselves, had the situation between the central government and the east China commanders permitted, could have made a greater contribution to the defense of the east China airfields:
Rifles 263,735 Light machine guns 33,076 Heavy machine guns 11,642 60-mm. mortars 5,150 82-mm. mortars 5,242 7.92-mm. ammunition 609,000,000 60-mm. ammunition 1,110,000 82-mm. ammunition 2,650,000 Hand grenades 16,620,000
These figures cover a period beyond August 1944, but there is no reason to believe production increased substantially after that date. The sharp increase in Hump tonnage which began in August 1944 was used to support the U.S. forces in China.
Hq U.S. Army Forces, China Theater, Historical Summary of Activities in G-5 Section, MS, 15 Dec 45, p. 3. OCMH.
46. Memo, Generalissimo for President, 23 Jul 44, with Covering Ltr, Kung to President, 15 Aug 44. Bk IX, Hopkins Papers.
47. Telg 3, Generalissimo to Kung, 23 Jul 44. Item 5, Bk 1, Hurley Papers.
48. (1) Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), p. 536. (2) See Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. X.
49. For the text of the Declaration, see Motter, The Persian Corridor and Aid to Russia, page 444.
50. (1) Interv with Hurley, Jan 49. (2) Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 538.
51. CM-OUT 75342, Marshall to Stilwell, 4 Aug 44.
52. CM-IN 3986, Stilwell to Marshall, 5 Aug 44. Stilwell's old Army nickname, dating back to his tour of duty at the Infantry School, was Vinegar Joe.
53. Rad WH 39, Roosevelt to Generalissimo, 9 Aug 44. Item 59, OPD Exec 10.
54. Bk IX, Hopkins Papers. Also see Sunderland notes on the Hopkins Papers. OCMH.
55. Memo, Marshall for President, 12 Aug 44, with Incl, Ltr, Generalissimo to Roosevelt, 12 Aug 44. China File (Hurley), Item 61, OPD Exec 10.
56. Memo, Hearn for Generalissimo, 23 Aug 44. Item 7, OKLAHOMA File, JWS Personal File. The original memorandum, initialed by Stimson and Marshall, and showing the two minor changes made by Roosevelt, is in China File (Hurley), Item 61, OPD Exec 10.
57. (1) Memo, President for Hurley, 17 Aug 44. Item 6, Bk 1, Hurley Papers. (2) See also a letter, Roosevelt to Chiang, 19 August 1944, which states: "[Hurley's] principal mission is to coordinate the whole military picture under you as Military Commander-in-Chief--you being, of course, the Commander-in-Chief of the whole area--to help to iron out any problems between you and General Stilwell who, of course, has problems of his own regarding the Burma campaign and is necessarily in close touch with Admiral Mountbatten." Elliott Roosevelt, ed., F.D.R.: His Personal Letters, 1928-1945 (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1950), II, 1530.
58. (1) CM-IN 6517, Hurley to Roosevelt, 8 Sep 44. (2) U.S. Department of State, United States Relations with China, pp. 549-60. (3) For the Generalissimo's apprehensions of Soviet intentions, see Chapter VIII, above.
59. (1) Interv with Hurley, Mar 50. (2) See Stilwell's Mission to China, Chs. IX and X, and Chs. I and II, above.
60. Sultan became a lieutenant general, AUS, on 2 September 1944.
61. Memo for Record, citing WAR 87083, JCS to Stilwell, 26 Aug 44. Case 557/5, 21 Nov 43, OPD 381 Security, A47-30.
62. (1) CM-OUT 89892, Handy (sgd Marshall) to Stilwell, 31 Aug 44. (2) See pp. 379-80, above.
63. Rad CRA 12616, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Sep 44. SNF 218.
64. CM-OUT 25105, Marshall to Stilwell, 4 Sep 44.
65. CM-IN 6882, Stilwell to Marshall, 8 Sep 44.
66. Memo of Conv, Hopkins with Davies, 4 Sep 44, Washington. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
67. See Stilwell's Mission to China, Chs. VIII and IX.
68. Memo of Conv cited n. 66.
69. (1) Msg cited n. 58(1). (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 314. (3) Rad CFB 21690, Hearn to Stilwell, 26 Aug 44. Item 2769, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
70. The Stilwell Papers, p. 314.
71. Stilwell Diary, 7 Sep 44.
72. (1) CM-IN 6498, Stilwell to Marshall, 7 Sep 44. (2) Msg cited n. 58(1).
