SEXTANT: The Watershed
At the Casablanca, TRIDENT, and QUADRANT Conferences a strategy whose successful execution would break the blockade of China had been roughly shaped. Pledges had been given to the Chinese, notably that of TRIDENT: "No limits, except those imposed by time and circumstance, will be placed on the above operations, which have for their object the relief of the siege of China." This statement had followed on a Chinese threat to seek a separate peace. There was another question: how long could China survive blockade? Stilwell, Chennault, the President, the Prime Minister, all agreed at TRIDENT that China must have aid soon. Another powerful influence in shaping Allied strategy had been the President's wish that China be treated as a Great Power, that it join in the councils of the Great Powers as an equal.
To complete Allied plans for the relief of China, the President arranged for the Generalissimo to meet with him and Mr. Churchill at Cairo in November 1943. Then and there the threads would be drawn together. The Generalissimo would confer with his colleagues; the final details would be added to the plan for China's relief; the dignitaries would approve it; and a CCS directive to SEAC would be issued. The Cairo Conference was the high point, the watershed, that divided Sino-American relations. After Cairo, the currents flowed in a very different direction.
Drafting SEAC's Proposals
When Admiral Mountbatten on 1 November 1943 formally opened his headquarters as Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia Command, one of his first tasks was to prepare a plan to submit to his superiors, who if approving it would provide the necessary additional resources, landing craft, principally. To play his part in this planning was Stilwell's first duty on leaving Chungking for India in October 1943. Independently, Mountbatten and Stilwell had come to similar conclusions on the preliminary studies prepared by General Headquarters (India) in the last phases of that body's concern with Burma operations. When General Auchinleck in September 1943 proffered a plan calling for the now-familiar converging attacks on Burma from Yunnan, Ledo, Assam, and the Arakan, Stilwell had been critical. The scheduling of the proposed several drives upset him, for he found them so separate in time as to open the prospect
of the Allies' being defeated in detail. And he added: "I understood the orders to call for 'vigorous and aggressive action' and I don't find a hell of a lot of it in the plan. However, we will proceed as indicated and perhaps our doubts will be resolved when Admiral Mountbatten arrives."1
After examining the same plans Mountbatten, too, was critical, but where Stilwell was characteristically blunt, Mountbatten was urbane: "There is also no doubt that the climate and the antiquated and close methods used in India have their effect on the keenness of officers after a year or two and so I have found that the plans made by the Indian Staff are somewhat pessimistic and unenterprising."2
When the work of preparing SEAC's proposals to the CCS, the President, the Prime Minister, and the Generalissimo began, Stilwell submitted his views as did General Headquarters (India) and the local combined planners.3
The proposals and decisions that began to form fell into two categories, those for the first phases which SEAC could execute with its own resources, and those which needed approval and support by higher authority. Almost immediately Stilwell received his orders and approval of the opening phases of ALBACORE THREE, which called for him to establish a bridgehead over the Tanai. As for the Arakan, the SEAC minutes state that General Giffard was not satisfied with the safety of Chittagong while his troops held their current positions, so he proposed that they make a twenty-mile advance to secure the Buthidaung-Maungdaw road. (See Map 1.)
Neither Admiral Mountbatten nor General Slim was content with this modest contribution. General Giffard according to the minutes "agreed that it was mainly a defensive move." So Giffard's orders were changed to call for the exploitation of any success, with Akyab the objective. It was further agreed in SEAC that whatever the ultimate objective in Burma, 4 Corps, on the central front, at some time would be obliged to advance through the noxious and malarial Kabaw Valley. The Arakan advance might begin the second week of January 1944; 4 Corps and the Chinese forces in Yunnan (Y-Force) would move out in early March; and any airborne operation would be in mid-March.4 It is notable that Stilwell was thus directed to advance into hostile territory as part of a larger operation whose objectives had not been defined and whose resources were not at hand. However, none doubted that all would be provided in due time.
Of the three courses seen as open to 4 Corps and the air-supplied light infantry of the British Long-Range Penetration Groups (LRPG's or Chindits),
the SEAC planners under General Wedemeyer, SEAC's deputy chief of staff, preferred TOREADOR, an airborne landing by two divisions in central Burma. If successful in the operation's first phases, the divisions would exploit toward Mandalay. The other alternatives considered were: (1) an overland advance toward Ye-u; (2) TARZAN, an airborne landing at Indaw on the railway to Myitkyina, a drive by the Ledo force on Myitkyina, and a bridgehead over the Chindwin to be established by 4 Corps.
Observing the drift of the planning, Stilwell grew concerned and prepared a critique on 27 October 1943 which he submitted on 3 November.5 The critique stated that all SEAC plans to date had been closely based on estimates of the logistic situation, that they had been "permeated by fear of failure or reluctance to take the bold course." Singling out TARZAN, which Mountbatten appeared to prefer, Stilwell remarked (giving an incorrect figure) that the operation comprised 80,000 troops in the Arakan,6 limited to advancing on Akyab, with nothing further contemplated; an advance from Imphal to the Chindwin River; placing a division on the railway to Myitkyina and leaving it there; an amphibious operation against the Andaman Islands, which he thought had "no immediate bearing on the main problem"; Stilwell's Chinese forces, "left to their own resources to effect a junction and open the Burma Road."
Stilwell believed that if Akyab was taken, this victory should be exploited by a series of amphibious hooks down the coast aimed at the port of Bassein. Success would give bases from which to dominate Japanese aviation in south Burma. In central Burma, he suggested a two-pronged operation aimed at Mandalay. "The Indaw operations should be cancelled." His Chinese forces would do their best in conjunction with the above. Stilwell stated:
With the large air and naval units to be committed, nothing less than the above is justified. Nothing less than this is either bold or aggressive. Nothing less takes complete advantage of our position for concentric attacks. Nothing less threatens the enemy with serious loss.
I take exception to any trend in the planning which fails to use to advantage our overwhelming strength, to any tendency towards vagueness in objectives, to any move which does not absolutely require a strong enemy reaction to check it.
Under present plans, Burma could [Stilwell's italics] be ready to fall to a vigorous attack, and for lack of trying, we might not even find this out. In other words, we are not even making a reconnaissance in force, let alone a serious attack.7
TARZAN, the plan for SEAC's share in the campaign, was nevertheless adopted by SEAC on 7 November. Behind the decision lay Mountbatten's announced desire for a guaranteed victory, his admission that he would choose the less desirable course if it promised success. TARZAN was urged by General Headquarters (India) and by Mountbatten's three commanders in chief, General Giffard, Admiral Sir James Somerville, and Air Chief Marshal Sir
Richard Peirse. General Wedemeyer commented that TARZAN would not accomplish the objectives given to SEAC in its directive. Representatives of CBI Theater headquarters at SEAC were equally critical. Even if all went well, they remarked, the monsoon rains would find SEAC having only a bridgehead over the Chindwin and an airborne division mired on the railway to Myitkyina. This seemed little to show for a season's fighting. The only consolations were that the dropping of an airborne division in Burma might open opportunities and that SEAC agreed to study operations in Burma to follow TARZAN. From the discussions that accompanied the adoption of TARZAN, CBI Theater liaison personnel received the impression that Giffard, Somerville, and Peirse were not aggressively inclined, placed no value on operations in Burma, and had staffs who were too impressed by logistical difficulties and indifferent to what might be done to improve the logistical situation. But, TARZAN it was, and the SEAC secretariat began to prepare the papers on it and on the over-all plan for Burma, now called CHAMPION, for submission to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the President, the Prime Minister, and the Generalissimo.8 (See Map 2.)
The United States Prepares for the SEXTANT Conference
The President's diplomatic preparations for a meeting with the Generalissimo, the Prime Minister, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff had been under way since the TRIDENT Conference in Washington, May 1943. In June Mr. Roosevelt told the Generalissimo of his anxiety to meet him, and a discussion of times and places followed at once. Originally, the meeting was to have been of just the two statesmen, and the Generalissimo suggested Alaska in August or September. The course of events made the President feel ever more strongly that he should meet with Marshal Joseph V. Stalin and, of course, Mr. Churchill, and so the President began to consider co-ordinating the two meetings.
The foreign ministers' conference at Moscow in October marked further progress toward the President's goal of having China accepted as a Great Power, for Great Britain and the Soviet Union agreed to China's signing a Four Power Declaration. This agreement greatly pleased Roosevelt, who told the Generalissimo that the ice had been broken, that he and the Chinese statesman had now established the principle of China's Great Power position. To arrange a meeting between the several statesmen remained, and from this innocent circumstance the Chinese insistence on making or keeping face under any and all conditions led to great consequences. In so many words, the Generalissimo insisted on seeing Mr. Roosevelt before the latter saw Marshal Stalin, or else postponing the meeting indefinitely. Roosevelt agreed, and Brig. Gen. Patrick
J. Hurley, who acted as the President's personal representative in the Middle East, was sent to Chungking to arrange the details.9 Thus, the Generalissimo sacrificed the strategic advantage of having the last word with the President.
Even as the next meeting (SEXTANT) of the Allied statesmen was being convened, significant trends in U.S. strategy were depreciating China's importance as an ally against Japan. The increasing strength of the U.S. Navy's fast carrier task forces and the realization of the B-29's potentialities were leading the lower echelons of U.S. planners to an awareness that Japan could be defeated without a major U.S. land campaign in China. In summer 1943 the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided to use the fast carrier task forces and amphibious troops against the Japanese positions in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. The Gilberts were to be attacked in November 1943, the Marshalls, in January 1944.10 The decision to initiate action in the Central Pacific did not, of course, by itself change China's role in the evolving strategy of the United States, but the more the fast carrier task forces prospered in their advance across the Pacific, the more islands that fell into U.S. possession, the less need there would be to seek the Generalissimo's co-operation. The means for a major thrust across the Central Pacific were coming to hand and so was the realization of China's diminishing strategic importance.
The Operations Division observed:
Despite the agreements that the United Nations should direct their principal offensive efforts against Germany and contain the Japanese by a series of relatively minor thrusts, it is becoming increasingly apparent that operations against the Japanese are approaching major proportions. Plans for the defeat of Japan are not yet firm. However, the degree of success enjoyed thus far is indicative of the need of a short-term plan for operations against Japan "upon Germany's defeat" with principal emphasis on approach from the Pacific rather than from the Asiatic mainland.11
The QUADRANT Conference, Quebec, August 1943, ordered the combined staffs to prepare a "short plan for the defeat of Japan." The planners complied on 25 October 1943. They suggested four broad possible courses of action, all of them bypassing the mainland of China. For operations in China, the Combined (i.e., Anglo-American) Staff Planners suggested only an eventual limited B-29 offensive supported through north Burma by a line of communications that would also be called on to support the Fourteenth Air Force and the re-equipping of the Chinese Army.
Of the four proposed courses, the recommended one included taking
Formosa in spring 1945, while retaining the option of taking Sumatra in spring or autumn 1945 if the Formosa operation had to be postponed. The planners concluded there was no prospect of defeating Japan by October 1945. The Central Pacific course of action included capture of the Marshall, Caroline (Truk area), Palau, and Mariana Islands. If Truk was bypassed, the advance might reach the Marianas in July 1944; Truk, in November 1944; and the Palaus, by early 1945. It was recognized that good bomber fields could be built in the Marianas.
