The Attempt to Plan a Spring Campaign
The efforts of Currie and Stilwell had been attended by a great improvement in the atmosphere at Chungking. The Chinese attitude suggested a willingness to be satisfied with less than the full letter of the Three Demands.1 In Washington, too, the prospects for more effective Sino-American co-operation were brighter. The vigor of the Chinese response to sending Brereton to the Middle East was further evidence that the Atlantic First policy had consequences which the United States could not afford to disregard. If the two powers, China and the United States, could establish a working accord, then the success of Stilwell's mission would be more likely and a powerful Chinese Army might play a significant part in the Pacific war.
U.S. Answer to the Three Demands
The answer to the Three Demands which the War Department wrote for the President was based on a changed attitude in the Operations Division of the War Department. Stilwell's request in May for U.S. combat troops had been coolly received. Soon after in June came the great American naval victory at Midway. The sinking of 4 Japanese aircraft carriers and 1 heavy cruiser at a loss of 1 American aircraft carrier had shifted the balance of naval power in the Pacific quite clearly to the Americans. They began to think in more aggressive terms, and so on 2 July 1942 the United States resolved to make an offensive-defensive effort in the Solomon Islands. Several weeks later, the United States and Great Britain decided to attempt the occupation of French North Africa (Operation TORCH). TORCH was given highest priority, thereby limiting what could be sent to the Pacific and, even more so, to Stilwell in CBI.2 On 7 August Marines landed on Guadalcanal Island.
Four days after the landing, Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the President, suggested to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that a specific commitment
be made to open the Burma Road. The Navy adopted this view and often in the days to come urged aggressive Allied action in Burma to support Pacific operations.3 Leahy's proposal undoubtedly influenced what soon followed in the Operations Division of the War Department.
OPD weighed the Generalissimo's Three Demands against U.S. capabilities and, on 14 August, suggested to General Marshall that U.S. aircraft commitments to China be meticulously discharged, that aircraft replacements be forwarded promptly, and that the Combined Chiefs of Staff be urged to consider retaking Burma after the monsoon rains ended. The Operations Division accepted in full and strongly urged Stilwell's and Magruder's recommendations that lend-lease to China should be contingent on the Chinese Government's meeting certain conditions. Lend-lease to China should not be given as philanthropy but rather on a quid pro quo basis, with Chinese military reforms to precede it and Chinese military accomplishments to be the sole acceptable guarantee of its continuance. General Marshall and Secretary Stimson approved this approach to the problems of Sino-American relations and recommended it to the President.4
On 25 August Marshall presented to the JCS the OPD proposal that Burma be retaken. In the light of nationalist disturbances then under way in India, he hesitated to advance the subject but thought the Burma operation should be investigated and analyzed to determine what could be done. Admiral Leahy suggested the proposal be placed before the CCS. A specific agreement to open the Burma Road seemed essential to the admiral.5
The paper presented to the CCS warned that, unless visible Allied assistance to China was increased, China might make peace with Japan, thus freeing a number of Japanese divisions for service elsewhere. Though the United States was making some air support available for China, it did not believe that such aid, plus the relatively few arms that could be flown into China, was enough to keep the Chinese in the war. Current U.S. commitments, together with the shipping shortage, made it impossible to send any U.S. ground forces to China. The United States, therefore, suggested that the CCS consider the problem of retaking Burma in the next dry season, October 1942-May 1943. Perhaps anticipating that the CCS would adopt the suggestion, the JCS on 19 September ordered Stilwell to tell the Generalissimo that the Combined Staff Planners were studying operations to retake Burma and to reopen the Burma Road, that everything possible was being done to reach a satisfactory solution to the problems involved.6
With Currie's survey of the Chinese situation complete and his report made, with better feeling prevailing in Chungking, and with the machinery of the CCS about to deal with the strategic problems involved in supporting China, the U.S. Government could now prepare its formal answer to the Three Demands.
