Chapter X
Putting Weight Behind the TRIDENT Decisions

When the TRIDENT Conference reduced ANAKIM to a limited operation to take north Burma, CBI Theater and Army Service Forces planners had to readjust their projects for supply of the Fourteenth Air Force and the U.S.-sponsored Chinese divisions down to what could be brought across north Burma. The President's simultaneous decision to back Chennault made it imperative that the flow of supplies into China be immediately and sharply increased. Dissatisfaction with the conduct of Allied operations in Southeast Asia led to the creation of a combined command, SEAC, or Southeast Asia Command.

Drafting a directive for SEAC offered the opportunity of resolving the conflicts in the TRIDENT decisions. Choosing SEAC's commander offered the opportunity of bringing a fresh approach to the problems of war in Asia. To the extent that discussions of SEAC's directive refocused attention on the problems of breaking China's blockade, such developments, from the standpoint of China Theater, would be constructive. On the other hand, if time was permitted to slip by while discussion explored all the byways of strategy in Southeast Asia, time so lost might never be regained. Just as resources allocated to Southeast Asia had to be weighed against the needs of other Allied theaters, so did time have to be handled as carefully as any other resource. Time for reforming the Chinese Army was almost gone, and time for deciding how to break the blockade of China, before the Japanese clamped it shut for all time, was also limited.

Allied Discussions of Southeast Asia Command

Churchill's proclamation of Southeast Asia Command on 18 June 1943 began a long discussion on the relationship of the new command to the several chiefs of staff organizations and on the choice of the new Supreme Allied Commander. Churchill's original proposals of 19 June were to create an Allied command for Southeast Asia, comprising British, Indian, American, and Chinese forces under an integrated Anglo-American staff. This proposal was a forward step. It would replace the hastily improvised system of 1942, which had placed


Burma under Wavell as Supreme Commander, India, had placed the Chinese troops in neighboring Yunnan under the Generalissimo as Supreme Commander, China Theater, had provided no clear relation between Wavell's and Stilwell's headquarters, and had produced so many misunderstandings and so few results.

In place of this loose coalition of Allied headquarters, Churchill suggested a Supreme Allied Commander, responsible for operations against the Japanese in east Asia and for the development of the air route to China. Churchill believed that the relation of the Supreme Commander to higher authority should follow as closely as possible what Churchill understood to be the MacArthur model. The Combined Chiefs should exercise general jurisdiction over grand strategic policy and over such relating factors as were necessary for proper implementation of that policy, while the British Chiefs of Staff would exercise jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to operational strategy, and all instructions to the Supreme Commander would be issued through them,1 thus establishing a relationship like that of the JCS to MacArthur.

Replying to Churchill, the President gave the proposed command his general approval but could not agree to three major provisions in the British plan: to placing the Generalissimo and his China Theater under the British Chiefs of Staff; to giving the British Chiefs of Staff the major share in determining the strategy of the proposed theater; and to accepting the Prime Minister's nominee, Air Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas, for the post of Supreme Allied Commander. The President pointed out that the Generalissimo was most unlikely to accept someone else as Supreme Commander over him. Because of the U.S. policy of aiding China, the President suggested that the new command conform to what he called the Eisenhower type of headquarters in the Mediterranean, with the British Chiefs of Staff acting as agents of the Combined Chiefs in transmitting the instructions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The President proposed Air Marshal Sir Arthur W. Tedder or Admiral A. B. Cunningham of the Royal Navy as Supreme Allied Commander. He readily agreed that Stilwell should be Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, for that would bring the Chinese into the arrangement, and he further agreed that the British Chiefs of Staff should name the commanders in chief for air, sea, and land, providing only that nothing in such an arrangement affected the Fourteenth Air Force.2

Churchill assured the President that the new command would not include the Generalissimo's China Theater but objected to Tedder's and Cunningham's leaving the Mediterranean. The Prime Minister's conception of Stilwell's role was a narrow one--command of the American and Chinese troops in SEAC, not the broad executive authority of a deputy. The British Chiefs of Staff feared


that with Stilwell's frequent trips to China he would be hard put to command part of the land and sea forces in SEAC. It was further revealed that the British Chiefs of Staff did not care for Stilwell in any role but were acquiescing in the interests of Allied unity. The Prime Minister desired that the British Chiefs of Staff should have the same authority in Southeast Asia that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had in the Southwest Pacific.3

Insisting on a larger share of American control in Southeast Asia, the President pointed out that as the tempo of the Pacific war increased, operations in Southeast Asia would have to be more closely co-ordinated with U.S. efforts in the entire Pacific. Centralized control in Washington would eventually be required not only to co-ordinate the Allied effort but also to insure the prompt redeployment of Allied resources from Europe to the Pacific after Germany's defeat. Therefore, it seemed unwise to split control of the war against Japan between London and Washington.4 To this, the British made no direct reply, but on 10 July Field Marshal Dill in Washington learned that the British Chiefs of Staff might decide to create a British Joint Southeast Asia Command, dealing with Stilwell on a simple liaison basis. It was an impasse, and matters were still unsettled when the next great Allied conference, QUADRANT, convened at Quebec in August.5

It was unfortunate that these discussions, time consuming as they were, took place after public announcement of the new command. General Headquarters (India) was now on notice that it was to be relieved of further share in the conduct of Burma operations but, until the new commander with his staff should arrive, General Headquarters (India) would be called on repeatedly for major decisions on matters which might have governing influence on the future operations of the new command.6

The QUADRANT Conference, Quebec, 19-24 August 1943

The President, the Prime Minister, and their Chiefs of Staff met at Quebec in August 1943 to weigh the situation caused by Italy's surrender. At this gathering the Combined Chiefs of Staff planners were able for the first time to submit a combined plan for the defeat of Japan. The planners believed that China offered the best potentialities for bombing Japan, for attacking Japanese communications to the South Seas, and for mounting an invasion of Japan. The planners mentioned use of B-29 very long range bombers against Japan but omitted any reference to the Marianas Islands. Their plan called for a converging attack from east and west to seize the Canton-Hong Kong area. From the east, the advance would be from island to island by sea, land, and air forces


climaxed by an amphibious assault on the China coast; from the west, the Generalissimo's divisions, revitalized by training and re-equipped by lend-lease arms, would drive overland to meet their newly landed allies. Then both forces would unite and march on north China. The year 1947 was set for operations against Japan proper. In preparing the plan, several disagreements between the British and Americans had developed over Burma operations. After the clearing of north Burma, the Americans suggested Rangoon's seizure, while the British favored bypassing Rangoon for Singapore.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff planners thought the general lines of advance in the plan were sound but feared that a struggle conducted at such a pace might result in a negotiated peace that would actually be a U.S. defeat. They therefore recommended that the JCS urge the preparation of a plan for defeating Japan twelve months after the fall of Germany. The principal theme in the exchanges which followed among the planners was the need for a plan leading to Japan's speedy defeat. A major campaign in China was not likely to survive such an approach.7

As a contribution toward Japan's speedy defeat, the AAF through General Arnold submitted a plan at QUADRANT to overcome Japan twelve months after the defeat of Germany (which was assumed as fall 1944) by bombarding her with China-based B-29's, beginning with 10 groups of 28 aircraft each, and increasing gradually to 20 groups. The effort would be supported by C-87's based around Calcutta, their number increasing from an initial 2,000 to 4,000. The bombers would be based in east China and would ultimately include all the heavy bombers of the United Nations. The project was called the Air Plan for the Defeat of Japan.8

The exchanges at Quebec between the President and his service advisers, on the one hand, and the Prime Minister and his chiefs of staff, on the other, closely followed the lines of TRIDENT. Once again the President and the Joint Chiefs stressed the need for seizing Burma in order to keep China in the war. The President thought that the line Burma-China was the shortest route toward Japan. The Joint Chiefs of Staff feared that operations in Sumatra would deflect the main effort in Southeast Asia from support of China, which was the sole political reason U.S. troops were present in Asia. Churchill agreed that


Sumatra was not on the direct line toward China but called its occupation a great strategic coup, whose alternative was nothing but "Akyab, and the right to toil through the swamps of Southern Burma."9 The significance of these discussions lay in the fact that once again the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff stressed the importance of the early reoccupation of Burma to reopen the line of communications from Rangoon, and that again there was no agreement among the Combined Chiefs on what operation should follow the reoccupation of north Burma.

The QUADRANT strategic decisions on CBI reaffirmed those of TRIDENT and left open the issue of whether Rangoon or Singapore would be the next step after occupation of north Burma. To American observers, the British seemed reluctant to use their resources in India to retake Burma in order to open the road to a China whose value as an ally they tended to minimize. They seemed far more interested in conserving their means for a mighty thrust at Singapore.10 Consistent with the dominant role of U.S. air power in CBI, and with the now firmly established priority of the cross-Channel assault over Mediterranean operations, the conferees directed the Combined Chiefs of Staff planners to prepare a new plan calling for defeat of Japan twelve months after Germany's defeat, and to include in this new approach the Air Plan for the Defeat of Japan by B-29 bombardment.11 The CCS did not attempt to make all decisions for future plans against Japan at QUADRANT, but left some for the next conference. However, they approved the proposals of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to begin an advance on Japan through the islands of the Central Pacific (the Marshalls and Gilberts). This would provide yet more pressure on Japan from the Pacific Ocean side, while steadily increasing Allied air power in China and improving the Chinese Army would complete the ring around Japan, wear down Japanese resources, and put weight on Japan from the direction of Asia. The convergence of the several lines of approach from east and west on the mainland of Asia would ultimately place Allied bombers and landing craft in north China, within easy range of Japan.12 The emphasis in the plans for the defeat of Japan as of QUADRANT still lay in establishing Allied power in north China. Approval of the JCS proposal for a drive across the Central Pacific did not minimize the importance of Chinese bases, for the part that Pacific islands could play in strategic aerial bombardment of Japan was not yet realized.


The QUADRANT decisions making possible a directive and a commander for the new Southeast Asia Command and logistical support for Allied operations in Asia were of the greatest interest and significance to CBI Theater headquarters. The Prime Minister, the President, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed that Vice-Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Royal Navy, former Chief of Combined Operations, should be Supreme Commander, Southeast Asia. The question of his command relation to the CCS was solved by the formula that the CCS would have "general jurisdiction on the strategy of the Southeast Asia Theater."13 The Joint Chiefs believed that this gave the Combined Chiefs control over which of several courses of action should be adopted, their sequence, and their timing.14

Planning Logistical Support

To support his operations Mountbatten would have the benefit of a major effort by Army Service Forces, whose chief, General Somervell, saw the difficulties in CBI as a great challenge to the resources and ingenuity of his organization. On taking command in India and beginning preparatory planning for SAUCY, General Auchinleck had become convinced of the difficulty and futility of operations in Burma and promptly reported as much to the conferees at Quebec. Since it was accepted by the Joint Chiefs that Burma had to be retaken to break the blockade of China, and since TRIDENT had decreed that operations in north Burma would come first, a line of communications to China would have to be created across north Burma. Army Service Forces' engineering and transport experts believed the logistical problems in India and Burma could be solved. Therefore, Somervell rejected Auchinleck's approach, stated that improvement of the Assam line of communications to an acceptable standard was well within American and British resources, and told Wheeler that a land route to China had to be opened as a matter of urgency. General Somervell asked the SOS commander to radio his views to Quebec.15

While Somervell was awaiting word from India, Auchinleck sent the conferees at Quebec a long radio surveying the situation as it appeared to General Headquarters (India). Auchinleck and his staff warned that land operations could be undertaken only at the expense of the airlift to China. The Assam line of communications seemed unable to carry stores for its own improvement without handicapping combat operations. If ATC operations received first priority, then the shortfall must be borne either by the Chinese forces based on Ledo or be shared by them and 4 Corps at Imphal. If the offensive from Ledo was canceled, Auchinleck went on, he could improve 4 Corps' positions in the Imphal area, though an advance as far as Kalewa would be impossible.