The recommendation to the Combined Chiefs noted that in response to the Air Plan for the Defeat of Japan CBI Theater had suggested basing eight B-29 groups at Calcutta and staging them through Cheng-tu. The Combined Staff Planners had not weighed this proposal in detail but thought it might well be feasible. Their own plan called for sending 2,000 B-24's to India immediately after Germany's defeat and with them flying supplies to China to begin preparations for the reception of B-29's en masse.12
With the CCS advisers thinking of a major effort through the Pacific and of bypassing China, criticism of existing strategy for the mainland of Asia developed. As defined by the Strategy Section of the Operations Division (OPD), the current plan called for keeping China in the war as an effective ally in order to use Chinese bases to bomb the Japanese islands. A great converging attack from east and west was contemplated, to open the Hong Kong-Canton area as a base from which to launch a drive that would open a line of communications to the North China Plain. This strategy seemed defective because it was not co-ordinated with the major effort being planned for the Pacific, which included bombing Japan from the Mariana Islands in January 1945 and launching the final air and amphibious assault on the Japanese homeland not later than mid-1946. The plan of securing Chinese bases seemed too costly in men and matériel for the advantages it would yield, mainly, the chance to bomb Japan. Using Chinese bases to the fullest extent would probably require the conquest of all Burma in order to reopen the line of communications from Rangoon northward. The Strategy Section, OPD, considered that the situation in Asia, despite all earlier efforts, continued to be bad. China was still an ineffective ally, and Indian forces could not mount a major offensive. The Assam line of communications was still no better. Japan was improving her defensive position, while current U.S. strategy in Asia called for no effective blow at Japan proper before 1946.
Therefore, the Strategy Section of OPD recommended that the present approved undertakings to keep China in the war as an effective ally be fulfilled; that a limited bomber offensive from China be mounted as insurance for the Pacific effort; that no further commitments be made to CBI Theater; and that no more than thirty Chinese divisions be trained and equipped, plus three more divisional sets of equipment to be used in beginning the training of the Second
Thirty Divisions in east China. The report was innocent of diplomatic considerations; its thought was that the goal of the Pacific war was the military defeat of Japan.13
The next voices raised were those of the members of the Joint Strategic Survey Committee (JSSC), placing their views before the JCS on the eve of SEXTANT. A small group of distinguished senior officers, taking the broad detached view, they spoke with the weight of long experience. Though they were in general agreement with the QUADRANT decisions, they did think these should be reappraised in the light of the recent studies of the problem of speeding Japan's defeat, which had shown the great importance of taking the Marianas as bases for the B-29's. The JSSC stated:
We feel that without depreciating the importance of the effort against Japan by way of China, the key to the early defeat of Japan lies in all-out operations through the Central Pacific with supporting operations on the Northern and Southern flanks, using all forces, naval, air, and ground, that can be maintained and employed profitably in these areas. We believe that this principle and the related principle that operations from the West (via Singapore) would be of a diversionary nature have not been sufficiently recognized and emphasized.14
Therefore, by the time the SEXTANT Conference met, important agencies among the United States' planners were counseling a reappraisal of the United States strategy. Had the Chinese been zealous and industrious in preparations for a campaign in Burma, had they accepted and carried out Stilwell's suggestions for a potent Chinese Army of sixty divisions, and had the Generalissimo in March 1943, against whatever odds, crossed the Salween River into Burma, the United States would have been morally obligated to support the Chinese in projects it had persuaded them to undertake. Nor could India Command have held back if Chinese troops tried to liberate a major portion of the Commonwealth. But the Chinese had not thought in those terms, the months had gone past, and now American planners were beginning to conclude that they could defeat Japan without Chinese bases and without a rejuvenated Chinese Army. The recommendations which the Strategy Section of OPD made to arm thirty-three Chinese divisions, in November 1943, complemented the conclusions that Stilwell had reached one month before. Stilwell's superiors were quietly discarding the mission they had given him in February 1942, "to assist in improving the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army"; by implication, other tasks would be forthcoming.15
The U.S. advance across the Central Pacific began 20 November when U.S. forces landed in the Gilberts group. After seventy-two hours of fighting, some of it of the most desperate nature, the Marines had their objective. American sea power had taken a giant stride closer toward Japan.
The Chinese Prepare for SEXTANT
Having expressed his opinions on the proposed plan for SEAC's share in Burma operations, Stilwell left his liaison personnel to participate in the final discussions and returned to Chungking to inform the Generalissimo of the trend of SEAC's thinking and to prepare with him for the forthcoming meeting between the President and the Generalissimo. The Generalissimo was markedly pleasant and co-operative. After the events of October Stilwell was extremely skeptical of the Generalissimo's sincerity, but work must be done before the forthcoming conference, and Stilwell applied himself to it.16
At the suggestion of his friends, Mesdames Chiang Kai-shek and H. H. Kung, Stilwell, as Joint Chief of Staff, China Theater, on 5 November 1943 prepared and submitted a report to the Generalissimo on SEAC planning and Y-Force's progress in its preparations to attack from Yunnan. Telling the Generalissimo that no final SEAC plans had been made, Stilwell pointed out that "it is certain" the Chinese would be expected to make a converging attack from Assam and Yunnan into north Burma. "If for any reason the Y-force does not attack, the British [military] will have an excellent argument for giving up any plans for reopening communications with China. They have contended that the Chinese army is incapable of fighting and that there is no use in trying to build it up; failure to fight now will tend to prove them right. . . ." Then Stilwell explained why the Y-Force was not ready:
The long delay in furnishing replacements has left all divisions far below strength. . . .
The training has not yet reached the bulk of the men. . . .
The equipment brought in from India has not been distributed. There has been trouble in getting the Chinese supply agencies to take this equipment, and unusual delay in getting it into the hands of the troops. Some divisions are so weak that they cannot take care of their quota.
The majority of the men are physically incapable of sustaining prolonged hardship. . . .
The high-ranking officers generally have no offensive spirit. . . .
Insufficient trucks and animals have been provided. [Stilwell asked that the Generalissimo issue the necessary corrective orders in the most forceful manner, and closed by warning that] It is too late already for half measures, or further delays; where a few months ago corrective measures could have been taken in an orderly manner, it is now too late for any but the most drastic and thorough-going action.17
The Generalissimo took this candor in good part. He promised 50,000 replacements to bring the Y-Force up to strength, plus extra rations to meet the problem of malnutrition. The Chinese leader's cordiality was marked.18 It
extended to Stilwell's suggestions for the Chinese proposals to be offered at SEXTANT. Possibly Stilwell hoped that if the Chinese leader offered such a program to the President and the Prime Minister, the Generalissimo himself would be obliged to adhere to it. And, faithful to the "bargaining" policy that he always wanted to follow, Stilwell spelled out what China should expect of her Allies if she did her part.
MEMORANDUM: His Excellency, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek
PROPOSALS FOR COMING CONFERENCE
The Generalissimo's program is to bring up to effective strength, equip, and train 90 combat divisions, in 3 groups of thirty each, and 1 or 2 armored divisions.
The first group consists of the divisions in India, and those assigned to the Y-force in Yunnan Province. These divisions should be at full strength by January 1, and by that date satisfactorily equipped. . . .
The second group of thirty divisions has been designated [note that these are suggested proposals to be adopted by the Generalissimo, not a recital of accomplished facts] and a school has been set up. . . . With a road to India open, [the second thirty divisions] should be re-equipped and ready for the field in August of 1944.
A similar process will be followed with the third group of 30 divisions with target date of January 1, 1945. After the reopening of communications through Burma, 1 or 2 armored divisions will be organized.
All resources available in China will be used to produce effective combat units. Trained men of existing units will be made available as fillers.
China will participate according to the agreed plan in the recapture of Burma by attacks from Ledo with the X-force [Ledo force] and from Paoshan with the Yunnan force. This operation will be supported by naval action in the Bay of Bengal. Before the operation, British naval forces should be concentrated in time and fully prepared for action.
The training program will be followed and intensified.
Necessary airfields will be built and maintained.
In the event that communications are reopened through Burma and necessary equipment is supplied, an operation will be conducted to seize the Canton-Hongkong area and open communication by sea.
The Generalissimo expects that:
Before the 1944 rainy season an all-out effort will be made by the Allies to re-open communications through Burma to China, using land, air, and naval forces.
The U.S.A. will supply the equipment for the three groups of 30 divisions, and the armored divisions.
The Fourteenth U.S. Air Force will be maintained as agreed and supplied sufficiently to allow of sustained operations.
The Chinese Air Force will be built up promptly to 2 groups of fighters, 1 group of medium bombers, 1 reconnaissance squadron, and 1 transport squadron, and maintained at that strength. By August of 1944 a third group of fighters, and a group of heavy bombardment will be added and maintained thereafter.
Following the seizure of the Canton-Hongkong area, the U.S. will put 10 infantry divisions, 3 armored divisions and appropriate auxiliary units into South China for operations against Central and North China. Contingent upon this allocation of troops, the Generalissimo will appoint American command of those units of the combined U.S. Chinese [sic] forces which are designated in the order of battle, under his general direction.
The U.S. will, at the earliest practicable time, put long-range bombing units in China to operate against the Japanese mainland.
The ferry route will be maintained at a capacity of at least 10,000 tons a month.
Training personnel will be supplied as required.
Medical personnel will be supplied for the second and third groups of divisions.
For the Generalissimo,
JOSEPH W. STILWELL,
Joint Chief of Staff for Generalissimo.19
Stilwell thus proposed that the Generalissimo ask the United States to train and equip no less than ninety Chinese divisions. So imposing a force would dominate Asia south of the Amur River. Only the Red Army in Siberia could have faced it, and even then, the issue would have been uncertain. The Generalissimo was apparently favorably impressed by Stilwell's suggestions, for many of them were offered on behalf of China at the SEXTANT Conference.20
Confirming the Generalissimo's cordiality, Madame Chiang telephoned Stilwell that night. She told the American general that the Generalissimo was "not only pleased but happy," over his conference with Stilwell.21 On 7 November Stilwell saw the Chinese Chief of Staff, Gen. Ho Ying-chin, who was not encouraging about replacements, but presumably General Ho had not yet received orders from the Generalissimo.22
Four days later, on 11 November, General Stilwell, General Hearn, and Col. John E. McCammon, G-3, Chungking, met with General Ho and two of his staff at the Chinese National Military Council to receive the Generalissimo's formal answer to Stilwell's 5 November memorandum. The National Military Council agreed to a converging attack on Burma by British and Chinese troops but desired to hold their own advance until the British were actually attacking Kalewa in Burma. On replacements, the Chinese said that 35,000 were en route to Yunnan. In addition, 54,000 more men would be sent. To move them, the Chinese would need motor fuel, which Stilwell promptly undertook to furnish. The Chinese agreed to provide more food for the Y-Force. Their medical needs were presented. The questions of interpreters, spare parts, artillery horses, and 7.92-mm. ammunition were all presented affirmatively and solutions speedily agreed on by both sides.23 Simultaneously with these conferences on military matters Stilwell found time to talk with General Hurley, now in Chungking on behalf of the President to arrange for the Generalissimo's visit to Cairo. General Hurley made an excellent impression on Stilwell, who enjoyed Hurley's anecdotes and his comments on Allied powers and personages. For his part,
Hurley liked the outspoken, acidly witty Stilwell, and the two men got on very well.24 In speaking to the Generalissimo, Hurley gave a brief review of U.S. policy, which included "belief" in a "free, strong, democratic China, predominant in Asia."25
Thus, on the eve of SEXTANT the opportunity of creating an effective Sino-American effort in Asia seemed to exist. In October Stilwell's diaries showed the utmost skepticism about the Generalissimo's desire to reform his Army and use it aggressively against the Japanese. But now the Generalissimo was again receiving Stilwell's views, he was considering them favorably, and he was overruling his subordinates and ordering them to take action, a changed attitude which can be seen in the great difference of General Ho's expressions of 7 November from those of 11 November. For his part, as the marginal notes on the 11 November minutes show, Stilwell was meeting every Chinese proposal and promise with appropriate orders to his own people. If this atmosphere persisted, Stilwell and the War Department might be moved to re-examine their conclusions of October and November 1943.