On 25 September Marshall asked for Stilwell's comments on a preliminary draft. Noting Marshall's references to one hundred transports on the Hump, to an increase in the emergency air transport program from 3,500 tons to 5,000 tons a month, and to the omission of American combat troops, Stilwell thought that the draft meant "nothing more than at present," substantially, a reaffirmation of existing commitments. He was not pleased with it: "I suppose I am to kid them [the Chinese] into reorganizing the Army." In answering Marshall, Stilwell stressed the importance of securing from the Chinese some indication of what they proposed to do to carry out the Thirty Division Program. He suggested a hint from the President to the Generalissimo that if the Chinese did not propose to use American lend-lease there was no point in letting it accumulate in India. The rest of Marshall's draft was covered with the terse comment that it seemed excellent.7
The President's answer to the Three Demands, as modified by the Chinese memorandum to Stilwell on 1 August,8 came during the height of the celebration with which the Chinese marked the anniversary of the end of the Manchu regime. Stilwell presented the President's message to the Generalissimo on 13 October. It was "exactly as I had recommended," noted Stilwell.9 Pleased with Currie's report and with the more co-operative attitude of the Generalissimo in August, Roosevelt again promised almost 500 aircraft for the China Theater, plus 100 aircraft on the Hump in early 1943. He regretted that American combat troops could not be supported in CBI, thus rejecting one of the Three Demands.
Telling the Generalissimo that the United States would do its best toward creating an American air force and a reorganized Chinese army in India to join in reoccupying Burma, the President went on to say that Stilwell's plan for retaking Burma was being developed by the JCS. Roosevelt told the Generalissimo that Burma had to be retaken to open a practical supply route to China, because the Hump would never carry enough supplies. The President pointed out that because of the limitations of air transport there was little point to simply accumulating stockpiles in India that had no early prospect of receipt in China, whereas reopening the Burma Road would permit deliveries in quantity. Consistent with Currie's advice, the President did not insist that the Chinese reform and reorganize their Yunnan forces; however, he did say that if the
Generalissimo would do it, "it would be of the greatest importance in obtaining our mutual objectives."10
On 12 October, the same day that the President's reply reached Chungking, Stilwell moved to advance the rapprochement with the Chinese one step further by submitting his views on China's lend-lease program for the next year. The timing may have been a coincidence or it may reflect Stilwell's belief that the United States could be more generous, a feeling precipitated into action by the terms of the President's 12 October reply. In his message to the War Department, Stilwell asked that the emergency air transport program be continued for another year on a scale that would supply equipment for a second thirty Chinese divisions. He now contemplated a total of sixty re-equipped Chinese divisions.11 To the Chinese, Stilwell seems to have said nothing about this significant expansion of his program. It may be assumed that he was ready to introduce the topic of a second thirty divisions at some moment propitious to the advancing of his reform program, in accord with his intentions of bargaining with the Chinese. A week later the War Department told Stilwell that his sixty division program would be generally met within the next six months.12
The October Negotiations
Satisfied with the President's answer, the Chinese in effect ordered Stilwell to begin negotiations with the American and British Governments on an offensive to retake Burma. General Shang Chen, the National Military Council's liaison with Stilwell, wrote: "My Government would like to know your views on the draft plan. If you concur, it is the desire of the Generalissimo that you will kindly bring this up with both the American and British Governments. As soon as a definite reply is received, please have it submitted to the Generalissimo so that final details for the execution of the plan may be drawn up."13
The Chinese general plan gave four reasons why Burma should be retaken: (1) to establish a base from which to start a counteroffensive against Japan; (2) to prevent Germany, Italy, and Japan from joining forces in the Middle East; (3) to open a line of communications from India to China so that large quantities of supplies could be brought into China, "thereby enabling the
Chinese to complete their plan for a general counteroffensive at an early date"; (4) to keep the Japanese too busily occupied to seize the initiative anywhere else in the Pacific.14
The Chinese proposed to put fifteen to twenty of their divisions into an attack from Yunnan, while the United States and Britain put five to seven divisions plus paratroops into a frontal attack from India and an amphibious operation against Rangoon. The Chinese set certain prerequisites to their participation in the campaign. Their allies were to provide three or four battleships and six to eight aircraft carriers, obtain control of the air and dominate the China and Java Seas, and attack the Andaman Islands to cover a landing on Rangoon. Then the overland advance could begin. In essentials, however, it was Stilwell's July plan coming back with the Generalissimo's qualified approval, so Stilwell hastened to obey the Generalissimo's order to "bring this up with the American and British Governments."15 Since the President's reply made it plain that Stilwell's American superiors were working on his plan, and so, by implication, on future orders to him, a trip to India for a conference with Wavell was the next order of business.
The War Department instructions to Stilwell for his talks with Wavell were given to him orally by Col. Thomas S. Timberman of OPD, sent to Chungking to give Stilwell the War Department point of view. They were:
It is necessary to have Chinese Forces participate with the British in the retaking of Burma.
Due to the command problem, that such Chinese Forces as are made available by Chiang Kai-shek be integrated in the British undertaking as a separate task force under a commander acceptable to the Chinese.