Because floods from the monsoon rains had breached the Bengal and Assam Railway in many places, concentrating resources on a campaign meant that not until March or April 1944 could the line of communications carry any tonnage for its own improvement. If the line of communications was to be doubled in capacity by 1945, then operations should be canceled and allotments of tonnage to improve the line of communications should take priority. Auchinleck did not believe that abandoning the campaign in Burma would involve a prolongation of the war.

Turning to the actual details of operating the lines of communications, Auchinleck believed that a pipeline from Calcutta northward, though of great long-term value, would through its construction throw an increased burden of unknown size on the lines of communications. He conceded that the railway was not operated at British or American standards, but since the cars had to be ferried across the unbridged and turbulent Brahmaputra at several points, such criticism seemed irrelevant. He agreed that military control of the railway from Pandu, Assam (on the east side of the Brahmaputra, over halfway up the line), forward was essential.

Turning to priorities over the lines of communications, Auchinleck assured the British Chiefs of Staff that preparations for 1943-44 operations were being continued on the basis of first priority for Hump tonnage of 10,000 tons and an air offensive against the Japanese, which absorbed resources otherwise available for the improvement of the lines of communications.16

These views did not meet the approval of the British Chiefs of Staff. Laying Auchinleck's radio before the Combined Chiefs, they confessed their inability to see how General Headquarters (India) had arrived at its appraisals and asked that the CCS reach a decision on Burma operations. To General Headquarters (India), the British Chiefs replied that since the line of communications was known to be inefficiently operated, the task of remedying the situation should not be beyond the ability of India Command.17

The issue of improving the Assam line of communications to a point that would support both Chennault's operations in China and the projected offensive in Burma and the related issue of building a communications system across north Burma to replace the once-contemplated line from Rangoon northward were now before the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The CCS's advisers put the Ledo Road across north Burma first in their staff study:

The opening of an overland route to CHINA will greatly facilitate operations and may well assist in bringing hostilities to an earlier conclusion than would otherwise be possible. In addition to meeting requirements for 1943/1944 operations in BURMA, and the short-term projects which are necessary to make them possible, it is necessary because of the


Herculean task ahead to make urgent preparations for completing the overland route and ensuring an adequate supply of stores for delivery over the route when opened.18

Preliminary studies had revealed differences between the British and American staffs as to possible opening dates and capacity of the Ledo Road. The staff paper explicitly did not try to judge between them but remarked that all agreed the project was urgent and should be executed at the earliest possible date, subject to such operations as the Combined Chiefs might decide upon.

Regardless of the date the Ledo Road was completed, the CCS's advisers stated that it was now time to examine the tonnage to be carried over it and to begin preparing the Assam line of communications to bring forward this tonnage plus that needed to maintain the road. As of 1 November 1943 the Assam line of communications could maintain only minimum air and ground forces in Burma, construction of the road, and 10,000 tons a month over the Hump. Nothing was left for the Ledo Road's traffic or operation. It was therefore necessary to build up the Assam line of communications and it was further observed that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had just agreed to provide men and matériel to build and operate the Ledo Road.19

In writing the paper, the CCS's advisers did not draw on the views of SOS CBI, which were dated 22 August. SOS CBI had no doubts whatever that the Assam line of communications could be speedily built up and called the target figure, which had seemed almost impossible to General Headquarters (India), of 3,400 tons per day by 1 November 1943 over the line of communications "insignificant" and, by implication, easy to meet. To men with experience in American railroading, the figure was picayune.20

The CCS approved a great increase in the capacity of the Assam line of communications and ordered General Auchinleck to begin the necessary work prior to the arrival in India of the new Supreme Allied Commander. Also, the CCS ordered the Assam line of communications made capable of carrying 220,000 tons a month by 1 January 1946. This great increase would be exclusive of deliveries of gasoline through two 6-inch pipelines ordered built from the Bengal pumping terminals to the Assam airfields. The United States would provide the men and matériel necessary to meet these goals.21

Providing the men, the matériel, and the guidance would be the province of General Somervell and the Army Service Forces. Challenged and inspired by the magnitude of the task, Somervell wrote to his staff:

The development of the line of communications from India to China bids fair to be the greatest engineering undertaking of the War and perhaps the major effort insofar as supply


is concerned. It is essential that this subject be given the attention that it deserves and that we are in a position at all times to back up and even anticipate the demands which are made on us in the way of men and materials.

I want an India Committee set up for the A. S. F. composed of outstanding men in their fields.22

Since the jurisdiction of the Combined Chiefs of Staff ended at the border of China, nothing was said in the QUADRANT decisions about moving supplies from the ATC terminals at Kunming to the Fourteenth's east China airfields. Responsibility for the solution of logistical problems within China Theater remained with its Supreme Commander, the Generalissimo.

The CCS's approval and Somervell's forceful support were, in effect, a new charter for the SOS in CBI. Men and matériel would now be forthcoming for an effort to create a logistical base capable of supporting major Allied operations. It would, however, be many months before these efforts created the expanded logistical base, and still more months before the better supply situation made itself felt in operations. Here was the time element. Seventeen months had passed since Stilwell arrived in Chungking to improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army. More months would pass before the flow of supplies to the U.S.-sponsored divisions in China reached an appreciable level. Into these calculations of space and time an independent element could introduce itself--the will of the enemy.

SEAC's Organization and Directive

Following QUADRANT, Marshall undertook to explain to Stilwell the conference decisions and Stilwell's position under the new Supreme Allied Commander, Admiral Mountbatten. The strategic decisions, Marshall pointed out, were a reaffirmation of TRIDENT, calling for the occupation of north Burma (D Day, mid-February 1944) to establish overland communications with China, and by taking Myitkyina to broaden the air route to China, for its saturation with transport aircraft could now be foreseen. Preparations would continue for amphibious operations in spring 1944 on the scale of those planned at TRIDENT to take Akyab and Ramree. There was no decision on specific amphibious operations, for the British Chiefs of Staff still hoped for a commitment to Sumatra. And the Hump route was to be built up to intensify operations against the Japanese, keep China in the war, maintain a larger Fourteenth Air Force in China, and equip and train Chinese forces.23

The QUADRANT conferees had recognized that operations in China, operations in Burma, and long-term projects for improving the Assam line of communications all competed for tonnage being carried over the Assam line of


communications. The solution was to give the Supreme Allied Commander authority to decide Indian and Burmese priorities, under the principle that he should give preference to operations in north Burma but at the same time keep in mind the long-term needs of the line of communications.24

The command relationships within SEAC were of the greatest complexity. Marshall told Stilwell there was no pretense that they represented sound administrative practice but that they had been openly and consciously so arranged by the CCS and their superiors because of the Government of India's constitutional position in the Commonwealth and because of the Generalissimo's position and methods.25

Creation of SEAC meant there were now three geographic theaters and one operational, representing the interests of three nations and the three services, all operating in the same area. SEAC was an Anglo-American command which included Burma, Ceylon, Sumatra, and Malaya, but not India. India was under India Command (Auchinleck), with responsibilities toward the Middle East, where Indian divisions were fighting, as well as to the Far East. In China was the Generalissimo's China Theater. The American operational theater, CBI, operated in all three geographic areas. It was not subordinate to SEAC.

The Chinese Army in India, commanded by Stilwell, was based on India Command, and was to fight in SEAC's area under SEAC command. The Fourteenth Air Force was based in China, supplied from India, and formally under the Generalissimo. Although SEAC was given logistic support by India Command, the latter's administration, defense, and internal security were under Auchinleck, who in turn was responsible to the Government of India. As representative of the War Cabinet and as Viceroy of India, Field Marshal Wavell was priorities arbiter between India Command and SEAC, but each could appeal from his decision to the British Chiefs of Staff.

Liaison between SEAC and the Generalissimo was attempted by suggesting Stilwell, one of the Generalissimo's chiefs of staff, as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander. It was Stilwell's task to see that the Chinese played their part; Marshall called the mission "No easy one!"26 To strengthen the SEAC staff, Marshall offered the services of General Wheeler as principal administrative officer (G-4). Mountbatten accepted with pleasure.27

Stilwell and Mountbatten began their relationship on good terms. Marshall had predicted Stilwell would find the Admiral "a breath of fresh air," and Stilwell agreed, noting in the faithful diary: "Louis is a good egg--full of


VICE-ADM. LORD LOUIS MOUNTBATTEN with General Stillwell in Burma. (Photograph taken in March 1944).


enthusiasm and also of disgust with inertia and conservatism." So, Stilwell could approach his work as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander with obedience to a little homily from Marshall in July that there had to be a genuine co-operation with the British, who were the United States' principal ally. Anything that tended to split the two nations had its repercussions around the globe. If the British played "God Save the King," General Handy added, Stilwell should at least stand up.28

The QUADRANT conferees ordered some American infantry assigned to SEAC for organization and training along the lines that Brigadier Wingate had devised.29 Wingate was present at Quebec, where his views, powerfully supported by the Prime Minister, won general acceptance. After his eruption into Burma a few months before, Wingate had meditated long on his experiences and was now convinced that he had the way to baffle and ultimately to ruin the Japanese.

Wingate proposed the establishment of jungle strong points by Long-Range Penetration Groups (LRPG's or Chindits) landed behind the Japanese lines by glider and transport aircraft. From these the Chindit infantry would fan out to raid the Japanese lines of communications. The Japanese, for their part, could dash themselves against the strong points or wear themselves out chasing the raiding parties. Wingate hoped these tactics would be so successful that ultimately all British and Indian divisions in Southeast Asia would be organized for long-range penetration.30

Not only did Wingate's projects receive the CCS's blessing, but Marshall agreed to form an American long range penetration group with the code name GALAHAD. He and Arnold bent themselves to the improvisation of especial air units to support the Chindits and GALAHAD. Two young airmen of high repute, Col. Philip G. Cochrane and Lt. Col. John R. Alison, were ordered to SEAC to activate and command No. 1 Air Commando, a custom-made aggregation of liaison aircraft, helicopters, light bombers, fighters, gliders, and transports.31

The Prime Minister's directive to Mountbatten for SEAC was:

  1. Your attention is drawn to the decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, QUADRANT, which were approved by the President of the United States and by me on behalf of the War Cabinet. Pursuant to these decisions and acting in harmony with them, you will take up your appointment as Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia, provided for in my memorandum and, within the limits of your command as defined therein, you will conduct all operations against Japan. . . . You will be responsible to the British Chiefs of Staff, who are authorized by Combined Chiefs of Staff to exercise jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to operations and will be the channel through which all directives will be issued to you.