The issue of Sino-American relations was about to move out of Stilwell's hands into those of his superiors, the President, the Prime Minister, and the Generalissimo. At SEXTANT it would be up to the United States and the British Commonwealth to abide by the pledge of TRIDENT that nothing would be left undone to relieve the siege of China. If the President and the Prime Minister made good on the plans for a major Allied operation in Burma, Sino-American co-operation could flourish. If, however, the Generalissimo was given reason to be dissatisfied with what he received from the President and the Prime Minister, then Stilwell's position would be compromised. If the bases of Sino-American co-operation were not present, Stilwell's personal efforts could do little to remedy the situation.
Presenting CHAMPION at Cairo
With General Hurley in Chungking, the myriad details attendant on the flight to Cairo of the Generalissimo, Madame Chiang, and their entourage were speedily worked out. It was agreed among the powers that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill would meet the Chinese leader in late November and then confer with Marshal Stalin in Tehran, Iran. The Combined Chiefs of Staff would be present and so would Admiral Mountbatten and Generals Stilwell, Chennault, and Wedemeyer.
Stilwell arrived at Cairo on 20 November. The following day he was able to see General Marshall in company with General Hurley and General Somervell
CAIRO CONFERENCE participants were, left to right front, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Madame Chiang, and, standing left to right, Gen, Shang Chen, Lt. Gen. Lin Wei, General Somervell, General Stilwell, General Arnold, Field Marshall Sir John Dill, Admiral Mountbatten, and Maj. Gen. Adrian Carton de Wiart.
of Army Service Forces. Stilwell was anxious to raise many points with Marshall, presumably before the conferences began. His notebook records them:
Min[ister] of War. (replace [Gen Ho Ying-chin]). U.S. command after Pacific port [is opened]. 90 divisions. Offensive-defensive alliance. SEAC ambitions [to absorb CBI Theater]. Mountbatten wants me out. U.S. command of U.S. units. After CHAMPION? Future [of] CBI.
Louis [Mountbatten]: (1) Wants authority over ATC so as to "protect" it; (2) Wants China air plans for '44 and '45; (3) Wants responsibility for operation of Burma Road; (4) Liaison with Miles [U.S. Naval Observer Group in China]; (5) De Wiart [British liaison to Generalissimo] in our hqs; (6) Liaison offs [officers] with Chinese [divisions]; (7) Wants to absorb Rear Echelon; (8) Squadron of Spitfires to China; (9) Air staff mission; (10) Medical mission.
Claims GCM [Marshall] and Arnold told him to integrate [the Anglo-American air forces in India].
The plan for CHAMPION: Piece meal; indefinite objective; Indaw abortion. No problem.
UTOPIA [seizure of Andaman Islands] abortion, no bearing; leaves Chinese to hold sack; no British troops--unreliable Indian troops.26
Whether Stilwell presented these points at one session, or how Marshall reacted to them, is unknown. In his talk with Marshall, Hurley, and Somervell, Stilwell was warned that the President highly disapproved of his disrespectful references to the Generalissimo.27
The first plenary session of SEXTANT was set for 1100, 23 November 1943. The Joint Chiefs of Staff met briefly with Stilwell and Wedemeyer before the plenary session to receive their comments on CHAMPION, SEAC's plan for Burma. No attempt was made to weigh the plan of CHAMPION, which had been adopted over Stilwell's objections. Of the airborne operation, he remarked that he saw no point in cutting Hump tonnage just to drop a division in the jungle during the rains. Stilwell did not think the Japanese line of communications to Myitkyina a vital one and did not want it blocked at the expense of Hump tonnage (which would embarrass his relations with the Generalissimo and Chennault). However, Stilwell pledged that once CHAMPION began, he would do his best to carry it out. Wedemeyer commented that while CHAMPION did provide attacks on all key points, he did not particularly care for the Arakan situation, in which two divisions plus two brigades were given only the most limited objectives, for he mistakenly believed they faced but two Japanese regiments. Actually, the Japanese 54th Division was then moving up to join the 55th in the Arakan.
Stilwell's comments prefaced his presentation to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Generalissimo's and his proposals for China Theater, based on Stilwell's paper, Proposals for the Coming Conference. The Generalissimo called for occupation of north Burma, intensive training of the Chinese Army, and improvement of the line of communications to China. He desired B-29 operations from China Theater in early 1944, air attacks in the Formosa-Luzon area in October 1944 to support U.S. naval operations in that area, the taking of Canton and Hong Kong in November 1944-May 1945, and an attack on Formosa from Chinese ports, if required. The paper was most significant because it had the Generalissimo's approval. This was, so Marshall said, the first time since the war began that the Generalissimo had shown an active interest in the improvement and employment of his Army. General Marshall and Admiral Ernest J. King, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, thought this attitude extremely important and not to be discouraged if at all possible.28 After this session
closed, the American service chiefs joined their colleagues and superiors for the plenary session.
Admiral Mountbatten had expected CHAMPION to be first presented to the British Chiefs of Staff by himself, and to the Joint Chiefs of Staff by General Wedemeyer. On their approving it, CHAMPION would go to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and if they concurred, be presented to the Generalissimo, the President, and the Prime Minister as an agreed-on CCS proposal. This was the usual practice in such cases, but at SEXTANT it was reversed. The Generalissimo was present, though unfortunately for security reasons his arrival was not announced in advance, so neither the President nor the Prime Minister had been at the airport to greet him and Madame Chiang. This was a blow to Chinese pride.
Because the Generalissimo was at hand, and because Roosevelt and Churchill wanted him to enter immediately into military discussions, the SEAC plan was laid before the Generalissimo at once, and therefore without its having been considered by the CCS. Thus, the Generalissimo was being asked to approve CHAMPION in advance of its approval by the Allies.
As presented formally to the three Allied statesmen, to Harry L. Hopkins, Madame Chiang, and the highest service advisers, CHAMPION's first phase called for the advance of the Chinese 22d and 38th Divisions from Ledo, an operation then under way. In mid-January 1944, 15 Corps would move forward in the Arakan to take up an improved line, and would exploit any success that might be gained. At the same time 4 Corps would advance on Mawlaik, Minthami, and Sittaung, driving southeast as far as possible. In February 1944 three long-range penetration groups would attack. Paratroops would seize Indaw in mid-March after which the 26th Indian Division would fly in to hold it.29 A major amphibious operation would be staged in the Bay of Bengal. For security reasons, the amphibious operation was not further described to the Chinese. As for weather, Mountbatten hoped to end his advance by early April when the monsoon rains would break. During the monsoon, the long-range penetration groups would operate, and if the CCS gave the needed resources, the advance would resume after the monsoon's end. The rains were expected to prevent a Japanese reaction.30
The Chinese, apprised of CHAMPION weeks before by Stilwell, were immediately critical. The Generalissimo did not believe that 15 and 4 Corps were intended to advance far enough into Burma; he wanted them to drive on Mandalay. He insisted that the advance must be synchronized with a naval operation. But the Generalissimo's argument for a naval operation was now affected by a sovereign fact which he disregarded. The Japanese were known by the SEXTANT conferees to have completed a railway from Thailand to Burma which
made them independent of imports through Rangoon. The Generalissimo also insisted that whatever the demands of Burma operations the Hump lift must not fall below 10,000 tons a month. A day later Chennault gave the monthly requirements of the Chinese Air Force and the Fourteenth Air Force, 10,000 tons a month. Asked by General Arnold what that would leave for the Chinese Army in China, which had a major role to play in the reconquest of Burma, General Chennault simply replied that 10,000 tons was what he needed.31
Trying To Reach Agreement
These viewpoints having all been expressed, the conferees had two delicate tasks to handle simultaneously: to settle on a plan and to secure the Generalissimo's assent to it. Reversing the usual process by which plans were approved, in order to spare the Generalissimo's feelings, was leading into ever more tangled thickets. Mountbatten was sent to the Generalissimo's villa to explain that if the offensive toward Mandalay which the Chinese leader desired was carried out, it would entail diversion of all Hump tonnage. "Welcome change from telling me to fix it up," wrote Stilwell.32
As Admiral Mountbatten tried to explain the situation, the Generalissimo grew enthusiastic and announced he would press for both an airborne assault on Mandalay and 10,000 tons a month over the Hump, which would require an added 535 transports sent to India. Mountbatten finally escaped by saying that he would lay the Generalissimo's wishes before the CCS to see if they could find the 535 transports, which Mountbatten knew were nowhere to be had. The CCS formally stated that the 535 aircraft could not be found, and in view of the uncertainty surrounding the Generalissimo's attitude, Mountbatten was asked to obtain his formal agreement to go back into Burma.33
While Mountbatten, aided by Churchill, was essaying this task, Stilwell went with Marshall on 25 November to confer with the President. Before the interview Stilwell noted what he wanted to say to the President about the problems that faced him in China: "Ask FDR: Field chief of staff [to Generalissimo], can [have]: (1) Man power; (2) Executive authority; (3) U.S. troops; (4) Chinese-American command. Keep X-force, add one corps [as a force directly under Stilwell's command]"34
Preparing for his interview with the President, Stilwell sketched a point he wanted to make:
No matter what PEANUT agrees to, if something is not done about the Chinese high command the effort is wasted. I suggest stipulation of U.S. command, with real executive authority. If impossible over large group, then over composite Chinese-American corps. Lack of real power and control of Gmo. He will order. Kan pu will block. Suggest new Minister of War or thorough re-organization of [Chinese] War Department. Or American take over the first 30 complete and operate them [Stilwell's italics].35
Stilwell and Marshall entered the President's room, and Stilwell began his presentation. The President seemed to hear him with "little attention" and in the middle of Stilwell's report broke in to talk about the Andaman Islands, on which he wanted to put some heavy bombers. Trying to bring the discussion back to China's problems, Stilwell pled for some U.S. combat troops in CBI. In reply, the President offered to put a brigade of U.S. Marines in Chungking. "Marines are well known," said the President. "They've been all over China, to Peking and Shanghai and everywhere. The Army has only been in Tientsin."