That the Chinese thrust into Burma, supported by the 10th Air Force, be coordinated by Stilwell with the British effort.
That the 10th Air Force remain under Stilwell's command and only when, in his judgment, the situation warrants, will it be diverted from the support of Chinese Forces.16
To the conference table Stilwell brought some tangible assets: the beginnings in India of a Chinese corps trained and equipped to U.S. standard; the nascent Tenth Air Force;17 and the Generalissimo's willingness to join in operations to break the blockade of China.
On 17, 18, and 19 October Wavell and Stilwell met in New Delhi, together with Gen. Sir Alan Hartley, the Deputy Commander-in-chief, India; Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Peirse, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Forces, India; General Bissell; and Colonel Ferris. The first two conferences were not satisfactory from Stilwell's point of view. Wavell objected to any increase in the number of Chinese trained in and based on India. He also mentioned a
number of logistical difficulties to support his view that any Burma operations should be on the most modest scale.18
From Wavell, Stilwell received the first description of British plans for Burma which had been extended to him to date:
General Wavell explained that he had been planning the re-conquest of Burma ever since the withdrawal of the Army at the end of April.
He had originally intended to start operations at the beginning of October but his plans had been upset and retarded by many factors. The chief of these was the low capacity of the railway and river communications to Assam, which had been further accentuated by inefficient working and by breaks in the system due to monsoon conditions. There had also been a very high rate of sickness amongst the troops, due principally to malaria. In addition aircraft, troops and equipment intended for India had been diverted in large quantities to the Middle East. . . . For administrative reasons any advance in force against Northern Burma could not start before March 1st.
He hoped however to advance at an earlier date in the South down the Arakan Coast and he was planning a small combined operation for the capture of Akyab. A decision with regard to the latter had not yet been taken.
An advance on March 1st left only 2½ months campaigning weather [before the monsoon rains] and even if he managed to get two Divisions to the MANDALAY area it would not be possible . . . to maintain them there. He did not want to be forced to withdraw from Burma a second time. He had therefore issued instructions for the initial objective of the Eastern Army to be Northern ARAKAN, the CHIN Hills, and the Upper CHINDWIN. He fully intended however to advance further East should it be possible to do so.19
Wavell's goal was not the seizure of Rangoon at which Stilwell aimed, but his plan could well serve as the first phase of a larger operation directed toward Rangoon.
On the last day of the conferences, Wavell's attitude changed. From Washington, Marshall and Dill of the British Joint Staff Mission to Washington had successfully urged the British War Cabinet to direct the Government of India's approval of a sharp increase in the number of Chinese troops in India.20 This action was promptly reflected in Wavell's attitude and improved the chances for a successful outcome of a limited campaign to retake north Burma. Therefore, when Stilwell produced the Chinese general plan for retaking all Burma and opening the port of Rangoon, Wavell gave his "general agreement with it as a basis for planning."21 Wavell noted again the obstacles to operations in Burma, such as the difficulty of gaining the air superiority needed, and
remarked that the date for "major operations" would have to be indefinite for the moment, but he agreed with Stilwell "that the plans already made by the Commander-in-Chief India and the memorandum from the Generalissimo should form the basis of future planning."22 Planning between the British and American staffs in India began forthwith, both for the limited operation in north Burma, which could be the first step toward retaking all Burma, and for operations to reopen Rangoon.
General Headquarters (India) promptly invited the American forces to send representatives to sit on a combined planning staff. SOS and Headquarters, Tenth Air Force, each sent an officer, while Lt. Col. Frank D. Merrill represented Stilwell's headquarters. The first meeting on 22 October formed two subcommittees to examine the problems of moving the two Ramgarh divisions to Ledo, from whence they might move into north Burma, and of maintaining them once they were there.23
Because of the limitations of the Assam line of communications and the many demands on it, moving the Chinese from Ramgarh to Ledo was far from routine, and many conferences were held on the problem in the next few days. One combined planning session feared nine weeks might be needed for the move, and there was also the problem of stocking the 45-day supply level that was needed at Ledo.24
It was also necessary to fix Anglo-American responsibilities in filling gaps in the equipment of the two Chinese divisions. It was agreed that the United States would assume responsibility for movement of supplies from railhead to roadhead and that 200 tons a day would be needed for a Chinese corps and 800 trucks to support two divisions over a 350-mile line of communications. The British very presciently suggested that air supply be investigated.