  1. Your prime duty is to engage the Japanese as closely and continuously as possible in order by attrition to consume and wear down the enemy's forces, especially his air forces, thus making our superiority tell and forcing the enemy to divert his forces from the Pacific theatre--and secondly, but of equal consequence, to maintain and broaden our contacts with China, both by the air route and by establishing direct contact through Northern Burma inter alia by suitably organised, air-supplied ground forces of the greatest possible strength.

  2. You will utilise to the full the advantage of the sea power and air power, which will be at your disposal, by seizing some point or points which (a) induce a powerful reaction from the enemy, and (b) give several options for a stroke on your part in the light of the enemy's aforesaid reaction. For this purpose, in making your proposals for amphibious operations in 1944, you will select the point of attack which seems best calculated to yield the above conditions, and will execute the operation approved. You will also prepare plans for the second phase of your campaign in 1944 contingent upon the reaction extorted from the enemy.

  3. At least four weeks before your first major amphibious operation you will be furnished by His Majesty's Government with a Battle-fleet. . . .

  4. You will proceed to form, as resources come to hand, a combined striking force or circus which will be available as the foundation of whatever amphibious descent is eventually chosen. . . .

  5. You will, at the earliest moment, report your plans, dates and requirements, bearing in mind the advantages of speed.32

    23rd October 1943 10, Downing Street, S.W.1.

Stilwell Resumes His Chief of Staff Role

While Stilwell waited for Mountbatten to arrive and present himself to the Chinese, he again essayed his role as chief of staff to the Supreme Commander of China Theater and presented the Generalissimo with a series of new proposals--for an offensive to forestall the inevitable Japanese reaction to the Chennault plan, for the creation of sixty first-rate Chinese divisions, and for some impetus behind the Y-Force preparations. These proposals were not presented in an optimistic spirit, for Stilwell was fully aware of his situation. Without power to bargain, without tonnage to equip the U.S.-sponsored Chinese divisions, and without the President's support, he was limited to persuasion and argument. He also expected to be held responsible for defense of the Fourteenth Air Force's east China bases even though that organization had received the bulk of Hump tonnage. Stilwell's comment was:

"Now with PROJECT 8 [for Hump augmentation] in view, the development of the Chinese Army will be a secondary consideration. The air will get all the supplies and we'll be left to struggle along in the mud unaided. But they'll expect us to damn well produce a force that can protect the fancy boys while they do their spectacular stuff."33

On 6 September 1943 he proposed "a diversion in the North West to


forestall a Japanese reaction [to the Chennault plan]. It will be treated with the contempt it deserves, and due to FDR's attitude I am powerless to do anything about it."34 This proposal was Stilwell's first suggestion that the Generalissimo order Nationalist and Communist divisions both to attack the Japanese and that the Generalissimo give the Chinese Communists something from his own stocks as an incentive for action against the Japanese. Feeling that such a plan would test the sincerity of the Chinese Communists' protestations that they were earnestly fighting the Japanese, Stilwell proposed:

The following plan, based entirely on military considerations, is offered as practicable and desirable.

  1. The 18th Group Army [Communist], the 22nd Army and the 35th Army occupy a position deep on the flank of the Jap forces in North China. This force could be used to advantage in creating a threat to the P'ing-Han Railroad, and the Kweihua-Kalgan area. This action would counteract in large measure any plan of the Japs to push up the Yangtze from Ichang, or towards Changsha from Hankow.

  2. Such a threat would be greatly strengthened by a move of the troops in the Sian area into Southern Shansi and towards Chengchow. The Jap garrison of Shansi is not big enough to stop a concerted move of this kind. They could stop it at some points, but at others, progress would be almost certain. The effect of a serious threat in this general area would almost certainly prevent the Japs from committing themselves in the Yangtze Valley, and would thus reduce the present serious danger to Szechwan and Yunnan.

  3. The plan suggested is as follows:

    1. Fu Tso Yi with the 35th Army to operate East along the P'ing-Sui Railroad, interrupting it with Cavalry raids and isolating the Jap garrison at Paot'ou.

    2. Teng Pao Shan with the 22nd Army, to operate in conjunction with Fu Tso Yi between Paot'ou and Kwei-hua.

    3. The 18th Group Army [Communist] to move into the Wu T'ai area and raid the P'ing-Han Railroad.

    4. The Shansi group of divisions to raid the T'ung P'u Railroad. Very little can be expected from them, but at least they can give the semblance of activity.

    5. Hu Tsung-Nan to displace several divisions towards the East, crossing the river, at several points and threatening an attack on Chengchow and Sin-siang.

    To prevent the Japs from concentrating against them one at a time, the above moves should be simultaneous. If they are, there will almost certainly be holes in the defense, and the Japs will be forced to move troops from other areas to hold their positions. There is nothing to be lost in this arrangement, and much to be gained. If we remain inactive and leave the initiative to the Japs, they will move troops somewhere and force us to shift in order to meet the threat. In our case, it is much more serious to allow this than in theirs, because any diversions will affect our future plans in Yunnan, on which so much depends. Even if no success is gained anywhere, the mere fact of movement will make the Japs hesitant about committing troops until the real nature of our threat is determined. This is what we want--to make the Japs guess and to keep them from throwing us off balance by just such diversionary attacks as the one proposed against them.

  4. I recommend that this plan be adopted, that the troops in the Northwest be given sufficient supplies to put it into effect, and that it be scheduled for early October. At the worst, it costs nothing in troops and little in supplies, it makes use of units that are otherwise


    idle, and it will make plain the degree of reliability of the forces in the Northwest, [i. e., reveal whether the Chinese Communists would accept an order from the Generalissimo to attack the Japanese.]

  1. If we do not move, the Japs will.35

While the Generalissimo was considering this proposal and Stilwell was drafting still more, new allies in China Theater brought fresh hope to Stilwell. Madame Chiang and her sister Madame H. H. Kung, the wife of China's Vice-President of the Executive Yuan and Minister of Finance, invited Stilwell to the Chiang residence and offered their cooperation. Their motives are unknown; however, in the next few weeks it became apparent that there was a breach between Mesdames Chiang and Kung on the one hand and their brother, T. V. Soong, on the other. Madame Chiang's decision to back Stilwell was a major change; six months before she had been ardent in support of Chennault.

Stilwell was quick to seize the proffered help: "Whatever the cause, they mean business [Army reform] now and maybe we can get somewhere." He met Madame Chiang again for lunch, and she revealed a firm grasp of the essentials, that in China armed power and political power were two sides of the same coin.36 Stilwell began his collaboration with Madame Chiang by giving her copies of the memorandums he was preparing for the Generalissimo, then explaining them to her so that she might present them successfully to the Generalissimo. With them went several brief comments on the problems of war in China. To give background and meaning to his proposals for China Theater, Stilwell capped his presentation by giving Madame Chiang a group of little essays on the art of war.37

The memorandums on 5 and 16 September from Stilwell to the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang were covered by a note pointing out that the time for China to do her share in the Burma operations was almost at hand, and that only the most energetic preparations would "put the troops in condition to carry it out." To meet this need, Stilwell asked for a general directive from the Generalissimo to the War Ministry on the first and second Thirty Divisions for Burma and east China, with a hint that the time had come to reach a firm decision on which were the first Thirty Divisions; for directives to the Y-Force commanders in Yunnan; for specific orders on a unified Chinese command in Yunnan; for orders on "SOS set-up, trucks, road repair, replacements, extra units for Kwangsi and Yunnan, ten more divisions for the first thirty, rations, my status, training in second thirty divisions, assignment of a commander for the second thirty, and reorganization of both first and second thirty."38


Specifically, Stilwell asked that preparation of the Y-Force receive first priority, with target date 1 December, and that reorganization of the second Thirty Divisions, in the Kweilin area, start at once. A plan of operations from Yunnan, consistent with the general plan the Generalissimo had already approved, was sketched to illustrate the need for more men in that province. The need for a commander in chief in Yunnan with clear authority over all reserves there was stressed. The last memorandum gave a list of specific orders, covering all vital points, which Stilwell believed the Generalissimo could, if he would, validate with his signature.

  1. General Ch'en Ch'eng is designated as commander of all troops in Yunnan and Kwangsi provinces.

  2. The C. E. F., S. O. S. will embrace all supply activities forward of Hou Ch'in Pu depots in Kunming.

  3. Extra divisions will be designated at once to fill the list of the first thirty divisions.

  4.          [Space left by Stilwell] is designated to command the second thirty divisions. He will confer with General Ho Ying chin and General Stilwell on reorganization and training, which will start at once.

  5. Every effort will be made to bring all units to strength as soon as possible. For this purpose complete units may be transferred from other war zones.

  6. Two more armies will be furnished as general reserve in the Yunnan area.

  7. The necessary trucks will be furnished at once--civilian trucks may be requisitioned, under a plan to replace them later.

  8. The program of road repair will be pushed energetically. Labor may be forced where necessary.

  9. The ration for the Yunnan troops will be improved.

  10. General Stilwell is directed as joint Chief of Staff to report direct to the Generalissimo on the progress of preparations.39

In sharp contrast to his earlier custom of ignoring Stilwell's memorandums, the Generalissimo promptly answered these in affirmative tones on 21 and 28 September. His changed attitude may well reflect Madame Chiang's support of Stilwell. Unfortunately, it was now September 1943 and very late to begin reform even if each of the Generalissimo's statements had been immediately translated into action.

In regard to the all-important question of the Thirty Divisions, Stilwell's memorandum on 5 September had pointed out that "for various reasons, the first thirty division plan has been so changed that now, counting in the 60th Army and the N22d and N38th Divisions, it amounts to only 22 divisions." So Stilwell "assumed" that the Y-Force under Chen Cheng would be considered as the first Thirty Divisions and have first priority on training and equipment.40


To this point, the Generalissimo replied with a new and revised list of divisions for re-equipment. In March 1943, he had ordered re-equipping the 2d, 5th, 6th, 8th, 52d, 53d, 54th, 60th, 71st, 74th, and 93d Armies.41 Between March and September, new orders and counterorders had whittled the total divisions to twenty.42 Now the Generalissimo raised it back to thirty, by ordering the re-equipping of each division of the New First Army, of the 36th Division, plus the two best divisions of the 2d, 5th, 6th, 10th, 31st, 52d, 53d, 54th, 60th, 71st, 74th, and 93d Armies. (The newly added armies are in boldface.)43 It was now two and one half years since Soong had requested arms for thirty divisions; Stilwell had to hope that this latest list of the thirty divisions would be more enduring than the previous ones.