Stilwell told the President that the Chinese had reneged on their agreements, that to carry out his mission he needed more power and executive authority over Chinese troops. Stilwell also dwelt on the "basic factors of our presence" in China, that is, the Chinese were to supply the men while the Americans supplied weapons and training. The President, though promising to speak to the Generalissimo at once on these points, seemed to show little interest.36
The President's attitude depressed Stilwell, but the conference was not all negative. Mr. Roosevelt stated that the Generalissimo had agreed to CHAMPION.37 Then came bigger news. An American corps was out of the question, but the Chinese could have equipment for ninety divisions and could help occupy Japan. At the JCS meeting that day General Marshall had remarked that there was pressure on the President to give the Generalissimo something to show as a result of his trip, that the President had been spoken to about arming the third thirty divisions but had postponed any definite commitment, though Roosevelt had made it clear the United States intended eventually to equip ninety Chinese divisions.38 Now the President told the Generalissimo's joint chief of staff of the ninety-division intention, and Stilwell duly listed it among the "Cairo results."39
Returning to his quarters, Stilwell took the notes he had prepared for his
talk with the President, drew a line diagonally across the page and wrote above them: "NB: FDR is not interested."40
While Stilwell was preparing to meet with the President, Mountbatten and the Prime Minister attempted to secure a firm assent from the Generalissimo to CHAMPION. Initially, as the President told Stilwell, they succeeded. On the early afternoon of 25 November the Generalissimo agreed to go into Burma on two conditions: that the Royal Navy's Eastern Fleet command the Bay of Bengal, and that an amphibious operation be mounted there. That evening the Generalissimo met again with the President and reversed himself on every point.
Mountbatten was again sent into action to restore the situation but found the Generalissimo obdurate. So Mountbatten turned to Churchill, had lunch with him, and the Prime Minister agreed that he with the President and Madame Chiang would try to bring the Generalissimo round. The Allied leaders met the afternoon of the 26th at tea, unfortunately with neither secretaries nor minutes. After tea the Prime Minister and Madame Chiang separately told Mountbatten that the Generalissimo had agreed on every point. Such was the situation when Churchill and Roosevelt with their key advisers departed for Tehran, and the Generalissimo prepared to go to Chungking. For the first time in the war, the Prime Minister, the President, and the CCS had met the Generalissimo and endeavored to secure a binding agreement from him. "They have been driven absolutely mad," wrote Admiral Mountbatten, "and I shall certainly get far more sympathy from the former in the future."41
With the dignitaries out of the way, Admiral Mountbatten called a meeting of the SEAC delegation on 27 November to clear up the loose ends. He felt "staggered" when Stilwell came in to tell him that just before departing that morning the Generalissimo had reversed himself again, rejected all his previous agreements, and ordered Stilwell as the latter put it, to "stay and protest. I am to stick out for TOREADOR [the airborne assault on Mandalay] and 10,000 tons [a month over the Hump]."42 Mountbatten thought quickly. He had arranged to inspect the Ramgarh Training Center together with the Generalissimo in a few days and believed that if he had the elusive Chinese leader to himself for a few minutes he might succeed in getting a binding agreement from him. So he became diplomatically deaf, told Stilwell he had not understood him, and asked that a radio be sent to him at New Delhi.43
Summing up the SEXTANT Conference at that point, Stilwell asked himself: "So where are we? TARZAN? Tonnage? Command? Sure on equipment for 90 divisions. . . ."44
Thus, of the two delicate and simultaneous operations, the agreement and the plan, one had not been brought off. Nor was there agreement between the President, the Prime Minister, the CCS, and the JCS on future operations in SEAC. Churchill early indicated his attitude by telling Admiral Mountbatten on 21 November that he meant to have a landing on Sumatra or nothing, that if there was no such operation, he would take away SEAC's landing craft for an operation against the island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean.45 A few days later Marshall remarked that Roosevelt had expressed his opposition to any diversion of Royal Navy landing craft from BUCCANEER (now the code name for the Andamans operation which was to meet the Generalissimo's long-standing demand for an amphibious operation). This expression also was the view of the Joint Chiefs, who were strong for BUCCANEER. In a conference at Tehran between the President and the JCS, it was observed that the British would do all they could to cancel BUCCANEER for an operation against Rhodes. The President quickly replied that the Allies were obligated to the Chinese to stage BUCCANEER, an attitude which suggests that he was unaware of the Generalissimo's final reversal. However, at the first CCS session at Tehran the British Chiefs of Staff urged the abandonment of BUCCANEER, and it remained to be seen whose view would prevail.46
While the President was at Tehran, the Cairo Declaration was issued by the President and the Prime Minister as a joint pronouncement of the United States, the British Commonwealth, and China. In sharp contrast to the actual course of events at SEXTANT, the declaration read: "The several military missions have agreed upon future military operations against Japan. The Three Great Allies expressed their resolve to bring unrelenting pressure against their brutal enemies by land, and sea. This pressure is already rising." The declaration went on to pledge the return of Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores to China, and that Korea should be free and independent. It then concluded: "With these objects in view, the three Allies, in harmony with those of the United Nations at war with Japan, will continue to persevere in the serious and prolonged operations necessary to procure the unconditional surrender of Japan."47
While the President and Prime Minister were meeting with Marshal Stalin at Tehran, the Generalissimo again changed his mind about Burma operations. While inspecting the Chinese New First Army at Ramgarh on 30 November, he again agreed to join in CHAMPION. He confirmed his resolve in a speech to the Chinese soldiers, placing them under Mountbatten and Stilwell for the coming operations.
CHIANG KAI-SHEK AT RAMGARH. Accompanied by Madame Chiang and Admiral Mountbatten the Generalissimo inspects the Chinese New First Army.
I feel greatly inspired today as I am here with you, officers and men, at this post. Being able to speak to you in a friendly land, is indeed, a rare opportunity. You must pay full attention to every word I say and bear it firmly in your mind. It shall serve as a moral encouragement for your endeavor to glorify our nation by adding a glorious page to the history of our national army. Now that our National Army is enabled to come over to India as a combined combat strength with our worthy allies, [it?] has already registered an illustrious page in our national annals.
It is also your good fortune that you are placed under the joint command of Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten and General Joseph W. Stilwell, respectively supreme commander and deputy supreme commander of S.E. Asia Command. My expectation of the New First Army is for you to accomplish this worthy mission. My meeting with you here today is just like a family reunion which imparts profound attachment to both father and sons. It is therefore your duty to listen to my words as follows [here, the Generalissimo encouraged his troops to fight well for China]. I exhort you to keep my words. Unitedly under the joint command of Admiral Lord Mountbatten and General Stilwell you shall destroy the enemy. . . .48
Over the Watershed: The Changed Attitude Toward China
At Tehran the President met Marshal Stalin for the first time. Explaining his China strategy, the President spoke of converging attacks on north Burma,
and of amphibious operations in the Bay of Bengal. The goal was to open the road to China and supply China so that it would stay in the war and, also, to put the Allies in a position to bomb Japan from Chinese bases. Marshal Stalin expressed no opposition to this, and, indeed, repeated his earlier promises to enter the war against Japan.49
After meeting and conferring with Marshal Stalin, the President, in the opinion of Robert E. Sherwood, arrived at certain conclusions with regard to the Soviet Union and its leader:
Roosevelt now felt sure that, to use his own term, Stalin was "getatable," despite his bludgeoning tactics and his attitude of cynicism toward such matters as the rights of small nations, and that when Russia could be convinced that her legitimate claims and requirements--such as the right to access to warm water ports--were to be given full recognition, she would prove tractable and co-operative in maintaining the peace of the postwar world.
If, therefore, good relations could be established with the Soviet Union, all the pieces of the postwar puzzle would fall into place. In the immediate present there was no doubt of what the Soviet Union wanted--a cross-Channel assault (OVERLORD) and a landing on the coast of southern France (ANVIL) as soon as possible and on as big a scale as possible.50 The President, therefore, would weigh operations in Southeast Asia in an atmosphere very different from that of the first conferences in Cairo a few days before. Such was the situation when the President, the Prime Minister, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff finished at Tehran and returned to Cairo.
Mr. Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff immediately attacked BUCCANEER. Churchill took the Stalin promise to enter the war with Japan as a stunning surprise that changed the whole strategic picture. He called it a decisive event. Soviet entry in the Pacific war would give the Allies better bases than China ever could. In the light of Stalin's promise, operations in Southeast Asia lost much of their value. In this connection, he was astounded by SEAC's requirements for BUCCANEER, which he understood to be 58,000 men to oppose 5,000 Japanese. The other decisive event, said Churchill, was setting the date for OVERLORD. Nothing anywhere should interfere with that great operation. The proper course, the Prime Minister argued, was to cancel BUCCANEER and use its landing craft to reinforce the amphibious assault on southern France, ANVIL.51
The Prime Minister's pleased surprise at Marshal Stalin's promise to enter the Pacific war and his argument that because of it the strategic picture in the Pacific had changed since the first Cairo meetings were difficult to reconcile with the circumstance that the Soviet Union originally promised to enter the
Pacific war in October 1943 at the Moscow Conference and repeated its promises in November.52
At some point during these post-Tehran discussions of BUCCANEER, a radio from General Boatner in north Burma to theater headquarters in New Delhi, detailing at length the command problems he had met with the Chinese, arrived at Cairo. By mischance, it had been so forwarded, and was then delivered to the SEAC delegation. Circulated as an admission by Stilwell's own headquarters that even U.S.-trained Chinese troops were unreliable the radio was a telling argument against any campaign that depended on the Chinese in any capacity.53
Mr. Roosevelt with Admiral King and Admiral William D. Leahy, the President's Chief of Staff, held that there was a definite commitment to the Generalissimo, and that a whole train of unhappy consequences might follow if China's allies broke their promise. He had a moral obligation to the Chinese, Roosevelt remarked, and could not forego the operation without a great and readily apparent reason. There the 4 December session ended, with a directive from the President and Prime Minister to the Combined Chiefs to try to find agreement on that basis.54 The JCS met at 0900 on 5 December and found themselves still in accord on the need to execute BUCCANEER.
The Combined Chiefs met at 1030. General Marshall drew attention to a new strategic factor which had arisen since TRIDENT. The blast of world-wide publicity following SEAC's creation had attracted heavy Japanese reinforcements to Burma which would seize the initiative unless the Allies struck first. Marshall feared that such a Japanese offensive would imperil the Hump route. If it would be possible to abandon BUCCANEER and still carry out the North Burma Campaign, Marshall would not be seriously disturbed, but he did not think there would be a Burma campaign unless there was an amphibious operation. Admiral Leahy remarked briefly that canceling the amphibious operation meant either the failure or the abandonment of the Burma campaign.
The Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Brooke, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal repeated the arguments that BUCCANEER was a diversion from the main effort in Europe and that the Chinese contribution was a negligible factor. They also noted that the main effort against Japan was now to be made in the Pacific, which was inconsistent with a heavy allocation of resources to Burma. The meeting ended with a decision to present the various points in dispute to the President and the Prime Minister.55
Mr. Roosevelt opened the plenary session by pointing out that BUCCANEER was the dividing issue between the staffs. He acknowledged that the Generalissimo
had left Cairo believing an amphibious operation would be carried out with TARZAN, the India-based portion of CHAMPION. The President was dubious about staking everything on Russian good will, for he feared that the Allies might sacrifice the esteem of the Chinese without later securing the aid of the Russians. Admiral King rebutted the argument that BUCCANEER had to be canceled to secure landing craft for ANVIL by stating that a two-division lift for ANVIL was in sight and might even be improved upon. This, he went on, would entail keeping back four months' production from the Pacific.
Though the intimate connection between BUCCANEER and Chinese participation in Burma operations was admitted by all, it was quite clear that many of those present hoped the Generalissimo would perform his share of the bargain even though his Allies reneged on theirs. The British were adamant in opposing BUCCANEER as a diversion from OVERLORD, and Churchill made it clear that he felt no obligations to the Chinese. The meeting ended with an agreement to inquire of SEAC what it could do if the bulk of its landing craft were taken away.56
So questioned, SEAC quickly replied that canceling BUCCANEER would, in the light of the Generalissimo's known attitude, lead to the collapse of TARZAN. In its stead SEAC suggested overland operations from Imphal toward Kalewa and Kalemyo in Burma (which if successful would be a long step toward Mandalay), continuation of the advance from Ledo, continuation of the current operations in the Arakan, and an assault by the long-range penetration groups at the proper time. SEAC acknowledged that this operation would not open the land route to China.57 Admiral Leahy described SEAC's estimate of 50,000 men for BUCCANEER as excessive, but General Wedemeyer replied that a smashing victory was needed to restore the morale of SEAC's troops and added that all the resources needed for BUCCANEER, except an added 120 carrier-based fighters, were in sight. Admiral King immediately said that he might find four or six escort carriers to fill the gap. But there was still no agreement on BUCCANEER, and the case went back to the President and the Prime Minister.58
On the night of 5 December Mr. Roosevelt accepted Mr. Churchill's arguments and withdrew his support from BUCCANEER. In abandoning BUCCANEER, the President overrode the very strongest protests of his service advisers. In his memoirs, Admiral Leahy wrote:
I felt that we were taking a grave risk. Chiang might drop out of the war. He never had indicated much faith in British intentions, but had relied on the United States. If the Chinese quit, the tasks of MacArthur and Nimitz in the Pacific, already difficult, would be much harder. Japanese man power in great numbers would be released to oppose our advance toward the mainland of Japan. Fortunately for us, the courageous Chinese stayed in the fight.
After the war, in writing his memoirs, Admiral King remarked that he had been "distressed" by the breach of the long-standing promise to the Chinese, and added that in his opinion this was the only time during the war when the President had overruled the Joint Chiefs.59
After agreeing to cancel BUCCANEER, the President and Hopkins drafted a radio to the Generalissimo telling him the bad news. The message was based on SEAC's estimate that there could be no major amphibious operation if BUCCANEER was canceled. The estimate was in error, as SEAC soon discovered, but the two U.S. leaders naturally accepted it, and, consulting Churchill but not the CCS, told the Generalissimo there could be no successful amphibious operation simultaneously with TARZAN. They asked him if he would go ahead without the amphibious operation (it will be recalled that the Chinese had never been told exactly what sort of operation was contemplated), or would he wait until November 1944 when there might be a major seaborne landing? In the meantime, the President suggested, all air transport would be concentrated on increasing the tonnage flown to China. Roosevelt and Hopkins held out the "fair prospect of terminating the war with Germany by the end of summer of 1944," which would release great resources for the Far East. (on the night of 6 December a poll of the CCS revealed that the earliest date any of them would set for the end of the war in Europe was February 1945, with half of them guessing it would be spring 1945).60
Stilwell's Search for Guidance
On 6 December Stilwell and his political adviser, John P. Davies, Jr., met with the President and Hopkins. Stilwell had heard of unfavorable developments and was anxious to know what effect they would have on U.S. policy in China. Thanks to the rapprochement with the Generalissimo in October, the American soldier was still joint chief of staff for China Theater, was commanding two divisions of Chinese troops in India and Burma (one of them engaged in combat), and was commanding general of the U.S. China, Burma and India Theater. The President's radio could be expected to shock the Generalissimo, and guidance for Stilwell in the radically changed situation was essential.
For two years the President's declared policy had been to treat China as a Great Power and make of her a partner in a coalition with Britain, Russia, and the United States. In the course of this period the President had deferred continually to the Generalissimo's wishes, sometimes against the advice of his
service chiefs. Thus, in March 1943, and again in May 1943, he had overruled them to back General Chennault, explaining his decision by the desperate urgency of China's need, and the necessity of acknowledging the wishes of the Generalissimo as Supreme Commander, China Theater.
The President had insisted on China's joining in the diplomatic councils of the Great Powers and had carried his point just ten weeks before at Moscow. In the course of the previous two years the United States had made a number of commitments to China, of which the chief was that of TRIDENT, to break the blockade of China at the earliest moment. Roosevelt had been a driving force in these developments and had often expressed his appreciation of the urgent character of China's needs.
Casablanca, TRIDENT, QUADRANT, had erected an imposing structure of plans and decisions; an entire new Allied theater, SEAC, under an aggressive commander, had been created. All these efforts had seemed to be building to a grand climax, CHAMPION, the culmination of these diplomatic and strategic efforts. CHAMPION would break the blockade of China, with all the momentous ensuing consequences.
Now, the situation was changed, in a dramatic reversal, and it was essential that Stilwell know how the President wanted to meet the situation. The President explained that the conference had come to an impasse and could not be permitted to end in disagreement. Therefore, he would yield to the British point of view. The United States and Russia had insisted on OVERLORD, and so, said the President, Churchill had insisted on giving up TARZAN.61
So much was clear, and Stilwell asked: "I am interested to know how this affects our policy in China." The President's reply was most indefinite. In retrospect, it appears that he had not decided what to do about China, and so Stilwell could not keep the conversation away from Roosevelt family history, the postwar development of China, and the new, postwar Asia. Stilwell and Davies prepared minutes of the conversation, and from them, Stilwell tried to puzzle out just what the President wanted him to do.62
Stilwell concluded that the President's policy was: "Keep China in the war. We must retain our flank position [vis-à-vis Japan]. If CKS flops, back somebody else."63
But how was all this to be done in the face of BUCCANEER's cancellation and the inevitable compromising of Stilwell's position? "Only remarks pertinent to question," wrote Stilwell, were "If TARZAN is out, we can boost the [Hump] tonnage. VLR bombers [B-29's] can bomb Japan."64 Several months later
Stilwell told Marshall that he had sought guidance at Cairo but had found none.65 Marshall did not challenge this statement.
Indeed, the President's remarks raised more questions than they answered. If, under Japanese attack, or economic distress, the Nationalist regime began to crumble, then, according to the President, the United States would "look for some other man or group of men, to carry on."66 Whom did the President have in mind, a dissident war lord like Marshal Li Chi-shen or the Communists? At what point was Stilwell to begin dealing with such people?
Knowing that Stilwell's position in China would be almost impossible after SEXTANT, Marshall offered him a high post in another theater. Stilwell declined it.67 Talking with Marshall the day after his interview with the President, Stilwell learned: "George hopeful about Germany. 'Hang on and keep going.' Nothing else he could tell me. Everything dangling."68
One thing, arms for ninety divisions, might have kept the Generalissimo from regarding SEXTANT as an utter disappointment. On 10 December Stilwell attended a meeting to discuss the project.69 Three weeks later, after Stilwell returned to CBI, Marshall was told by OPD: "The commitment regarding the Lend-Lease equipping of Chinese divisions the President actually made at SEXTANT is not known. We are proceeding on the assumption the President made no commitment on the timing of the flow of equipment."70 Stilwell was informed accordingly. As for the landing craft that on Churchill's insistence were taken from SEAC to reinforce ANVIL, several weeks later the British Chiefs of Staff, supported by the Prime Minister, made the first of several attempts to have ANVIL canceled for operations elsewhere in the Mediterranean.71
The Generalissimo's answer to the President's radio telling him of BUCCANEER's cancellation was awaited anxiously, for SEAC could have no CCS directive on amphibious operations until it was known how the Chinese would react to the disappointment. Discussion of future operations continued while the CCS awaited his reply. General Marshall suggested that the land operations outlined by SEAC might well be undertaken by the Chinese advancing from Yunnan and screened by the U.S. long-range penetration groups directed at Quebec, with some of the troops released by BUCCANEER forming a reserve. The Chief of the Imperial General Staff countered with the proposal that Mountbatten's new mission should be to guard Assam by active offensive operations.72
Meanwhile, Stilwell sent a radio to General Hearn in Chungking, ordering Hearn to see the Generalissimo and urge him to go ahead with his share of the campaign, regardless of BUCCANEER's cancellation.73 This action was consistent with Stilwell's often expressed view that seizure of the Andaman Islands contributed nothing to operations in Burma. His reasoning was supported by the facts that the Japanese had opened a railway to Thailand, so that they no longer depended on the port of Rangoon, and that airfields on the Andamans were only 100 miles closer to Rangoon than those already in Allied hands, so that their possession would not be decisive in air operations against Rangoon, even if such were of vital importance.
When the Generalissimo's answer to the President arrived at Cairo on 9 December, it spoke in ominous tones:
I have received your telegram of December Sixth. Upon my return I asked Madame Chiang to inform you of the gratifying effect the communique of the Cairo Conference has had on the Chinese army and people in uplifting their morale to continue active resistance against Japan. This letter is on the way and is being brought to you by the pilot, Captain Shelton.
First, prior to the Cairo Conference there had been disturbing elements voicing their discontent and uncertainty of America and Great Britain's attitude in waging a global war and at the same time leaving China to shift as best she could against our common enemy. At one stroke the Cairo communique decisively swept away this suspicion in that we three had jointly and publicly pledged to launch a joint all-out offensive in the Pacific.
Second, if it should now be known to the Chinese army and people that a radical change of policy and strategy is being contemplated, the repercussions would be so disheartening that I fear of the consequences of China's inability to hold out much longer.
Third, I am aware and appreciate your being influenced by the probable tremendous advantages to be reaped by China as well as by the United Nations as a whole in speedily defeating Germany first. For the victory of one theater of war necessarily affects all other theaters; on the other hand, the collapse of the China theater would have equally grave consequences on the global war. I have therefore come to this conclusion that in order to save this grave situation, I am inclined to accept your recommendation. You will doubtless realize that in so doing my task in rallying the nation to continue resistance is being made infinitely more difficult.