Summing up the conference on 26 October, Colonel Merrill told Stilwell that the British had offered 500 trucks and many pieces of medium artillery. They were also procuring animals for five battalions of pack artillery. The move forward could start about 1 February 1943. There were two major questions left to be settled between Stilwell and Wavell: what sector was to be given the Chinese Army in India, and what was its mission?25
The Anglo-American staff conferences had postulated Ledo as the base for Stilwell's Chinese Army in India and Myitkyina as its goal but, as seen by Merrill's remark, the point had not been settled. In his 29 July proposal to the Generalissimo, Stilwell proposed that the Chinese Army in India advance
into Burma from Imphal via Tamu and Kalewa.26 Therefore, when he met with Wavell on 27 October, Stilwell suggested that sector for the Chinese. Wavell refused, saying the Manipur Road from the Bengal and Assam Railway to Imphal could not support both the Chinese and the British and assigned the Hukawng Valley of north Burma to Stilwell. That done, the two commanders agreed Stilwell's mission should be to occupy the area Myitkyina-Bhamo to obtain use of the Myitkyina airfield and make contact with Chinese advancing from Yunnan. Since the Chinese were to be based on Ledo and advance down the Hukawng Valley, it was agreed that the Americans should assume responsibility for building the road from Ledo down the Hukawng and Mogaung Valleys to Myitkyina, eventually to link with the Burma Road. Stilwell's contemporary papers do not discuss the project, suggesting that his interest was slight and that building the Ledo Road was assumed as an added responsibility coming from the action by Wavell, who was Supreme Commander, India, in assigning north Burma as Stilwell's sector.27 Stilwell's solution to China's problem of supply, as he had told the Generalissimo on 29 July, was to reopen Rangoon.
The Generalissimo Will Be Ready
Returning to Chungking with the results of his conferences with Wavell and India Command, Stilwell found he had an unexpected ally, China's Foreign Minister, Dr. Soong. Before his departure from Washington for Chungking on 10 October, Soong had had long, frank talks with Marshall and Stimson. Stimson chose to paraphrase a letter Marshall was planning to send the President and spelled out the Marshall-Stimson thesis for the Chinese diplomat. The situation in Burma, said Stimson, was a tangled one which required zeal and co-operation to prevent misunderstanding. The solution to the problem of mutual co-operation between the three powers required action to open a ground line of communications over which supplies might be moved to China. To open that line of communications required military action. As Soong had remarked, the British and Chinese did not get on well together, hence U.S. action was important and necessary. This meant any American representative had to be a fighting military leader, not just a smooth and diplomatic type of person. Stimson asked Soong to tell the Generalissimo, in homely phrase: "It was a situation in which pepper was required more than molasses."28
The Chinese Foreign Minister laughed and said he understood. He assured Stimson he was anxious to "promote harmony" and asked Stimson to assure Stilwell that such was Soong's only purpose. Soong also spoke to Marshall,
who stressed the same points.29 After Soong's return to Chungking, Stilwell found an unprecedented atmosphere of co-operation and the Foreign Minister took Stilwell aside and reaffirmed his desire to aid. During the winter of 1942-43 Stilwell worked closely with Soong.30
This co-operation from Soong was most welcome to Stilwell, who after the Three Demands crisis was much concerned with the problem of finding someone in authority with whom he might work. During the First Burma Campaign the Generalissimo had sent letter after letter to Stilwell. There were no letters after the campaign, and, as noted, very few of Stilwell's memoranda received any answer. Then came the Three Demands crisis, with its clear indication that the Generalissimo would like to see Stilwell recalled. After the crisis, and until Stilwell left China, conferences between them were few and confined to the business at hand. Memorandums from Stilwell to the Generalissimo were rarely if ever answered, and the Generalissimo did not trouble to address Stilwell on his own initiative.31
Therefore, Stilwell sought someone who could play the classic Chinese role of go-between and possibly exercise considerable independent power in the loose-jointed Chungking government. First he thought he had found such a one in General Ho, then in Foreign Minister Soong, and then in the women of the Soong family. So on 28 September Stilwell wrote: "Saw Shang Chen about going to Ho on 30-Div Plan. 'Go-ahead' he says. Encouraging attitude. So J. Liu and I went over at 2.30 and saw him. 'Ch'ing Chiao, etc.' He heard the story and made notes. Very pleasant and when we left he said: 'Come over and talk whenever you have any questions and we can settle everything quickly right here.' . . . Can it be possible? Maybe this is the way to do it." [Stilwell's italics]32
Then Soong came back; the Generalissimo authorized him to help co-ordinate preparations, and Stilwell wrote: "Talk with T. V. [Soong] on general lines. He seems Christianized (watch and lighter presents). Promises all possible help. To replace Madame in dealing with Gmo."33