Warned by Stilwell that the Chinese had furnished men for only five battalions of American-equipped field artillery, of the nineteen needed for the Y-Force, the Generalissimo replied that the War Ministry had been ordered to prepare plans within the next fortnight for creating the fourteen battalions. The Generalissimo agreed that cadres from the second Thirty Divisions would begin training 1 December 1943. Urged again by Stilwell to cut the unwieldy mass of three hundred-odd Chinese divisions by 50 percent, the Generalissimo replied: "Your suggestion is very important to the China War Theater as a whole" and dropped the subject. With regard to replacements for the Y-Force to bring its units up to strength, the Generalissimo said that he would order General Chen Cheng to do his best to fill the gaps in the Y-Force.

On the ten specific points for immediate action which Stilwell had presented, the Generalissimo took refuge in delay. Unity of command in Yunnan would be established when necessary. The tangled Chinese SOS system in Yunnan would retain its status quo until General Chen assumed command of both the southern and western Yunnan fronts. The Ministry of War would find as many replacements as possible and do something about improving the ration. A commander for the second Thirty Divisions would be appointed in due course. One hint of offensive action did appear; preparations would be made for capturing I-chang and Wuhan (the Wu-chang-Hankow area) with the second Thirty Divisions.44

Stilwell judged the moment had now come for a formal presentation of his views on China and its problems. After almost twelve months' silence, the Generalissimo was now corresponding with Stilwell and hinting at action. Moreover, from 14 September on, Stilwell knew a campaign for his removal was under way. Surveying the Chungking situation, he decided that General


Ho was inspiring the drive.45 Stilwell also knew that a variety of charges were being launched against him, that he was "haughty," "anti-Chinese," that he would not "permit Chinese officers to approach the British," and that he signed papers as a U.S. officer, not as joint chief of staff to the Generalissimo.46

The vehicle for presenting Stilwell's views was a note signed on 29 September by Stilwell as "Joint Chief of Staff for the Generalissimo," and titled Program for China. In it Stilwell pointed out in so many words that sixty reformed divisions "will assure the Central Government of obedience to its orders." Program for China candidly appealed to the self-interest of the Nationalist regime. Madame Chiang received a copy.


CHUNGKING, CHINA, 29 September, 1943

China's main needs at the moment, as I see them, are as follows:

  1. A definite policy of reorganization and training, covered by a general directive, issued by the Generalissimo.

  2. A simplifying and speeding up of procedure in the War Ministry to permit of quicker action.

  3. A reduction, of 50%, of existing units, accomplished by amalgamation.

  4. The formation of two field armies, one composed of the first 30 divisions, the other of the second 30.

  5. Elimination of unfit and inefficient officers.

(The two armies in paragraph 4 to be the regular Chinese Army, all other units to be second line troops, the best of the second line troops to be used as garrison units and the others gradually inactivated. They can be reduced first to brigades, and then by drafts to police work, gendarmes, anti-smuggling, etc., to be eliminated as troop units.)

China cannot carry the load she is burdened with at present. It is impossible to properly feed and pay her large army. The result is that nearly all units are under strength, full of sickness, immobile, and inefficient. If the army were a person, a surgical operation would be performed at once. I propose such an operation for the army, in the belief that [if] it is not performed, the patient will die.

Bad cases require radical treatment. A reduction of units by 50% would cure many of the ills we are suffering from. The remaining units would be stronger, and a large number of men would be released to go back to the farms. Ten good divisions are certainly better than twenty poor ones.

How many of China's 300-odd divisions could possibly be brought to bear against the enemy? Only those where the enemy chooses to attack, with a few exceptions. Of what use, then, are the others? There are many divisions that have not fought at all, or so little as to be a negligible factor.

The designation of two groups of divisions as the regular army of China has many advantages. These troops can be fully equipped and trained. They can be paid and fed and cared for properly. They will then be at least three times as effective as an equal number of the divisions that now exist. They will have a keen sense of loyalty to the Central Government. They can be made mobile and moved to wherever they may be needed. They can quickly become a strong, efficient striking force, backed up by necessary auxiliary units and supplied by a working S. O. S.

The plan can be put into effect as follows:


  1. Begin training the remaining divisions in the first 30, and gradually move them to the Yunnan-Kweichow area. If and when the Burma Road is opened, the C. A. I. [Chinese Army in India] can join the group. Meanwhile training should continue, in anticipation of the receipt of equipment. The first 30, after action in Burma, will be seasoned and experienced, and can then be moved to the Hengyang-Kweilin area, where they will be available for further operations. With such a force in that area, all threats to Chungking and Kunming will be removed.

  2. Meanwhile, set up a school in Kweilin and train the officers of the second thirty divisions. After graduates return to their divisions, send U.S. instructor groups to supervise training there. Gradually move the divisions of this group, by exchange with divisions now there, to the Hunan-Kiangsi area, to put them into a position threatening Ichang and Hankow.

  3. By the time the first 30 have been equipped and moved to the Hengyang-Kweilin area, the second thirty will be ready for their equipment.

  4. Build up the services for the second 30 by cadres taken from the S. O. S. of the first 30.

  5. Of the best remaining divisions, designate 30 as garrison units and leave them in key defensive areas--Sian, Loyang, Lao Ho K'ou, Chekiang, Northern Kiangsi, Shiukwan, etc. These units will not be expected to move; they will be used on the defensive only; and will not need the equipment that the first and second 30 will get.

  6. The remaining divisions should be inactivated in one way or another. They can be cut down to brigades at once, by order, and a maximum strength of 4,000 each can be established. Very few of them have more than that, anyway. Some of them can be used to form S. O. S. for the first and second 30 division groups, and to supply replacements.

  7. The problem of provincial loyalty will disappear as soon as the first and second 30 are constituted. These two groups will assure the Central Government of obedience to its orders.

  8. The problem of surplus officers will have to be solved. Junior officers can be given the chances [sic] of demonstrating their ability at the schools. Those who cannot qualify should be released from the army. The number can be cut materially in this way. Senior officers can be sent to the garrison units and carried as extra numbers for the time being. For the surplus ones of very high rank, an advisory body, without authority, but with pay, can be established at Chungking, and they can be used here as a planning board.

The above is a radical procedure. Without it, or something similar, the Chinese Army cannot be expected to pay [sic] its part. The eyes of the world are on China, and now is the time to take vigorous action. The manifesto of the C. E. C. [Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang] states that "It is China's responsibility to undertake the major operations on the East Asiatic continent." This will be impossible without a thorough reorganization. With it, China will be able to do her part and refute her critics, and will emerge at the end of the war with the means of assuring her stability.47

Joint Chief of Staff for the Generalissimo.

Writing to the Secretary of War on 12 October 1943, Stilwell summarized the above program for Stimson. Stilwell doubted that the Generalissimo would accept it unless the Chinese leader was told he would have to agree to it or lose U.S. support. But, as the Secretary knew, Stilwell had no power to bargain with the Generalissimo. Stilwell saw his work in China as just a struggle to get the Chinese to live up to their promises. Then, most significantly, he told the Secretary that if he succeeded in putting through the second Thirty Divisions program he would have fulfilled his mission to improve the combat effectiveness


of the Chinese Army, a mission in which he had had no real support and been constantly plagued by the Chinese Ministry of War.48

Soong Attempts To Have Stilwell Recalled

Alarming reports from the Fourteenth Air Force and from the Chinese Army in India reached Soong in early September. The nonappearance of the reinforcements promised to the Fourteenth Air Force at TRIDENT and the vigor of the Japanese reaction depressed Chennault, and on 5 September he reported again to the President and Hopkins, in tones of discouragement. Chennault made no charges against Stilwell but showed in detail how far the Fourteenth Air Force fell short of having the aircraft and supplies originally promised. The Fourteenth's aggressive commander pointed out that his weakness in fighter aircraft put him far behind schedule, because by September 1943 he had expected to have air superiority, and he told the President that he was fighting against heavy odds.49 The two squadrons of medium bombers promised to Chennault were being held back in India by Stratemeyer, but Stratemeyer had not so informed Chennault or the Generalissimo.50

On 16 September the President apologized to Madame Chiang through Stilwell for the shortfalls in the Chennault program. He regretted that bad weather, floods, and failure to complete the Assam airfields on schedule had interfered, but he assured her that replacements and reinforcements for the Fourteenth Air Force were on the way.51

From India, Lt. Gen. Sun Li-jen, whose 38th Division was organized from Soong's Salt Gabelle troops,52 sent an extremely glum report on 10 September. His division, he reported, was 3,000 men understrength; malaria had been dreadful, and his division would probably have 50 percent casualties before it reached its first objective. Sun's request for a tank battalion had been turned down by Stilwell, undoubtedly because the latter could not understand its importance. On the supply side, General Sun commented that air supply would be unable to keep up with his troops, so that two transport battalions (i.e., coolies) would have to be attached to his division.53

After receiving these reports from Chennault and Sun, Soong on 15 September


submitted to the President a plan for a complete reorganization of the China Theater. His paper called for placing China on the Combined Chiefs of Staff and the Munitions Assignments Board. A Chinese officer would become Supreme Commander, China Theater, and another Chinese would become Chief of Staff of China Theater, thus eliminating Stilwell. These two Chinese officers would have American deputies. "All military units of whatever nationality operating in this theater, as well as the China-India Air Transport Command, should be placed under the orders of the Theater Commander." Mountbatten's appointment, said Soong, forced a re-examination of Stilwell's position:

At present he is Chief of Staff of the China Theater and has independent command of the U.S. Air Force in China, India, and Burma. He also commands the SOS in India and China, Air Transport Command between India and China, and the Chinese Ramgarh divisions, and has some undefined authority over the Chinese Expeditionary Troops now in Yunnan. In addition he had been given authority by the War Department, without the concurrence of China, over the Chinese lend-lease program. The straddling of authority over such multifarious spheres is making for friction which may dangerously imperil future campaigns.54

Soong was anxious that the Chinese be brought under the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Such an arrangement was not possible at the present time, he pointed out, because the Generalissimo as Chief of State could not discuss matters as one of the Combined Chiefs of Staff nor could he be subordinate to them.55

Referred by the President to General Marshall, Soong met a polite refusal to alter the existing command structure. One excellent reason against making the Chinese privy to all the secret meetings of the CCS was that Chinese codes were not secure. Every disclosure to the Chinese was a calculated risk. By August 1943 the United States knew Japan had broken the Chinese codes, and Marshall so informed Soong. By the nature of the affair, the United States could not be certain how long the Japanese had been reading Soong's radio messages, nor could the United States be sure that later Chinese codes would be more secure. Messages from Soong to the Generalissimo were being intercepted from Japanese broadcasts, some of them originating in China.56

Soong then once again brought Chennault's needs to the President's attention, quoting a cable from the Generalissimo which stated that Chennault had on hand only 85 fighters operational plus 20 repairable and 9 medium bombers operational with 7 repairable. The President turned the matter over to General Marshall, expressing his concern, and adding: "I wish you would get behind this again and vigorously push our agreed plans."57


While Soong was seeking Stilwell's recall in Washington, the campaign against Stilwell in Chungking was steadily increasing in violence. The Generalissimo was being told some extraordinary things about him by a member of the Institute of Pacific Relations, who was reported to Stilwell as having said that Stilwell "was behind a plan to push PEANUT aside, put T. V. [Soong] at the head of civil affairs, and Chen Cheng in command of the Army. So that, in effect, I would command the Army. May [Mme. Chiang] had this dope on 9/28 when I saw her. Of course, the PEANUT had it too. The effect on the latter may be imagined."58 And again:

Ella [Madame Kung] had to go and see a friend so May and I had a conference on our troubles. It seems that PEANUT has been all tied up in knots over misunderstandings. The naval strength [in the Bay of Bengal] for instance. Bum interpreters. She says to put in to PEANUT the warning about Burma.