Because the danger to the China theater lies not only in the inferiority of our military strength, but also, and more especially, in our critical economic condition which may seriously affect the morale of the army and people, and cause at any moment a sudden collapse of the entire front. Judging from the present critical situation, military as well as economic, it would be impossible for us to hold on for six months, and a fortiori to wait till November 1944. In my last conversation with you I stated that China's economic situation was more critical than the military. The only seeming solution is to assure the Chinese people and army of your sincere concern in the China theater of war by assisting China to hold on with a billion gold dollar loan to strengthen her economic front and relieve her dire economic needs. Simultaneously, in order to prove our resolute determination to bring relentless pressure on Japan, the Chinese air force and the American air force stationed in China should be increased, as from next spring, by at least double the number of aircraft already agreed upon, and the total of air transportation should be increased, as from February of next year, to at least 20,000 tons a month to make effective the operation of the additional planes.
In this way it might be possible to bring relief to our economic condition for the coming year, and to maintain the morale of the army and the people who would be greatly encouraged by America's timely assistance. What I have suggested is, I believe, the only way of remedying the drawbacks of the strategy concerning the China and Pacific theaters. I am sure you will appreciate my difficult position and give me the necessary assistance. I have instructed General Stilwell to return immediately to Chungking and I shall discuss with him regarding the details of the proposed changed plan and shall let you know of my decision as to which one of your suggestions is the more feasible.
From the declaration of the Teheran Conference Japan will rightly deduce that practically the entire weight of the United Nations' forces will be applied to the European front thus abandoning the China theater to the mercy of Japan's mechanized air and land forces. It would be strategic on Japan's part to (3) liquidate the China Affair during the coming year. It may therefore be expected that the Japanese will before long launch an all-out offensive against China so as to remove the threat to their rear, and thus re-capture the militarists' waning popularity and bolster their fighting morale in the Pacific. This is the problem which I have to face. Knowing that you are a realist, and as your loyal colleague, I feel constrained to acquaint you with the above facts. Awaiting an early reply,
The Generalissimo's requests were not enough to bring agreement on a new directive to SEAC for a major amphibious operation. For the time being SEAC and Stilwell would have to be governed by the SEXTANT decisions, which were sufficiently explicit. These ordered the occupation of upper Burma in spring 1944 (1) to improve the air route and (2) to open land communications with China. An amphibious operation at the same time was approved. TWILIGHT, the B-29 project, was also approved, and the Fourteenth Air Force, the Chinese Army, and the Chinese Air Force would be improved for intensified operations in and from China. The general concept of the SEXTANT decisions on the Pacific and Asia was that "the main effort against Japan should be made in the Pacific." What was attempted elsewhere in Asia would be in support of that main effort. There would be first priority for ANVIL and OVERLORD, the supreme operations for 1944.75
SEAC Tries To Salvage Burma Operations
Admiral Mountbatten was an aggressive commander, of proven desire to close with the enemy. Moreover, he and his subordinates, of whom Stilwell was one, were bound by the SEXTANT decision to clear north Burma. Lastly, fighting in the Arakan and in north Burma had been under way for weeks, with both sides reinforcing. BUCCANEER's demise left SEAC the alternatives of postponing an attempt at a major co-ordinated offensive for another year, which would probably mean the end of operations to clear north Burma, or of staging an amphibious operation smaller than BUCCANEER, with the hope that it would
still be enough to meet the Generalissimo's stipulation for such an operation in the Bay of Bengal, and so lead him to take active part in the Burma fighting.
Mountbatten's first reaction was hesitant, because the shipping requirement would be the same if the attempt was large or small, and because no worthwhile objective could be seized with what shipping was at hand. When an amphibious assault on the Arakan coast was first proposed, he did not see how it could be presented as that previously promised the Generalissimo or how it alone could fulfill SEAC's basic directive. However, since such would be a starting point for the future, would enable the long-range penetration groups to do their work, and would not commit him to an offensive in central Burma, he directed his staff to study it.76
Since the amphibious operation promised the Generalissimo had never been defined to him, and since his stipulation had been for a major one, if the SEAC planners could somehow evolve a major amphibious effort the question of Allied good faith would be answered, even if belatedly, and attention would be focused on the Generalissimo's reaction. By adjusting the delicate balances for a plan that might be imposing enough to satisfy the Generalissimo yet still fit within SEAC resources, SEAC's planners evolved PIGSTICK. PIGSTICK called for an assault on the Mayu peninsula aimed at Akyab. Two divisions plus two brigades would be used in a southward advance down the peninsula and one division in an amphibious assault aimed at surrounding and destroying not less than 20,000 Japanese. One more landing like PIGSTICK, perhaps in the Ramree-Cheduba area, could take staging areas that would put 15 Corps within reach of Rangoon.77 TARZAN was modified into GRIPFAST, an attack on north and central Burma with an airborne landing at Indaw on the Japanese line of communications to Myitkyina.
In the initial negotiations between Mountbatten and the Chinese on the commitment to battle of the U.S.-sponsored Chinese divisions in Yunnan (Y-Force) Stilwell entered enthusiastically. SEAC's new plan, thought Stilwell, was almost the same as TOREADOR (the airborne landing in central Burma), which had so appealed to the Generalissimo at SEXTANT.78 Mandalay itself was now the objective of SEAC's efforts, while the amphibious operations were enlarged.79
For whatever reasons, the Generalissimo was unimpressed with SEAC's attempt to meet his demands for an amphibious operation before he would move. Like a wary customer, he questioned the value of the substitute that SEAC was offering. Since even in the genial atmosphere of Cairo he had been conspicuously unwilling to commit himself, it was apparent that he would drive a hard bargain, particularly since the President's radio from Cairo had offered him an alibi. His final reply to the President's radio on 17 December
stressed his need for money and air power but implied that a large enough amphibious operation might even yet secure his co-operation.
My telegram of December 10th must have reached you by this time. I have discussed with General Stilwell the proposed change in the plan of campaign and have come to the following conclusions:
In case the original plan of concentrating warships and transports for landing troops cannot be completely carried out, it would be better to defer the amphibious all-out offensive till November next as you suggested so that the enemy in Burma may be annihilated once and for all. In the meantime preparations for an offensive against Burma next spring should proceed at full speed as originally planned, thus enabling us to launch an attack on land at any moment which is deemed favorable, or at any time before next autumn if a sufficient number of warships and transports can be concentrated to effect a grand scale landing on the enemy's flanks, without waiting till the autumn of next year.
In this way the Burma front might be liquidated sooner than one could anticipate. I have decided to accept your suggestion that the general offensive against Burma should be postponed to November next or sooner if the original amphibious operation could be launched. At the same time I cannot but reiterate that in the intervening period of one year during which there will be little hope of re-opening the Burma Road, the China theater of war will be in a most critical situation. I therefore earnestly ask you to do all in your power to accede to my request for financial assistance and for an increase of air force and air transportation as stated in my telegram of December 10th, in the hope that the danger to the China theater may be removed and the drawbacks in the strategy against Japan remedied in accordance with your consistent friendly policy of rendering assistance to China. Awaiting an early reply.
Doing his best to meet the Generalissimo's requirements, Mountbatten gave Stilwell for a further "talking point" information that the Chindit forces in the proposed Burma operations would total 20,000 men, approximately half of whom would be assisting the Chinese advance.81
In talks with the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang, Stilwell learned that the Chinese expected the United States to pay the entire cost of constructing the B-29 fields at Cheng-tu. The Generalissimo's request for a loan of one billion dollars gold, the Chinese insistence on setting an official exchange rate of 20 to 1 between their currency and the U.S. dollar when the black market rate was 240 to 1, and rising rapidly, and now the President's alleged promise to pay the whole cost of the B-29 fields introduced a new factor of importance, the sheer monetary cost of attempting operations in China.
The Generalissimo estimated that the Cheng-tu fields would cost two to three billion dollars of Chinese currency. "At 20 to 1, at least 100 million gold, of which one-half will be squeeze. Appalling," wrote Stilwell. Stilwell protested that his understanding was the United States would "help" with the project. No, retorted Madame Chiang, the President had promised to pay for everything. Disgusted by what to him seemed a naive softness, Stilwell wrote: "One more example of the stupid spirit of concession that proves to them that we are suckers. 'We'll put in VLR bombers' (no bargaining). Then, 'we'll pay for the
fields' (no bargaining). Same on air freight--promise without bargain. Same on equipment for army--promise without bargain. Same on Chinese Air Force. Same on 14th Air Force. Same on everything."82
When the discussion came around to the current operations in Burma, the Generalissimo's actions on 18 and 19 December baffled Stilwell. On the 18th the Generalissimo gave Stilwell full command of the Chinese forces in India and those now fighting in the Hukawng Valley. The next day he rejected Mountbatten's proposals for a major attack on Burma, which made Stilwell write: "[The Generalissimo] is afraid that even concerted attack by all available forces has only one chance in a hundred and yet he'll sit back and let a small force take on the Japs alone."83 With the Generalissimo's promise in hand, Stilwell prepared to leave to take command of the Hukawng Valley operations. He believed that with the Ledo Force there was just a chance he might be able to link with the Chinese Yunnan divisions somewhere near Myitkyina.84
Stilwell's decision to assume active command of the forces in north Burma is not discussed or analyzed in his private or official papers. In the light of his habit of analyzing every major step this circumstance suggests he thought the move an obvious one. By December 1943 the post of chief of staff to the Supreme Commander, China Theater, was simply a paper one, without staff, directives, or duties. The Chinese had never agreed to set up the Sino-American staff through which Stilwell was to have functioned as Joint Chief of Staff, China Theater. After the Three Demands crisis of June 1942 the Generalissimo had largely ignored both him and his suggestions. Therefore, Stilwell's post of chief of staff to the Generalissimo would not require his presence in China.
There was Stilwell's still-existing mission of improving the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army, but his superiors had not objected to his conclusion that because Chinese delay had wasted two years there was little more he could do, and were themselves coming to the very similar conclusion that little more should be attempted than that which Stilwell had already begun, and which his subordinates in China could carry out as a matter of routine.
Since October 1943 the only major development had been the SEXTANT Conference, which had so obviously compromised Stilwell's position in China that Marshall had asked him if he wanted to be recalled. Mountbatten, Stilwell's superior, was actively soliciting the Generalissimo's aid in Burma operations, thus relieving Stilwell of responsibility for that task.
There remained the operations in Burma, which had been under way since 30 October 1943. For two months the American officers of Chih Hui Pu had been trying to achieve a satisfactory solution, but without success. General Boatner, Stilwell's deputy in north Burma, who had been actively exercising field command, was now a victim of pneumonia.85 General Sun, who might
have commanded, had made it very plain that he wanted to retreat. The Chinese were now heavily engaged, and the situation had been described to Stilwell as critical. So Stilwell prepared to go to north Burma and assume command in the jungle. He was then sixty years of age.86
The conduct of American military-diplomatic relations with China was tacitly assumed by the President. In 1942 and 1943 Stilwell had presented many memorandums to the Generalissimo, to which the Chinese had rarely replied. In 1944, the President sent one message after another to the Generalissimo on military matters, and these the Generalissimo could not ignore. As will be seen, the role of CBI Theater headquarters in these exchanges was the humble and mechanical one of delivering the text of these presidential proddings to the Generalissimo.