73. Rad Kweilin 40356, Lindsey to Stilwell, 7 Sep 44. SNF 30.
74. Japanese Officers' Comments, p. 36.
75. (1) Y-FOS 1944 Hist Rpt. (2) Wood Report. (3) Japanese Studies 93, 148. (4) Japanese Officers' Comments, p. 37.
76. (1) Stilwell Diary, 8 Sep 44. (2) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. X. (3) Rad CFB 22988, Hurley to President, 23 Sep 44. China File (Hurley), Item 61, OPD Exec 10.
77. Rad cited n. 76(3).
78. (1) This brief note, in Stilwell's hand, is dated "12 Sept" in the upper right hand corner, and was in the command folder that Stilwell accumulated on the fall 1944 crisis. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) Stilwell Diary, 12 Sep 44.
79. JWS Misc Papers, 1944.
80. Note in Stilwell's hand, undated, in manila envelope with September 1944 papers. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. It seems safe to date this paper and the preceding as 12 or 13 September 1944 because earlier the Generalissimo was not sufficiently committed to Stilwell's assuming command to make it worth while for Stilwell to make such studies. On 13 September Stilwell flew to east China and was busy there for several days. On his return to Chungking he found the situation so completely changed that the papers he then wrote, which he dated, are entirely different from the earlier papers in subject, tone, and outlook.
81. One copy of this memorandum is Item 14, Book 1, Hurley Papers; the other is an unsigned memorandum, dated 13 September 1944, in type and Stilwell's hand, in the Stilwell Command File. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
82. Rads cited ns. 62(1) and 64.
83. Memo, Stilwell for Hurley, 13 Sep 44. Stilwell Command File, Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. General Hurley's copy is Item 16, Book 1, in the Hurley Papers.
84. Memo, Covell for Stilwell, 13 Sep 44, sub: SOS of Chinese Army, Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
85. Memo in Stilwell's hand, undated, in SNF 30. Because of the changed situation after Stilwell returned from Kweilin on 15 September this paper would appear to belong to the 12-13 September group.
86. Rad cited n. 76(3).
87. See Stilwell's Mission to China, Chs. IV, V, VII, X. The Generalissimo did answer two of Stilwell's 19 September 1943 memorandums on Army reform.
88. Rad CFB 22467, Stilwell to Marshall, 12 Sep 44. OKLAHOMA File, JWS Personal File.
89. U.S. Relations With China, pp. 549-60.
90. See pp. 381-83, 416-17, above.
91. Rad cited n. 64.
92. During the command crisis, John Davies was in the United States and was not in close touch with Stilwell prior to 17 October 1944. Service, though in China, was kept out of the picture by Stilwell, who confined knowledge of the September negotiations to himself and Hurley on the American side. There is no suggestion in the Stilwell papers that he discussed the negotiations with any of the other political advisers attached to the U.S. Army in China.
93. Rpt, Service, 28 Jul 44, sub: Conv with Gen Chou En-lai. Item 17, Sec III, Vol I, DIXIE Mission, OCMH.
94. Rpt 16, Service to Stilwell, 29 Aug 44, sub: Desirability of American Mil Aid to Chinese Communist Armies. Item 21, Sec III, Vol I, DIXIE Mission, OCMH.
95. (1) The War Department radios are discussed on pages 419-20, above. (2) The proposals to Hurley are on page 428, above.
96. Stilwell Diary, 13 Sep 44.
97. SUP 67. The grammatical construction of this fragment does not make it clear whether the Communists extended this assurance to Stilwell on 13 September, then made it public knowledge, or whether the assurance was given later and gratuitously to third parties.
98. Japanese Officers' Comments, Incl 2, Hata. The field marshal disparaged Communist operations against the Japanese, dismissing them by saying the "Chinese Communists merely resorted to guerrilla warfare and planned the expansion of the area under their influence and the weakening and disintegration of the Nationalist Forces through the war against Japan."
99. See Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. X, and Ch. I, above.
100. Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 12 Sep 44. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
101. (1) See p. 319, above. (2) Japanese Study 98.
102. Japanese Officers' Comments, Incl 2, Hata.
103. Fourteenth AF History, p. 463-A.
104. Year Book 1944 Covering Operations of Army Air Forces in India-Burma and China Theaters and Eastern Air Command, Statistics Compiled by 22d Statistical Control Unit. OCMH.
105. Japanese Study 130, p. 13.
106. The plan is the part of the diary entry of 14 September 1944 beginning with the word Orders and was submitted to the Generalissimo on 18 September 1944.