Also I was in Dutch over the North-west proposal [for an attack on the Japanese to forestall their reaction to the Chennault plan]. I should know the Reds won't take orders. Told her it would show them up to the world if they didn't. (She got it).59

Stilwell Restored to Favor

In October 1943 Admiral Mountbatten and General Somervell arrived in New Delhi en route to Chungking. Somervell was a presidential emissary, whose mission was to present the Southeast Asia Command to the Generalissimo and secure his formal assent to the new Allied command structure for Southeast Asia. Very soon after Somervell arrived in New Delhi, he encountered Soong, who was also hastening to Chungking. Soong stated that President Roosevelt had agreed to recall Stilwell, of which news Somervell had received no hint in Washington. Soong also warned Mountbatten that relations "between General Stilwell and Chinese troops" were very bad, and that to issue orders appointing Stilwell as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander would have "disastrous irrevocable repercussions."60

Mountbatten delayed briefly in New Delhi to attend to the myriad details of setting up a new headquarters, and Somervell went on to Chungking. There he met with the Generalissimo, while Soong interpreted. The Chinese leader left no doubt that he wanted Stilwell's immediate removal.61 Meanwhile, in Washington Marshall considered recalling Stilwell and naming Somervell to replace him in command of CBI, with Lt. Gen. Jacob Devers to be commanding general of Army Service Forces.62 Marshall knew that Stilwell did not have


the President's liking or support, and, greatly respecting Stilwell's talents as a tactician and trainer, was now seriously considering his transfer to a post where those talents could have full opportunity.63

At this point Somervell received a War Department radio ordering him to stay on in CBI until further orders. The order made Somervell think his position a delicate one, for he feared that if he succeeded Stilwell, he might be considered to have had a share in removing an officer whom he greatly respected and to whose support he was deploying the resources of Army Service Forces. The radio strengthened Somervell's existing resolve to do his best for Stilwell.64

Admiral Mountbatten arrived in Chungking on 16 October to establish cordial relations between himself and the Generalissimo. Somervell as soon as possible told Mountbatten of the Generalissimo's formally expressed desire to have Stilwell recalled. The Generalissimo's wish was a rude initiation into the problems of Mountbatten's new command, and the two men discussed it at length. The new Supreme Allied Commander concluded that he had no desire to use Chinese troops if the officer who had commanded them for two years was removed on the eve of active operations, and authorized Somervell so to inform the Generalissimo.65

When Somervell described the situation to Stilwell, the latter was apparently surprised and angered. He had known of the attacks on him, but the Generalissimo had answered his memoranda, which was a great change from the Chinese leader's usual practice, and Madame Chiang was his ally, so that the sudden demand for his recall was a stunning surprise. Stilwell's reaction, his sense of anger and injury, was an enduring one.66

On the next day powerful support came to Somervell's attempts to sustain Stilwell when Mesdames Chiang and Kung rallied to Stilwell. So, too, did General Ho! Somervell discussed the crisis with Madame Chiang and the Generalissimo, urging them to keep Stilwell in China. On the evening of 17 October Madame Chiang called Stilwell to the Generalissimo's residence and exhorted him to effect a rapprochement with the Chinese leader. She suggested that Stilwell see the Generalissimo and "tell him that I had only one aim, the good of China, that if I had made mistakes it was from misunderstanding and not intent, and that I was ready to co-operate fully." Stilwell agreed with a reluctance consistent with the discouragement and disillusion evident in his diary, for he was "on the point of telling them to go to hell."67

Stilwell then saw the Generalissimo and made his bid for the latter's


friendship. He described his aims and policies to Chiang and told the Chinese statesman that he was now as always prepared to co-operate fully.68 The Generalissimo's attitude was pleasant, and in reply Chiang made two points: "(1) That [Stilwell] understand the duties of the commander in chief and the chief of staff. (2) That [Stilwell] avoid any superiority complex." Under those conditions, said the Generalissimo, he and the American could work harmoniously together. "All balderdash," wrote Stilwell in his diary, but the two men were formally reconciled and parted amicably.69

In retrospect, it seems the Generalissimo was objecting to Stilwell's dual status, with its responsibility to American and Chinese authority.70 The Generalissimo's first point--that Stilwell understand the respective duties of a commander in chief and chief of staff--possibly reflects a feeling by the Generalissimo that Stilwell should take orders primarily from him. There could be no objection to that, so long as Stilwell's American superiors agreed to the Generalissimo's orders. However, Stilwell was sent to China to improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army; the War Department had never altered those orders, and while they stood, Stilwell would be obliged to exhort the Generalissimo to undertake projects in which the Chinese leader had little interest. To the Generalissimo, it must have seemed that Stilwell was ordering him to reform his army. The Generalissimo's second point about the "superiority complex" no doubt reflects the impression that would be left by any reformer on any second party.

At some point during the negotiations Somervell took the opportunity to advise Stilwell on the latter's relations with the Generalissimo, warning him to avoid the acid remarks which so irritated the Chinese leader when repeated to him. Somervell later wrote Stilwell: "I thought it was very unfortunate for you to refer to the Generalissimo in the way you have and to make some other remarks which have caused unnecessary friction."71

The reconciliation, which Stilwell entered with such reserve, seemed to Somervell almost immediately to grow in strength. Stilwell, Chennault, Somervell, Madame Chiang, and the Generalissimo gathered together for tea at the Generalissimo's residence on 18 October. There was an air of good feeling among those present, and, as the afternoon wore on, Somervell began to feel that brighter days were in store for the Sino-American effort in Asia. The Generalissimo and Stilwell pledged mutual friendship, and Chennault promised


Stilwell his loyal co-operation in the forthcoming campaigns.72 Long years after the war, it seemed to Stimson that Somervell was the only Presidential emissary whose work had been "truly helpful."73

Sensing the improved atmosphere, Stilwell responded to a degree. When Madame Chiang advised him to "give [Chennault] no ground for complaint, so he can't cry to the Generalissimo," Stilwell called her advice "good."74 The Generalissimo ordered General Ho to be especially cordial to Stilwell, and that was pleasing.75

The crisis ended with T. V. Soong's fall from grace. The Generalissimo ordered him to be ill and to seek the quiet of his home. Soong complied and for many months played no part in the military relations of China and the United States.76

When Stimson learned that the Generalissimo's attitude toward Stilwell had changed, he appraised it to Stilwell on 25 October as a "very welcome gleam of hope," suggesting he had come to share Stilwell's growing pessimism about his efforts to reform the Chinese Army.

The situation here has been complicated by the short-circuiting process which has constantly been going on between the respective All-Highests in China and the United States. It was so discouraging and made your patient efforts so well-nigh hopeless that we have wondered sometimes whether in fairness to you we should not offer you the chance to be relieved in favor of some less impossible task. Your readjustment with the Generalissimo has brought a very welcome gleam of hope. I write to let you know that throughout it all and whatever bludgeonings of fate which you encounter, I have the utmost gratitude to you for what you have done and confidence in your courage and ability.77

Questions of Boundary and Command

Hectic and tangled though it had been, the crisis over Stilwell's position in China had lasted but a few days. With agreement that Stilwell would continue in his several positions and be acting78 Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, SEAC, the assembled dignitaries could proceed to defining the exact relations of SEAC to China Theater. Admiral Mountbatten's arrival in Chungking introduced a significant new factor--for the first time since the Arnold-Somervell-Dill mission of February 1943 it was not Stilwell's responsibility to persuade the Generalissimo to accept decisions in whose making China had had no


share. It was Mountbatten's task to induce the Generalissimo to accept SEAC, and Stilwell was grateful for the respite.79

Admiral Mountbatten raised first the question of a unified command in Burma during the forthcoming campaign. The Generalissimo, having now agreed to retain Stilwell, was willing to solve the command question by having the Yunnan Chinese come under Stilwell's authority when they actually entered Burma, Stilwell, of course, being in turn under Mountbatten. The Generalissimo promised that the Y-Force would be ready for action on 1 January 1944. The Chinese again stressed the importance of Allied naval control of the Bay of Bengal, and of Allied amphibious operations in south Burma to support projected operations in north Burma, but these points caused no anxiety since Mountbatten, a specialist in amphibious warfare, was in Southeast Asia to conduct such operations.

Told of the Combined Chiefs' decision at Quebec to place heaviest emphasis on ground and air operations in Burma, the Generalissimo concurred but was most anxious that Hump tonnage into China not fall below 10,000 tons a month when the Burma operations began. This was a trying point for Mountbatten, who attempted to explain the difficulties of raising tonnage over the Assam line of communications to the target figure set at QUADRANT. Somervell believed that the target figure could be met, but Mountbatten made it plain that he did not share Somervell's optimism. He placated the Generalissimo by promising that any drop in Hump tonnage caused by Burma operations would be purely temporary and described such a shortfall as a wise investment in restoring communications to China. The Generalissimo replied, very simply: "I trust you!"80

Shortly after the meetings in Chungking Somervell could not remember just how the question of the boundary between SEAC and the Generalissimo's China Theater happened to be raised there. The question came up initially at QUADRANT, where one of the conferees recalled that the Chinese had been told French Indochina and Thailand were in China Theater. The news that the Combined Chiefs wanted to transfer them to SEAC would have to be broken tactfully to the Generalissimo.81

On learning that the Combined Chiefs proposed to transfer Thailand and French Indochina to SEAC, the Generalissimo protested vigorously. He feared that if the Chinese Army and people learned these countries had been removed from China Theater and placed under SEAC, Chinese morale would suffer. The question was settled by Mountbatten's proposal of a gentleman's agreement whereby Thailand and French Indochina would remain formally in China Theater, SEAC and the Generalissimo both having the right to operate in them,


and with any area occupied automatically coming under the authority of the occupying command. The Generalissimo accepted, but the compromise was neither accepted nor rejected by the President, Prime Minister, and Combined Chiefs, who preferred to let the knotty problem alone for the time being.82

Somervell's Trip to India

After the successful conclusion of the Chungking conferences Somervell returned to India where he and Maj. Gen. Charles P. Gross, Chief of Transportation, conferred with officers from General Headquarters (India), SOS CBI, and the Government of India to find means to improve the Assam line of communications. His mission was in compliance with the QUADRANT decisions, further emphasized by orders from the President through Marshall. Following Soong's and Chennault's protests of September, the President had asked Marshall why Chennault was not receiving the supplies he needed.