A Changing U.S. Attitude
Once again in the history of the U.S. effort in China, Burma, and India, the issues were about to be placed before the President, this time by Stilwell at Madame Chiang's suggestion. Stilwell was not hopeful of the President's willingness to intercede, but he adopted the suggestion.87 Manifestly, Stilwell did not feel that the action of the President and the Prime Minister in reneging at Cairo on the long-promised amphibious operation made it unnecessary or inadvisable for the Generalissimo to take action in Burma or that it made ungraceful any criticism of the Generalissimo's reluctance from within those powers that had broken their pledges to him. So, Stilwell told Marshall that the SEAC plan was now virtually what CBI Theater had been urging all along, that if the President would exhort the Generalissimo to cross the Salween River when his allies attacked Burma, the Chinese leader might play his part.88 If the Generalissimo knew of this move, he could have reflected that his own message to the President two days before had accepted one of the two choices the President had offered, and that in the past the President had extended credits, lend-lease, and air support without asking anything in return.
Drafted by the War Department, the President's reply indicated that Roosevelt had moved away from the Generalissimo's and Chennault's views and was a great deal closer to Stilwell's. The President returned a qualified negative to the Generalissimo's requests. Describing himself as fully aware of the military and economic situation in China, the President said that the best the United States could do was to aid in the immediate opening of a land line of communications to China. The military actions involved in so doing would afford greater protection to the Hump air route. Roosevelt told the Generalissimo of Mountbatten's planning the largest possible operation to retake Burma and expressed his hope that the Generalissimo would do everything he
could to carry out the part reserved for China. Nothing whatever was said about postponing active operations until November 1944. Roosevelt discounted what could be done by more air power in China until the line of communications had been improved. The Chinese might find comfort in the President's assurance that plans to increase Hump capacity to 12,000 tons a month were well advanced, provided an advance by the Allied ground forces forestalled a Japanese attempt to interrupt the airline. The message closed with the brief comment that the Treasury Department was weighing China's request for a billion-dollar (U.S.) loan.89
Thus, the President was suggesting that China act and was stressing action on the ground rather than in the air. The Generalissimo had accepted one of the alternate courses offered by the President, waiting until November 1944 to advance into Burma, only to find that the President had quietly abandoned it. Did the Generalissimo's linking the cancellation of BUCCANEER with a request for one billion dollars anger the President? Whatever the reason, the changed tone and shifts in emphasis of the President's reply, the ever stronger and more demanding nature of its successors, suggest that the President had made up his mind about China. At Cairo Roosevelt had been uncertain and unable to guide Stilwell; after Cairo and a few weeks of consideration, the President was striking out along the line of insisting that China take the offensive in return for the lend-lease she had received.
Despite the President's urgings, the Generalissimo's reply was negative. It even had overtones of the sardonic. He agreed to leave the Ledo forces at Mountbatten's disposal but stated that the Y-Force would move only if the Allies took the Andaman Islands, Rangoon, or Moulmein. If they succeeded in taking Mandalay or Lashio, he would order his armies into Burma even if there was no amphibious operation.90
General Hearn, to whom Stilwell had entrusted the American share of negotiations with the Generalissimo, did not believe the Generalissimo's reply was final but thought rather that he was bargaining for a bigger amphibious operation or a pledge that the Burma campaign would definitely include capture of Rangoon. Nor did he believe the Generalissimo was aware of the size of the effort that Mountbatten might be able to make. If the Generalissimo agreed to commit Y-Force, 325,000 Allied combat troops would be involved in the Burma operation.91
Though urged by Hearn and Stilwell to accept the Generalissimo's Mandalay-Lashio offer, this was further than Mountbatten would go. Indeed, a certain asperity was entering his references to the Chinese. Asking that the
United States put pressure on the Generalissimo, Mountbatten remarked: "I do not see why we should continue to supply him with munitions if they are to be used solely for internal political purposes."92
Still determined on an offensive, Admiral Mountbatten went on with preparations for PIGSTICK, the assault on the Mayu peninsula. He told the British Chiefs of Staff that while PIGSTICK was within SEAC's capabilities, "if any further resources are taken from me . . . I shall have to cancel the operation."93
That the British Chiefs of Staff did not favor PIGSTICK became apparent when they suggested to the CCS that if PIGSTICK was canceled three fast LST's (landing ship, tank) and other landing craft could be released for a landing at Anzio, Italy. After examining the landing craft situation in the Mediterranean and considering the old promise to the Generalissimo to make an amphibious operation, the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged that plans and preparations for PIGSTICK continue with no further withdrawal of landing craft from SEAC. Moreover, Stilwell's initial attempts to advance in north Burma were meeting with success and an operation to the south would divert some Japanese from him.
While these discussions between the Joint and British Chiefs of Staff were under way, the British Chiefs of Staff told Mountbatten that they did not think PIGSTICK could be carried out, and, although there was still no decision by the CCS, ordered him to return the landing craft in question to the Mediterranean. The departure of the craft, together with the warning by his commanders in chief that they could not carry out PIGSTICK during the favorable weather period of February 1944 unless it was ordered by 30 December at the latest, forced Mountbatten to cancel the operation without awaiting CCS approval.94
Admiral Mountbatten canceled PIGSTICK with reluctance, for the action meant to him the probability of no worthwhile offensive against the Japanese for at least a year after SEAC's formation and would have an adverse effect on morale. In a last attempt at an amphibious operation, Mountbatten ordered preparations for BULLDOZER, a much smaller amphibious operation in the Arakan. A message from Mr. Churchill to "mark time for a day or two till we get matters cleaned up" was enough to end it, for even a day's delay would affect the time to mount it before rough weather began in the Bay of Bengal. Thus, the last hope of meeting the Generalissimo's demand for an amphibious operation was gone.
These events were enough to dampen even the buoyant Mountbatten's enthusiasm for a Burma campaign. Where a week before he had said: "I have no intention of allowing operations in Northern Burma to fade on account of abandonment of proposed operations elsewhere," he now told his staff: "The
quickest and most efficient way of taking supplies on a large scale into China is through a port rather than by a long and uncertain land route."95
Reflecting the strategic developments of SEXTANT and the Generalissimo's reluctance to engage in Burma operations, the Strategy and Policy Group, OPD, on 8 January 1944 submitted its comments on the "future military value of China Theater." The planners stated that since the main effort in the Pacific would be made in the central and southwest areas of that great expanse, the mission of Stilwell's CBI Theater should be to give air support to the main effort. The bases from which this support was to come should be in areas already secure, because to acquire any more territory would require of the Chinese Army an efficiency not likely to be attained before 1946-47. No further effort should be made, the paper went on, to equip Chinese ground forces beyond enabling them to control areas they already had. Therefore, all available Hump airlift capacity should be devoted to building up air power in China, which was believed to be the best way of preventing China's collapse, as well as of aiding Pacific operations. Offensive operations in Burma to thwart a Japanese threat to the existing India-China air line of communications were still thought necessary.96
Before the SEXTANT Conference, the United States placed great emphasis on major operations in Southeast Asia to break the blockade of China and divert Japanese strength from the Southwest Pacific. President Roosevelt had been most interested in the implications of this policy as it applied to Asia. At SEXTANT his attitude changed; the amphibious operation demanded by the Generalissimo as the price of his co-operation in Burma was canceled, and for a time it seemed the President was willing to postpone Burma operations until November 1944. The Generalissimo asked for a billion U.S. dollars and heavy air reinforcements so that China might withstand another year's blockade. He was not willing himself to make a major effort to break it. The President's reply was drafted by the War Department and moved toward full support of Stilwell. During these discussions, the British Chiefs of Staff withdrew certain essential landing craft from Mountbatten, in effect ending his hopes of a major amphibious operation. December ended with Stilwell taking his post in north Burma to command the now heavily engaged Chinese New First Army, with the President urging China to play a more active part in the war, and with OPD suggesting that the mission of CBI Theater should be to give air support to Allied operations in the Pacific.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)
1. (1) Ltr, Auchinleck to Stilwell, 7 Sep 43; Quotation from Ltr, Stilwell to Auchinleck, 16 Sep 43. Item 226, Bk 3, JWS Personal File. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. A, par. 7.
2. Extract, SAC's Personal Diary, 30 Oct 43. SEAC War Diary.
3. Stilwell's plan has not been found. Probably it is reflected in the views expressed in the memorandum cited in note 7, below.
4. (1) SEAC Plan, SAC (43) 2, 28 Oct 43; Min, SAC's Mtg, 31 Oct 43; Rad 7, SEACOS to COS, 31 Oct 43. SEAC War Diary. (2) Rad AMMDEL 1963, Merrill to Stilwell, 3 Nov 43. Item 1162, Bk 4, JWS Personal File.
5. Stilwell Diary, 3 Nov 43. (See Bibliographical Note.)
6. Actually present were the 5th and 7th Indian Divisions with three brigades each, and the 81st West African Division with two brigades. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 34-37.
7. Memo, Stilwell for SEAC, 27 Oct 43. SNF 215.
8. (1) Rad 22, Wedemeyer to Marshall for Maj Gen Thomas T. Handy, 6 Nov 43; Rad SEACOS 83834, Mountbatten to COS, 10 Nov 43; Extract, SAC's Personal Diary, 7 Nov 43. SEAC War Diary. (2) Rad AMMDEL 2008, Merrill to Stilwell, 8 Nov 43; Rad AMMDEL 2023, Merrill to Stilwell, 10 Nov 43; Rad AMMDEL 2036, Merrill to Stilwell 11 Nov 43. Items 1203, 1225, 1236, Bk 4, JWS Personal File.
9. (1) Msg, Roosevelt to Chiang, 30 Jun 43; Ltr, Soong to Hopkins, 21 Jul 43. Bk IX, Hopkins Papers. (2) Memo, Hearn for Generalissimo, 1 Nov 43. Item 1139, Bk 4, JWS Personal File. (3) Incl to Memo, Somervell to Hopkins, 5 Nov 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers. (4) Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, MS, IX-2-93. This manuscript quotes the President as aware of China's weakness but as desiring to be friendly with her 400,000,000 people and so wanting China to sign the Four Power Declaration.
10. Min, JCS 97th Mtg, 20 Jul 43.
11. Compilation of Background Material for SEXTANT, Table 4g, prep by Strategy and Policy Gp, OPD. ABC 337 (18 Oct 43) Sec 5, A48-224.
12. CPS 86/2, 25 Oct 43, sub: Defeat of Japan Within Twelve Months After Defeat of Germany.
13. Memo, Col Joseph J. Billo, Chief, Strategy Sec OPD, for Chief, Strategy and Policy Gp OPD, 4 Nov 43, sub: Reanalysis of Our Strategic Position in Asia. ABC 337 (18 Oct 43) Sec 5, A48-224.
14. JCS 533/5, 8 Nov 43, sub: Recommended Line of Action at Next U.S.-British Stf Conf.
15. Stilwell's Mission to China, Chs. II and X.
16. (1) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. X. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 237-38. (3) In his Black Book, 6 November 1943, Stilwell wrote: "Is this real cooperation, or am I going goofy? . . . The catch is probably that he's willing but the blocking backs in the War Ministry will throw us for a loss. But just now, we are all honey and sweetness."
17. Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 5 Nov 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
18. The Stilwell Papers, pp. 237-38.
19. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
20. That the Generalissimo returned a written answer is implied in The Stilwell Papers, p. 240. However, the authors have not been able to find it.
21. The Stilwell Papers, p. 236.
22. Ibid., p. 238.
23. Notes, Conf, NMC, 11 Nov 43. Marginal notes show action directed for Americans. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
24. The Stilwell diaries of this period have several appreciative comments on General Hurley. Hurley's recollections of his first meetings with General Stilwell were given to the authors. Intervs with Gen Hurley, Jan 49, Feb 50.
25. The Stilwell Papers, pp. 238-40.
26. (1) These jottings are from one of Stilwell's notebooks of the type in which he kept his diary. This one is labeled Data, and is hereafter cited as Data Notebook. At the top of the page on which these entries begin, Stilwell wrote "GCM" in bold letters. (2) Stilwell's fears about Mountbatten's attempts to whittle away his authority in India and China are also expressed in Rad AGWAR 863, Stilwell to Marshall, 11 Nov 43. Item 1234, Bk 4, JWS Personal File.
27. The Stilwell Papers, p. 245.
28. (1) See pp. 57-58, above. (2) Min, JCS 128th Mtg, 23 Nov 43, Item 2. (3) CCS 405, 22 Nov 43, sub: Role of China in Defeat of Japan. (4) Japanese Study 89.
29. (1) SEAC War Diary, 23 Nov 43. (2) Min, SEXTANT Conf, First Plenary Mtg, Villa Kirk, 23 Nov 43. (3) Henry H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949), p. 460.
30. (1) Min, CCS 129th Mtg, 24 Nov 43, Item 5. (2) CCS Info Memo 166, 18 Dec 43.
31. (1) Min cited n. 29(2). (2) Min, CCS 129th Mtg, 24 Nov 43, Item 7.
32. (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 246. (2) SEAC War Diary, 24 Nov 43.
33. SEAC War Diary, 24 Nov 43. (2) Min, CCS 130th Mtg, 25 Nov 43, Item 1.
34. Data Notebook. A little earlier in the Data Notebook, in the first version of his notes for the conference with the President, Stilwell put it: "FDR. Recommendations. Private army of one corps. Keep X-Force and add one in China. Recommend to PEANUT more power for me. Field Chief of Staff. Oust running dog. FDR. My mission complicated by not knowing what direct messages [from Roosevelt to Chiang] contain No bargaining power. (TWILIGHT)."
35. Data Notebook.
36. (1) Handwritten pages headed Story of J. Peene, Sr. (Hereafter, Story of J. Peene, Sr.) Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) Joseph Peene was General Stilwell's maternal grandfather. Mr. Peene was famous in family tradition for paying his employees in gold pieces. Because the Generalissimo later asked the President for $1,000,000,000 gold the event may have reminded the sometimes waggish Stilwell of this episode from the days of the gold standard. See letter, Mrs. Winifred A. Stilwell to Sunderland, 4 August 1952. OCMH. (3) The Stilwell Papers, p. 246.
37. The Stilwell Papers, p. 246.
38. (1) Story of J. Peene, Sr. The exact wording is: "What shall we give the Chinese? Equip. for 90 XX [divisions]. But the American Corps is out, and we give them Japan. What a laugh for the Japs." (2) Min, JCS 130th Mtg, 25 Nov 43, Item 6.
39. Data Notebook.
41. (1) Extracts, SAC's Personal Diary, 25, 26, 27 Nov 43; quotation from Extract, 27 Nov 43. SEAC War Diary. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 246.
42. (1) SEAC War Diary, 27 Nov 43. (2) Stilwell Diary, 27 Nov 43.
43. SEAC War Diary, 27 Nov 43.
44. Stilwell Diary, 27 Nov 43.
45. SEAC War Diary, 21 Nov 43.
46. (1) Min, JCS 131st Mtg, 26 Nov 43, Item 3. (2) Min, Mtg of President and JCS, American Legation, 28 Nov 43. (3) Min, CCS 131st Mtg, 26 Nov 43, Item 4. (4) Min, CCS 132d Mtg, 30 Nov 43.
47. U.S. Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, 1949) p. 519.
48. Address, Generalissimo to Chinese New First Army in India, 30 Nov 43. JWS Misc Papers, 1943. (See Bibliographical Note.)
49. (1) Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948) pp. 778-79. (2) CM-IN 1946, Ambassador W. Averell Harriman to Marshall, 4 Nov 43.
50. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 788, 798-99.
51. Min, SEXTANT Conf, Third Plenary Mtg, Villa Kirk, 4 Dec 43.
52. The original statement was made by Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav M. Molotov to Cordell Hull at Moscow and confirmed shortly after by Molotov to Harriman, who promptly relayed it to General Marshall. (1) Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1948) II, 1309. (2) Rad cited n. 49(2).
53. (1) Story of J. Peene, Sr. (2) Ltr, Hill to Ward, 2 Sep 52. OCMH.
54. (1) Min cited n. 51. (2) Min, CCS 134th Mtg, 4 Dec 43, Item 4.
55. Min, CCS 135th Mtg, 5 Dec 43.
56. Min, SEXTANT Conf, Fifth Plenary Mtg, Villa Kirk, 5 Dec 43.
57. Rad SEACOS 38, 6 Dec 43. Min, SEXTANT Conf, p. 312.
58. Min, CCS 136th Mtg, 5 Dec 43, Item 1.
59. (1) William D. Leahy, I Was There: The Personal Story of the Chief of Staff to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman Based on His Notes and Diaries Made at the Time (New York: Whittlesey House, McGraw Hill Book Company, Inc., 1950) pp. 213-14. (2) Ernest J. King and Walter Muir Whitehill, Fleet Admiral King: A Naval Record (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1952), p. 525. (3) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 800.
60. (1) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 800-801; quotation, p. 801. (2) Arnold, Global Mission, p. 473.
61. See Story of J. Peene, Sr., atchd illustration.
62. The Stilwell Papers, page 251, has the text of the conversation.
63. (1) Story of J. Peene, Sr. (2) Elsewhere, Stilwell gives his impression of the President's wishes as: "Policy: 'We want to help China.'--Period." Stilwell Undated Paper (SUP) 65. (See Bibliographical Note.)
64. Story of J. Peene, Sr.
65. CM-IN 4651, Stilwell to Marshall, 7 Mar 44.
66. The Stilwell Papers, p. 252, quoting Roosevelt.
67. Interv with Marshall, 6 Jul 49.
68. Stilwell Diary, 7 Dec 43.
69. Stilwell Diary, 10 Dec 43.
70. Memo, Handy for Marshall, 31 Dec 43, sub: Equipping Chinese Divs, sent as CM-OUT 11706, Marshall to Sultan for Stilwell, 31 Dec 43.
71. Ltr, Lt Gen Frederick E. Morgan, COSSAC, to Secy, COS, 6 Jan 44. COSSAC (44) 5, AFHQ G-3 File, OCMH. Also published as CCS 446/1, 8 Jan 44, sub: Three Div Lift for ANVIL. ABC 384 (Europe) 1 Mar 43, Sec 2A, A48-224.
72. Min, CCS 138th Mtg, 7 Dec 43.
73. Rad AMSME 1720, Stilwell to Hearn, 7 Dec 43. Item 1502, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.
74. Rad AGWAR 919, Chiang to Roosevelt, 9 Dec 43. Item 1505A, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.
75. (1) CCS 417, 2 Dec 43, sub: Plan for Defeat of Japan. (2) CCS 426/1, 6 Dec 43, sub: Rpt to President and Prime Minister. (3) CCS 397 (rev), 3 Dec 43, sub: Specific Opns for Defeat of Japan.
76. (1) See Ch. I, above. (2) Rad, CCS to Mountbatten, 5 Dec 43; Rad, Wedemeyer to Mountbatten, 6 Dec 43; Rad, Mountbatten to COS, 11 Dec 43. SEAC War Diary.
77. Rad, SEAC (RL) 19, 19 Dec 43. ABC 384 (Burma) 8-25-42, Sec IV, A48-224.
78. Stilwell Black Book, 19 Dec 43.
79. Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 19 Dec 43. Item 1533, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.
80. Rad AGWAR 941, Chiang to Roosevelt. 17 Dec 43. Item 1529, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.
81. Rad COPIR 10, Mountbatten to Stilwell, 20 Dec 43. Item 1541, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.
82. Stilwell Black Book, 18 Dec 43.
83. (1) Stilwell Diary, 18 Dec 43. (2) Stilwell Black Book, 19 Dec 43. (3) Quotation from The Stilwell Papers, p. 265.
84. The Stilwell Papers, p. 266.
85. Stilwell Diary, 21 Dec 43.
86. The Stilwell Papers, p. 285. Stilwell's sixty-first birthday was on 20 March 1944.
87. (1) Stilwell Black Book, 19 Dec 43. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 263.
88. Rad AGWAR 947, Stilwell to Marshall, 19 Dec 43. Item 1537, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.
89. (1) Item 58, OPD Exec 10. (2) Rad WAR 4092, Roosevelt to Chiang, 20 Dec 43. Item 1546, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.
90. (1) Rad, Lt Gen Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, Prime Minister's and SAC's Personal Representative to Chungking, to Mountbatten, 23 Dec 43. SEAC War Diary. (2) Rad AM 2934, Hearn to Merrill, 28 Dec 43; Rad AM 2372, Sultan to Stilwell, 30 Dec 43. Items 1571, 1587, Bk 5 JWS Personal File. (3) CM-IN 1161, Hearn to Marshall, Handy, and Maj Gen Joseph T. McNarney, 2 Jan 44.
91. CM-IN 14577, Hearn to Stilwell and Marshall, 23 Dec 43.
92. Rad SEACOS 53, Mountbatten to COS, 24 Dec 43. SEAC War Diary.
93. Rad SEACOS 54, Mountbatten to COS, 27 Dec 43; Min, SAC's 37th Mtg, 27 Dec 43. SEAC War Diary.
94. (1) CCS 452, 30 Dec 43, sub: Cancellation of Opn PIGSTICK. (2) CCS 452/2, 6 Jan 44, sub: Cancellation of Opn PIGSTICK. (3) Rad, COS to Mountbatten, 29 Dec 43; Rad, Mountbatten to CCS, 6 Jan 44. SEAC War Diary.
95. (1) Rad, Churchill to Mountbatten, 7 Jan 44; Extract, SAC's Personal Diary, 28 Dec 43; Quotation from Min, SAC's Fifth Stf Mtg, 6 Jan 44. SEAC War Diary. (2) JPS 346, 2 Jan 44, sub: Cancellation of Opn PIGSTICK. (3) Notes by Brig. Gen. Frank N. Roberts on draft manuscript of this chapter. OCMH.
96. Memo, Gen Roberts, Chief, Strategy and Policy Gp, OPD, for ACofS OPD, 8 Jan 44, sub: Future Mil Value of China Theater; Memo, Billo for Roberts, 13 Jan 44, sub: Future Mil Value of China Theater. OPD 201 (Wedemeyer, A. C.), A47-30.