107. (1) Stilwell Diary, 14 Sep 44. (2) The loyalty to the Generalissimo of these commanders, notably Hsueh Yueh, seemed uncertain for many more months. See the Chennault-Wedemeyer radios on Hsueh Yueh's loyalty. Items 432-38, Bks 1 and 2, CG USFCT file 06104-B, CBIT 49-20, DRB AGO.
108. (1) Stilwell Diary, 14 Sep 44. (2) SUP 37. (3) Rad CFB 22638, Stilwell to Marshall, 15 Sep 44. Item 10, OKLAHOMA File, JWS Personal File.
109. Rad cited n. 108(3).
110. (1) Japanese Study 93. (2) Stilwell Diary, 17 Sep 44.
111. History of India-Burma Theater, 1944-1945, I, 90. OCMH. The NCAC field order, dated 10 October, set 15 October as D Day.
112. The Stilwell Papers, p. 331.
113. (1) Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 16 Sep 44. Item 24, Bk 1, Hurley Papers. The text was delivered orally to Soong at 1600 on 16 September. (2) A week later, Hurley reported to the President that Stilwell's "chief concern is to avoid having responsibility without adequate authority." Rad CFB 22988, Hurley to President, 23 Sep 44. Incl to Memo, Leahy for Marshall, 25 Sep 44. China File (Hurley), Item 61, OPD Exec 10.
114. See Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. X.
115. SUP 37, probably written 16 September, since it is a partly chronological account that stops after the conference of that date.
116. (1) Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 16 Sep 44. Item 24, Bk 1, Hurley Papers. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 331.
117. SUP 37.
118. Memo cited n. 116(1). (2) In his diary for 16 September, Stilwell wrote: "Gave T. V. the works in plain words. I do not want the God-awful job, but if I take it I must have full authority."
119. (1) SUP 37. (2) Apparently Hurley kept no minutes of this conversation.
120. (1) See Ch. V, above. (2) See Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. III.
121. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
122. Stilwell's radio was received by the War Department Classified Message Center as CM-IN 14328, 15 September 1944. OPD's message center received it at 1400 on 15 September and gave it limited distribution to the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD (Handy), to the Theater Group, to the Asiatic Section, to the Strategy and Policy Group, and to Message Center File. Handy's copy became Item 13 in the Stilwell Special Command File, Item 60, OPD Exec 10.
123. See Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. IX, and Ch. II, above.
124. Rad SEACOS 227, SACSEA to COS, 13 Sep 44. SEAC War Diary.
125. Rad SEACOS 266, 8 Sep 44. Papers and Minutes of Meetings, OCTAGON Conference, Office, U.S. Secretary of the CCS, 1944, p. 24.
126. (1) Min, 1st Plenary Mtg, The Citadel, Quebec, 13 Sep 44. (2) Min, CCS 174th Mtg, 14 Sep 44, Item 4. (3) For the Prime Minister's opposition to a large-scale campaign in the Burmese jungles, see Rad TOO 302330Z, Churchill to Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, JSM, 30 Mar 45. Case 615, OPD 452.1, A47-30. (4) Rad OCTAGON 27, Marshall to Stilwell, 15 Sep 44. Item 2818, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
127. (1) Min, 2d Plenary Mtg, Quebec, 16 Sep 44. (2) CCS 680/2, 16 Sep 44, sub: Rpt to President and Prime Minister. (3) Memo, Marshall for Dill, 22 Sep 44; Ltr, Dill to Marshall, 4 Oct 44. Folders 57, 66, OPD Exec 10.
128. Min, 2d Plenary Mtg, Quebec, 16 Sep 44, par. 26.
129. CM-IN 10219, Stilwell to Marshall, 11 Sep 44. See copy in Item 59, OPD Exec 10.
130. Memo, Lincoln for Hull, 17 Sep 44, with two incls, recorded telephone conv, Col George A. Lincoln and Col Kenneth W. Treacy, Exec Off, OPD, and copy of President's note. Item 59, OPD Exec 10.
131. (1) The rough draft is in Item 59, OPD Exec 10. (2) Memo, Handy for Stimson, with atchd Note, President to Generalissimo. Item 14, Stilwell Special Command File, Item 60, OPD Exec 10. Handy's copy of Stilwell's radio is Item 13.
132. Rad WAR 32330, Marshall to Stilwell, 18 Sep 44. Item 2841, Bk 8, JWS Personal File. For the text of CFB 22638, see pp. 435-36, above.