Marshall explained to the President that deficiencies in the operation of the Hump and the Assam line of communications were hobbling Chennault. While the number of aircraft assigned to the India-China Wing of the Air Transport Command had increased from 100 in April to 230 in September, only 50 percent of them were operational, because of mechanical troubles with the new C-46 type aircraft, lack of spares and mechanics, bad working conditions, inexperienced flight personnel, and bad weather. Also, difficulties were caused by a decision of General Auchinleck to divert some engineering resources from airfield construction, and by differences of opinion over rail traffic priorities.83

Regarding the Assam line of communications, Marshall believed that the source of the trouble lay with the civil officials who controlled the line of communications, and who were extremely rigid and conservative in their operating methods, while the transportation officers of General Headquarters (India) represented a body which had long had no faith in any offensive action by either the Ramgarh or the Yunnan Chinese. These officers were very sensitive to the limitations of the line of communications but unable to see any way of correcting them. Because General Headquarters (India) thought Burma should be bypassed, General Auchinleck was hard put to find staff and line personnel who would give enthusiastic support to CCS decisions that called for an attack on Burma.84

Then another strong protest from the Generalissimo arrived in Washington,


in which the Chinese leader complained that the TRIDENT decision to build up the Fourteenth Air Force was not being honored. Roosevelt sent the radio at once to General Marshall with the covering note:

I am still pretty thoroughly disgusted with the India-China matter. The last straw was the report from Arnold that he could not get the B-29's operating out of China until March or April next year. Everything seems to go wrong. But the worst thing is that we are falling down on our promises every single time. We have not fulfilled one of them. I do not see why it is necessary to use B-29's. We have several other types of bombing planes.85

Moving to correct the situation, the President cabled Churchill and asked that the Prime Minister personally intervene in the Assam line of communications and the ATC airfield program. The President remarked that the ATC had been a great disappointment which was regrettable because the Fourteenth Air Force was the only specific contribution the United States could make in China in the coming few months. The President feared that Burma operations might lead to Chennault's being deprived of supplies and such a circumstance, he thought, would be a great mistake. Addressing General Marshall, the President ordered that the Chief of Staff give the matter his personal attention. Everything had gone wrong with the program of supporting Chennault, the President wrote, but he was certain Somervell could put real punch behind the program when he set his mind to it.86

In compliance with the orders from Washington, Somervell surveyed the line of communications and ATC problems in India. He found that Brig. Gen. Earl S. Hoag, who succeeded Colonel Alexander in command of the ATC on 15 October, was attacking his problems with vigor. Colonel Alexander was exhausted after twenty months at his post, but as he turned over his grinding responsibilities, he could take pride in the fact that in October 1943 the ATC flew 7,240 tons over the Hump, China National Aviation Corporation, 1,122 tons, and other agencies 270 tons for a grand total of 8,632 tons. (See Chart 7.) The Hump backlog of tonnage accumulated in Assam was 48,410 tons, of which 40,998 tons was ordnance.87

Somervell's survey in late October convinced him that the difficulty of properly maintaining aircraft because of the shortage of spare parts, equipment, and personnel was a major handicap. Bad weather and the inherent difficulties of the route across Burma were serious problems. Pilots lacked confidence in the C-46. Motor transportation to the Assam terminals was inadequate. Radio aids to navigation were insufficient. The inner organization of the ATC was incomplete. Untrained pilots had been assigned to the ATC. Somervell showed his report to the senior ATC and SOS commanders in CBI, all of whom concurred. One of the remedies which the Army Service Forces' commander applied


was to bring together the key officers concerned with the ATC, whether directly or through SOS, for a series of conferences.88

Then General Somervell turned to the problems of the Assam line of communications beginning with the port of Calcutta. Somervell found it badly congested. As of 1 October, eleven ships in harbor had been there ten days or more. All but one had lend-lease for India. Heavy-lift cargo for India Command congested the wharves, some of it having been there from three to five months. The port's capacity, Somervell told Auchinleck and Mountbatten, was adequate for many times the amount of cargo then being received. "The disturbing factor is that no one at the port possesses the authority to overcome the inertia and to move the cargo out. Some stronger figure is demanded." Somervell understood that the appointment of an officer from British Army Movements and Transportation as port director had corrected a similar condition at Bombay; might it not be done at Calcutta?89

Railway problems came next. Mountbatten, Stilwell, Auchinleck, Somervell, Gross, and members of their staffs met on 23 October with representatives of the Railway Commission of the Government of India, the controlling body for the Bengal and Assam Railway. At the beginning of the conference, Sir Edward Benthall of the Railway Commission remarked that the reason the Bengal and Assam Railway had never carried more tonnage than the figure earlier offered by Auchinleck's staff as its capacity was because the railway had never been asked to carry more! The question of the assignment of U.S. railway battalions to Assam arose, and Mountbatten remarked that if India could not guarantee a 50-percent increase in tonnage by April 1944 he would have to accept Somervell's offer to supply the railwaymen. Somervell promised an increase of 50 percent were his offer accepted.90

The Indian representatives refused to guarantee a 50-percent increase under civilian control, while they strongly opposed any militarization of the rail lines. They also feared that introducing U.S. personnel in key positions could not fail to cause operating difficulties during the transition period. Mountbatten, however, was resolute in his stand, for he believed no aggressive operations in Burma could start until matters were improved.91

In this he had Somervell's support, and the latter wrote to General Wheeler: "I am most anxiously awaiting the results of the railway conferences which simply must come out the way we want. I believe that if you have any further conferences on the railroads that you insist on getting in the railway people before giving up, as Benthol's [sic] revelations at the meeting yesterday certainly implied a lack of liaison on all hands."92


For the present, the issue of militarizing the railways with U.S. railway battalions remained on the agenda of problems that Mountbatten would have to solve before the fall campaign.

Then Somervell returned to Washington, where he reported to the President and Marshall. He told Stilwell on 9 November:

I want to let you know that I had the pleasure of seeing the President yesterday and that he was delighted with my report on the outcome of the negotiations in Chungking. I think I made it clear to him that the agitation against you was the result of some plotting of some disaffected individuals and that it did not stem from any real reason. . . . I believe that you can count on full support from this end. General Marshall of course seemed delighted with the outcome. . . .93

"What More Can I Do?"

In late October 1943, Stilwell concluded that he was at the end of his resources as far as the mission to China he had been given in January 1942, the task of "improving the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army," was concerned. His decisions marked the end of two and one quarter years in which first General Magruder and then he himself struggled against every variety of obstacle to provide China with an effective modern army. The time for preparation had been consumed by obstruction in Chungking and divided counsels in Washington, and now the time for great events was at hand. The monsoon rains were at an end, and the campaign season in Burma was beginning while in China spring would open the time for battle. Stilwell believed that there was nothing more he personally could do to prepare the Chinese armies in China for what lay before them. The Generalissimo was markedly conciliatory and affable in late October and early November, but Stilwell attached small importance to it and considered that for the present his work in China was at an end. Such Chinese preparations as were under way would continue; he could not hurry them. The post of Chief of Staff, China Theater, was nominal. The joint Sino-American staff that might have made it effective had never been set up. Months before Stilwell had dropped the subject in an effort to placate General Ho Ying-chin.94 For many months to come Stilwell spent little time in China and left matters there largely to his subordinates.

These conclusions--foreshadowed by the increasingly pessimistic tone of his diary entries for September and October as well as the 12 October letter to Stimson, and firmly adhered to in the months ahead--Stilwell set forth in the draft of a report to Marshall and Stimson, written in the third week of October 1943. He began by summing up the "net result of air offensive in China. A few Jap planes knocked down [but] Japs are still in China. The Y-Force left without weapons." He told of the October command crisis in a few terse sentences, blaming his troubles on the "mud campaign" directed against him. Then


Stilwell described his position in China Theater, the accomplishments of the last eighteen months, and closed with the statement that he could think of nothing more to do in China.

The Gmo has given orders to Ho to be especially cordial to me. Of course he could do that personally and still fail to cooperate wholeheartedly in backing up the Y-Force, but at least my position has been improved. If this had happened a year ago, we'd be better off now. As it is, I have about reached the limit of what I can do.

Everything connected with the 1st 30 [divisions] is under way. I cannot hurry the preparations already en route. Training teams are with armies in Yunnan and training has started in some units. The President's orders for the first 4,700 tons over the Hump each month to go to air force has [sic] resulted in depriving Y-Force of weapons and ammunition urgently needed for the campaign. By hook or by crook I have gotten over some 75's, Boys [antitank rifles], Brens, TM's [trench mortars] and part of the ammo. A fair lift in Oct, Nov, and Dec will give us most of the vital items. The agreement to mold units has not been kept. Result will be reduced strength divisions. Second 30 is [illegible]. School will open in Kweilin Nov 1, 1st class is there, and by May 1944 bulk of officers should be through course. From indications in 1st 30, demands from units for teams of instructors to carry on unit training will solve problem of putting our personnel with the units. Equipment will depend largely on opening the road. Third div for X-Force [Chinese Army in India] now assembling and training in Ramgarh. Should be ready by Jan 1. Two tank bns in training, ready by Dec 1. . . . Chinese have fallen flat on promise of [illegible] personnel for Y-Force. Road repair going well. Truck situation deplorable, etc. What more can I do? Have put out plan for future [operations in SEAC].95

Stilwell's appraisal of his position and duties in China meant that henceforth his attention would be focused on his duties as commanding general of the U.S. forces in China, Burma, and India and as acting Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia Command. As U.S. theater commander he would be responsible for carrying out the variety of projects that had been set in motion to support the Chinese and U.S. operations in the Pacific, such as the reopening of land communications to China, the storage and transfer of lend-lease, the Ramgarh Training Center, and the others which have been described. As acting Deputy Supreme Allied Commander his task had been defined by Marshall as seeing to it that the Chinese Army in India played its part in the retaking of Burma. Preparing to turn his attention to these duties, which lay beyond China's borders, Stilwell flew from China to India on 21 October 1943 to present his proposals for SEAC's coming operations. The days of the Stilwell Mission, the days in which General Stilwell personally sought to prepare the Chinese Army for the ordeals ahead of it, were ended.


The U.S. Army's interest in China can be traced to the early 1900's when U.S. troops fought to relieve the foreign missions besieged by the Boxer rebels


in Peking. After those events, a small U.S. garrison was kept in China to support Chinese nationalism against other powers, and young U.S. officers took their turns serving as its officers, among them George C. Marshall and Joseph W. Stilwell. American military attachés were maintained on the staff of the U.S. Embassy and sent back detailed studies of the Chinese forces.

As the Republic of China grew in strength in the late 1920's and early 1930's, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was aided by a German Military Mission which brought approximately thirty divisions loyal to the Generalissimo to an efficiency previously unknown in China. In 1937, the Japanese Army provoked hostilities with China. The German-trained Chinese divisions, reinforced by provincial levies and war lord armies, fought valiantly but ineffectively. Their fighting was watched with great interest and studied in minutest detail by Col. Joseph W. Stilwell, then U. S. military attaché.

In 1938, the Japanese attained their strategic goals in China, and an undeclared peace prevailed, broken by Japanese rice raids and training expeditions. Seeking foreign aid, the Chinese turned toward the United States, which was traditionally sympathetic to Asiatic nationalism. With the passage of the Lend-Lease Act in 1941 the United States was in a position to give some munitions and communications equipment to the Chinese. The Chinese secured U.S. sponsorship of a program to equip thirty Chinese divisions, a 500-plane air force, and a line of communications to China.

Past experience with Chinese methods and the Chinese Army, plus the manner in which the Chinese presented their requests for lend-lease aid, suggested to members of the War, Treasury, and State Departments that a U.S. military mission should be sent to China to advise and assist the Chinese in procuring and using lend-lease supplies. Brig. Gen. John Magruder and his staff arrived in Chungking in October 1941. After arriving, Magruder and his staff reported to the War Department that the Chinese Army was not merely poorly equipped, but poorly trained, poorly organized, and not engaged in active hostilities with the Japanese.

After war began, a series of diplomatic incidents and military reversals caused fear in Washington that China might make a separate peace with Japan. The President was anxious to send a high-ranking U.S. officer to reassure the Chinese. The Chief of Staff, Gen. George C. Marshall, believed that if the Chinese were properly led, fed, trained, and equipped, they would be equal to any soldiers in the world. If they actively opposed the Japanese, the latter would be kept from adventures elsewhere in the Pacific, and American strength would not be dissipated among a number of theaters but concentrated for a decisive blow in the principal theater, Europe. The Generalissimo, newly appointed Supreme Allied Commander, China Theater, asked that an American be sent to act as chief of his Allied staff. The President's wish, Marshall's belief, the Generalissimo's request, led to the decision to send Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell to China Theater.


The War Department ordered Stilwell to increase the effectiveness of U.S. aid to China and to improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army. He was given four posts: Joint Chief of Staff to the Supreme Commander, China Theater; Commanding General of a U.S. task force, "U.S. Forces in China-Burma-India"; U.S. representative on an Allied military council in Chungking; representative of the President on lend-lease affairs.

When Stilwell arrived in China, the Generalissimo sent him to Burma to command the Chinese 5th, 6th, and 66th Armies. His efforts there were rendered futile by the lack of co-ordination in the Chinese effort. However, the period was fruitful in that it gave him an introduction to the local scene.

After walking out of Burma to avoid capture, Stilwell in his capacity as Chief of Staff, China Theater, presented major proposals to the Americans and to the Chinese. These plans to meet the situation caused by the now-complete blockade of China called for reform of the Chinese Army and a converging attack on Burma to liberate that country and restore the lines of communications from Rangoon to Kunming. His efforts to secure their acceptance were greatly handicapped by a June 1942 decision in the White House to transfer U.S. aircraft from India to the Middle East, thereby greatly angering the Chinese and causing the Three Demands crisis.

While waiting for the crisis to abate, Stilwell proceeded to create a U.S. theater of operations in China, Burma, and India. Under his command was a handful of aircraft, the Tenth Air Force, of which one portion, the China Air Task Force, served in China under Brig. Gen. Claire L. Chennault. A Services of Supply under Brig. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler, with its principal base at the Indian port of Karachi, supported the Tenth Air Force, received, stored, and transshipped Chinese lend-lease, and received and distributed supplies given by India as reciprocal aid. As directed by the War Department and through the generous co-operation of Indian and Chinese authority, the Americans lived off the land as far as food, clothing, and shelter were concerned. The Chinese divisions which had escaped from Burma to India were being brought back to strength and trained at Ramgarh in Bihar Province. Stilwell hoped that driving from Manipur State into Burma they would be one part of his converging attack on Burma of which the reformed Chinese Y-Force would be the other part. Tying together the Indian and Chinese halves of this great expanse of Asia were about fifty transport aircraft which flew between the Assam and Yunnan airfields, the whole operation known colloquially as the Hump.

After compromise of the Three Demands by the President and the Generalissimo, Stilwell secured conditional Chinese assent to his plan to retake Burma. His proposals fitted in well with those of Gen. Sir Archibald P. Wavell, Commander-in-Chief, India, for a similar operation, and the two men went forward with plans and preparations. Wavell, as Supreme Allied Commander, India, assigned Stilwell and his Chinese Army in India to the Hukawng Valley of north Burma. A road from India to China was being built there, and to simplify


administrative arrangements, Stilwell agreed to assume responsibility for it. Returning to China, Stilwell secured assent in principle to the arrangements he had made with Wavell.

As fall 1942 wore on, Stilwell was conscious that Chinese co-operation in operations to retake Burma was being given slowly and reluctantly, that the Chinese were greatly interested in the views being expounded by General Chennault. The Generalissimo took no interest in Stilwell's repeated suggestions, plans, and proposals that the Chinese Army be reformed by being cut down from 300-odd so-called divisions to a smaller force capable of being equipped and maintained in the presence of the enemy. Repeatedly, Stilwell exhorted China's Foreign Minister, T. V. Soong, saying that China must bestir herself and play her part. To meet the problems created by Chinese indifference to their Army and by their reluctance to introduce any military reforms, Stilwell urged that the United States adopt the approach earlier suggested by Magruder, that neither lend-lease nor credits should be given to the Chinese until they manifested willingness to help themselves. Marshall and Stimson approved this suggestion.

General Chennault was one of the very few Allied commanders to win distinction in the early months of the war. He had the prestige of victory and the weight of long experience behind his assurances to the President that given 105 fighters, 30 mediums, and 12 heavy bombers he could "accomplish the downfall of Japan." The Generalissimo was greatly impressed by descriptions of what U.S. air power could do in China. In January 1943 he stated that he would not cross the Salween River into Burma the following March and invited the President's attention to what a small air force could do. In April 1943 the Generalissimo as Supreme Commander, China Theater, requested that General Chennault receive first priority on all supplies flown to China and have a free hand in his operations. The President agreed.

A few days later the TRIDENT Conference decided that the clearing of all Burma was not feasible, that only north Burma was a near possibility. This elevated the Ledo Road to a new importance as a potential supply route to China. Competing with it was the Hump route, which under Chinese pressure was being constantly augmented. Following the TRIDENT Conference, it became apparent that Allied resources in Asia could not support both ground and air operations on the scale called for by TRIDENT and the President's decision. Stilwell was also aware that the President supported Chennault and explicitly rejected all suggestions that the Chinese be required to do anything in return for lend-lease, dollar credits, or U.S. air power in China. The President's decision not to ask anything of the Chinese meant that Stilwell lacked all bargaining power and could use only persuasion to interest the Chinese in Army reform.

That the Chinese Army would very probably remain at its current level of efficiency cast a shadow on those Allied plans for the defeat of Japan which were discussed at the great Allied conferences of May and August 1943. These


plans called for an offensive by the Chinese Army supported by Allied air power on the Canton-Hong Kong area and synchronized with an Allied amphibious assault from the Pacific. Following capture of the great ports, the combined forces would make their way into north China, from which Japan would be bombed into submission, or at least be so weakened as to make successful invasion a certainty. Manifestly, success of such a plan would require co-operation of an effective Chinese Army.

Dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war in Southeast Asia and realization that the Allied effort in Asia needed more logistical support led the British and Americans to create Southeast Asia Command (SEAC) under Vice-Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten as Supreme Commander. A major logistical effort was scheduled for CBI, to be powerfully supported by the U.S. Army Service Forces under Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell. If Mountbatten's superiors gave him the resources to succeed in his new post, SEAC by retaking Burma and reopening the line of communications from Rangoon to Kunming would make possible a greatly increased flow of arms and ammunition to the Chinese Army, and that in turn would be a long step toward opening a port on the China coast.

Somervell and Mountbatten made the long trip to China to present SEAC to the Generalissimo. When they arrived, it appeared for a while that Stilwell's enemies might succeed in having the Generalissimo ask Stilwell's recall, but Somervell's diplomacy and Madame Chiang's support persuaded the Generalissimo to keep Stilwell as his joint chief of staff.

Following the creation of SEAC and the reconciliation between Stilwell and the Generalissimo, the future of the Allied war effort in Asia appeared to be at its brightest. Stilwell, however, concluded that he could do nothing more to improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army: "I have about reached the limit of what I can do." It was the end of his military mission to China. Thenceforth, he concentrated most of his attention on his duties as U.S. theater commander--charged with a list of projects to aid China or support Pacific operations--and as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, SEAC.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (9) * Next Chapter (Bibliography)


1. Rad 320, Former Naval Person to President, 19 Jun 43. Item 80, Msg Bk 10, OPD Exec 8.

2. (1) Rad 293, Roosevelt to Churchill, 24 Jun 43. Folder 25, OPD Exec 10. (2) Rad 298, Roosevelt to Churchill, 30 Jun 43. Item 25, Msg Bk 10, OPD Exec 8.

3. Rad 323, Churchill to Roosevelt, 28 Jun 43; Rad 342, Churchill to Roosevelt, 3 Jul 43. Folder 25, OPD Exec 10.

4. Rad 311, Roosevelt to Churchill, 9 Jul 43. Folder 25, OPD Exec 10.

5. Rad, COS to Dill, 10 Jul 43. Folder 25, OPD Exec 10.

6. Hist Sec (India), India at War, 1939-1943, pp. 179-80. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

7. (1) The elimination of the projected major Allied land campaign in China is covered in Volume II, Stilwell's Command Problems, a work on the 1943-44 period in which this decision was reached. (2) CPS 83, 8 Aug 43, sub: Appreciation and Plan for Defeat of Japan. (3) USSBS, The War Against Japanese Transportation, 1941-1945, p. 116. (4) Memo, Jt War Plans Com for JPS, 9 Aug 43, sub: Strategic Plan for Defeat of Japan. Case 192, OPD 381 CTO, A47-30. A copy went to the President via Admiral Leahy. (5) Memo, JPS for JCS, 17 Aug 43, sub: Appreciation and Plan for Defeat of Japan. ABC 381 (Japan), 8-27-43, Sec 3, A48-224. (6) JPS 67/7, 19 Jul 43, sub: Preparations of Plans for Defeat of Japan, was the Joint Staff Planners' directive under which the Joint War Plans Committee began work on CPS 83, being ordered to: give priority to 1943-44 operations; give priority to south Burma operations over Sumatra-Malaya; indicate which operations were to come before Germany's surrender (set for fall 1944) and which after; have plans ready for the CCS on Burma, Marshalls, Carolines, and New Guinea.

8. (1) CCS 323, 20 Aug 43, sub: Air Plan for Defeat of Japan. (2) CM-OUT 10990, Marshall to Stilwell, 26 Aug 43.

9. (1) Min, QUADRANT Conf, Aug 43, pp. 426-28. (2) CCS 107th Mtg, 14 Aug 43. (3) JCS 107th Mtg, 18 Aug 43, Item 2. (4) Memo, Wedemeyer for Cooke and Brig Gen Lawrence S. Kuter, 18 Aug 43, sub: Sumatra-Singapore vs. South Burma. Annex to JCS 107th Mtg, 18 Aug 43. (5) CCS First Mtg, with Roosevelt and Churchill, Quebec, 19 Aug 43, contains Churchill's quotation. (6) CCS 301/3, 27 Aug 43, sub: Final Rpt on QUADRANT Conf. (7) Item 5, CCS 113th Mtg, 20 Aug 43.

10. For an expression of Churchill's views on China, see The Hinge of Fate, pages 133-34. Roosevelt and Hopkins, page 405, states that Churchill considered "any policy based on confidence in China was a 'great illusion.' "

11. Memo, Capt F. B. Royal, USN, Deputy Secy, CCS, 25 Sep 43, sub: Studies on Defeat of Japan. ABC 381 (Japan), 8-27-42, Sec 4, A48-224.

12. CCS 319/5, 24 Aug 43, Final Report to the President and the Prime Minister.

13. JCS 582, 9 Nov 43, sub: Future Opns in SEAC.

14. (1) CCS 390/1, 18 Nov 43, sub: Future Opns in SEAC. (2) CCS 128th Mtg, 23 Nov 43.

15. Rad BOSCO-OUT 30, Somervell to Wheeler, 15 Aug 43. Somervell File, Vol III, CBI 42-43.

16. Telg 66688/COS, CinC India for COS (Quebec), 19 Aug 43. Folder 50, OPD Exec 10.

17. (1) Rad FW 224, COS to CinC, India. Case 224, OPD 381 CTO, A47-30. (2) CCS 327, 23 Aug 43, sub: Opns from India.

18. Memo for CCS, 18 Aug 43, sub: Supply Routes in NE India. Somervell File, QUADRANT Conf, 1943, A46-257.

19. Ibid.

20. Memo, Strong for Somervell, 22 Aug 43, sub: Auchinleck's Telg of 19 Aug 43. Somervell File, Vol III, CBI 42-43.

21. CCS 325, 21 Aug 43, sub: Supply Routes in NE India.

22. Memo, Somervell for Maj Gen Wilhelm D. Styer, CofS, ASF, 22 Aug 43. Somervell File, Vol III, CBI 42-43.

23. CM-OUT 11436, Marshall to Stilwell, 27 Aug 43.

24. CCS Second Mtg, with Roosevelt, Churchill, QUADRANT Conf, 23 Aug 43, Item 6.

25. Rads 3243, 3259, Marshall to Stilwell, 26, 28 Aug 43. Items 759, 763, Bk 2, JWS Personal File.

26. (1) CCS First Mtg, with Roosevelt, Churchill, QUADRANT Conf, 19 Aug 43. QUADRANT Min. (2) CCS 111th Mtg, 18 Aug 43.

27. Rpt with Suppls, 1943-46, SACSEA to CCS, 30 Jul 47, Pt. A, par. 39. (Hereafter, Mountbatten Report). Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

28. (1) Rad WAR 3243, Marshall to Stilwell, 26 Aug 43. Item 759, Bk 2, JWS Personal File. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 230, 317.

29. See Ch. VIII, above.

30. (1) Memo, Comdr Sp Force at Imphal for SACSEA, 10 Feb 44, sub: Exploitation of Opn THURSDAY. SEAC War Diary, A46-217. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. A, par. 5.

31. Ibid.

32. Telg OZ 3331, Prime Minister to SACSEA, 23 Oct 43. Mountbatten Report, Suppl, App. 12, pp. 41-42.

33. Stilwell Black Book, 12 Sep 43.

34. Stilwell Black Book, 6 Sep 43.

35. Memorandum 54, Stilwell for Chiang, 6 September 1943, was signed by Stilwell as Lieutenant General, Commanding, U.S. Army Forces, China, Burma and India. This act was later charged against him as an affront to the Generalissimo. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.

36. The Stilwell Papers, pp. 224, 226, quotation on p. 225.

37. Items 226-28, Book 3, JWS Personal File, cover Personnel, Sample of Current Reports, Organization, Units, Infantry Weapons, Tanks and Trucks, Artillery Weapons, Principles of War, Formations, Combat, and Weapons.

38. Memo, Stilwell for Chiang and Mme. Chiang, 16 Sep 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.

39. Memo, Stilwell for Chiang, 16 Sep 43. Item 229, Bk 3, JWS Personal File.

40. Memo, Stilwell for Chiang, 5 Sep 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. Through a typographical error, the 5 September 1943 memorandum is dated 26 September. A memorandum from the Generalissimo to Stilwell on 21 September 1943 answers Stilwell's 5 September paper point for point and refers to it as dated 5 September.

41. Memo, Wang Wen-hsien for Dorn, 23 Mar 43, sub: Personnel Reqmts for Y-Force. AG (Y-FOS) 320.2, KCRC. See also Chart 7.

42. (1) Memo cited n. 40. (2) Memos, sub: Answers of Memo for Ho Ying-chin from Dorn, 2 Sep 43. SNF-16.

43. Memo, Chiang for Stilwell, 21 Sep 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.

44. Memos, Chiang for Stilwell, 21, 28 Sep 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.

45. Stilwell Black Book, 25 Sep 43.

46. The Stilwell Papers, p. 228.

47. This memorandum in Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.

48. Ltr, Stilwell to Stimson, 12 Oct 43. Stimson Papers.

49. Ltr, Chennault to Roosevelt, 5 Sep 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers.

50. Rad WAR 3644, Arnold to Stratemeyer, 21 Oct 43. Item 1099, Bk 4, JWS Personal File.

51. Memo, Stilwell for Mme. Chiang, 16 Sep 43, inclosing a msg from Roosevelt to Mme. Chiang. Item 807, Bk 2, JWS Personal File.

52. The Salt Gabelle, or salt monopoly, was a major item of revenue to the Chinese Government. Constant policing was required to administer it. From the guards carrying out this mission the 38th had been formed.

53. Sun's letter to Soong was hand carried by a general officer of the Fourteenth Air Force and is very similar to the one from Sun to Stilwell on 17 August 1943, quoted in full on page 64 of General Ho's The Big Circle. The latter, being addressed to Stilwell, says nothing of shortages of men and equipment (the 38th Division was then at full strength, equipped and trained to a standard never before attained in China's history), omits the reflections on Stilwell's grasp of tactics, but takes a very dark view of the prospects of waging a successful campaign in north Burma. Ltr, Sun to Soong, 10 Sep 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers.

54. Memo, Soong for Roosevelt, 15 Sep 43, with penciled note: "Dear George [Marshall]: Will you talk with Dr. Soong about this? FDR." Bk VII, Hopkins Papers.

55. Memo cited n. 54.

56. (1) Rad AM 1229, Ferris to Hearn, 18 Aug 43. Item 737, Bk 2, JWS Personal File. (2) Interv with Marshall, 6, 13 Jul 49. HIS 330.14 CBI 1949.

57. Memo, Soong for Roosevelt, 27 Sep 43, sub: China Air Offensive in 1943; Memo, Roosevelt for Marshall, 27 Sep 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers.

58. Stilwell Black Book, Sep 43.

59. Stilwell Diary, 5 Oct 43.

60. (1) Cable, Soong to Hopkins, 14 Oct 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers. (2) Ltr, Somervell to Maj Gen Orlando Ward, Chief, OCMH, 1 May 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. (3) Mountbatten Report, Pt. A, par. 16.

61. Ltr cited n. 60(2).

62. (1) Interv with Marshall, 6 Jul 49. HIS 330.14 CBI 1949. (2) Statement, Marshall to Stilwell, 21 Nov 43. Stilwell Diary.

63. Interv cited n. 62(1).

64. Ltr cited n. 60(2).

65. Mountbatten Report, Pt. A, par. 10.

66. The Stilwell Papers, pp. 231, 237. On 6 November 1943 Stilwell compared the Generalissimo to a rattlesnake, then wrote: "Mistake! Last time he didn't rattle at all--just struck." Stilwell's statement seems to refer to the Generalissimo's action in demanding Stilwell's recall, for nothing else would seem to fit the implied requirements of surprise and personal injury. Also note succeeding November entries.

67. The Stilwell Papers, pp. 232, 235.

68. Handwritten notes in Stilwell Documents were prepared between 18 October and 1 November 1943 for a radio to Marshall and Stimson. The notes summarized Stilwell's estimate of the situation as of late October 1943. Portions of them will be quoted later in the text.

69. The Stilwell Papers, pp. 232-33.

70. See Ch. III, above.

71. A letter, Somervell to Stilwell, 9 November 1943, Somervell File, Volume III, CBI 42-43, explained that Somervell offered his advice at Marshall's order. On Somervell's return to Washington, Marshall asked him if he had spoken to Stilwell "concerning the wise cracks which have provoked some hostility."

72. Ltr cited n. 60(2).

73. Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 536.

74. The Stilwell Papers, p. 234.

75. Notes cited n. 68.

76. (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 235. (2) Bk VII, Hopkins Papers.

77. Ltr, Stimson to Stilwell, 25 Oct 43. Stilwell Personal Papers.

78. For whatever reason, Stilwell was never appointed Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, SEAC. He was very conscious of the fact that he never received orders giving him the post and often alluded to the circumstance in his diaries and papers. For example, see his notes for a talk with Mountbatten on 6 March 1944, Stilwell Diary, Notebook 10 1/2.

79. To his wife, Stilwell wrote on 15 October: "Somebody else is responsible and it's a grand feeling." The Stilwell Papers, p. 231.

80. CM-IN 15127, Somervell to Marshall, 25 Oct 43.

81. Interv, Handy with Somervell, 5 Nov 43. Folder 23, OPD Exec 1.

82. (1) Mountbatten Report, App. 4, par. 7. (2) Interv cited n. 81. (3) CM-IN 12040, Somervell to Marshall, 20 Oct 43. (4) CM-IN 12672, Somervell to Marshall, 21 Oct 43. (5) Rad SEACOS 83761, 9 Nov 43. SEAC War Diary, A46-217.

83. Ltr, CofS to President, 4 Oct 43, sub: Air Cargo, India to China. WDCSA 381 China, A46-523. In the opening paragraph, Marshall states that he is writing this letter because of the President's criticisms of ATC's performance.

84. These views are those of General Ferris. Marshall accepted and relayed them to the President. Ltr, Marshall to Roosevelt, 7 Oct 43, sub: Preparations for Burma. Case 224, OPD 381 CTO, A47-30.

85. Ltr, Roosevelt to Marshall, 15 Oct 43. WDCSA 381 China, A46-523.

86. Ltr with Incl, Roosevelt to Marshall, 15 Oct 43. Folder 70, OPD Exec 10.

87. (1) LeFarge, The Eagle in the Egg, pp. 124-26. (2) CM-IN 11981, Ferris to Marshall, 20 Oct 43.

88. (1) CM-IN 14107, Somervell to Marshall, 23 Oct 43. (2) Ltr cited n. 60(2).

89. Ltr, Somervell to Auchinleck and Mountbatten, 21 Oct 43, sub: Congestion in Port of Calcutta. Somervell File, Vol III, CBI 42-43.

90. CM-IN 15125, Somervell to Marshall, 25 Oct 43.

91. Mountbatten Report, Pt. A, pars. 45-46.

92. Ltr, Somervell to Wheeler, 24 Oct 43. Somervell File, Vol III, CBI 42-43.

93. Ltr cited n. 71.

94. (1) History of CBI, p. 101. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 237-39.

95. (1) In his own hand, Stilwell began this page: "George [Marshall] and Henry [L. Stimson]. Net result of air offensive in China. . . ." Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 235-36.

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