When Doctor Soong arrived in China, and was authorized by the Generalissimo to help co-ordinate preparations, I told General Ho Ying-chin that I was conferring with him; and that I trusted that General Ho would understand that there were matters outside the strictly military sphere, which I would have to handle with Doctor Soong; that I did not wish to appear to be avoiding or ignoring any recognized Chinese authority; that it would be easier
for me to deal with one agency only; but that I realized conditions required this procedure if the best progress was to be made, and that I would keep him informed of anything I did that had a bearing on military affairs.34
Stilwell addressed himself to the task immediately before him and laid the results of his conferences in India before the Generalissimo, Madame Chiang, and Soong, on 3 November 1942, together with a description of the preparations the Chinese would have to make if their share in the Burma campaign was to be a success. The difficulties of the campaign were candidly outlined. Wavell's plans for a limited offensive were presented as they had been given to Stilwell, and Stilwell warned that Wavell was not committed to an amphibious attack on Rangoon that was "being studied." Then, to forestall any attempt to place General Lo's headquarters in command of the offensive down the Hukawng Valley, Stilwell listed the logistical arrangements to be made in India. These ran from "a. Organization of a base at Ledo . . ." to "n. Arrangements with the railway authorities. . . ." In responding the Generalissimo said: "As to General Wavell's inquiry about the size of the Chinese force to be placed in the field for the operation, please inform him that I will employ 15 divisions from the Yunnan side exclusive of the troops to be used against the enemy in Indo-China, aside from the two Chinese divisions in India, and that these troops will be ready for operations before the end of February 1943." Since the Generalissimo was Supreme Commander, China Theater, the readiness of these troops would be his responsibility. To this promise the Generalissimo attached but one condition--Allied sea and air forces must be present in strength to dominate the Bay of Bengal and prevent the Japanese from reinforcing through Rangoon.35
In the discussion which followed, Stilwell told the Chinese leaders that the Hukawng Valley was very difficult terrain but that he had not been able to get another sector; that British command would be nominal; and that massive air and naval support might not be forthcoming. The Chinese made their desire for Allied naval control of the Bay of Bengal very clear, and Stilwell promised his best offices. It was agreed by Stilwell and the Generalissimo that it would be diplomatically inexpedient for the Generalissimo to be commander in chief of an Allied effort in Burma. The question of which Chinese officer would command the Chinese forces advancing from Yunnan was left open, but the Chinese Army in India was placed under Stilwell's command for Burma operations.36
Stilwell promptly informed Wavell of the substance of the conference with the Generalissimo, stressing his intention to proceed on the assumption that the Generalissimo's requirement of Allied naval and air dominance of the Bay of Bengal would be met. Wavell's reply repeated the essence of Stilwell's
remarks on the relation of air and sea power to the projected operation, and in effect the commanders were pledged to make detailed plans, begin preparations, and take the actual decision later. The code name of this operation to retake all of Burma was ANAKIM. The limited operation in north Burma took the name of RAVENOUS.37
"How was it all done?" asked Stilwell.
I got the G-mo to see it was necessary. Got his O. K. on the big SW Pacific scheme--ostensibly proposed by himself. In this he promised to use 15 to 20 divisions. This forced Wavell's hand and made him agree in principle to an offensive. Then Washington put on some heat, and the Chinese had to make a plan. This committed CKS, irrespective of the bigger concept. I got Wavell's plan and put it up to CKS. He agreed if reasonably sure of naval and air superiority. Then the North African affair began to go well, and we could look for naval and air reinforcements. Then Soong came in and grabbed my stuff. He evidently told CKS what the U.S. attitude would be if the Chinese didn't go to bat, so CKS gives the Chun Lung Pu the word, and they come with the stuff I have been pushing at them since last June. It looks as if they knew I was getting my way, and they have decided to go along. If I could have seen this far ahead last spring, I would have had more sleep.38
Japanese Plans and Dispositions in Burma
While Stilwell, Wavell, their superiors, and the Generalissimo were weighing the situation caused by the Japanese conquest of Burma, the Japanese themselves were wondering whether to exploit their successes or to remain on the defensive. Their intentions, their strength, and their dispositions are the background to what the British, Chinese, and Americans contemplated doing in Burma.
Their smashing victory in Burma exhausted the body of prewar planning that had brought such brilliant successes to the Japanese. Even before the end of the campaign, 15th Army was studying plans for an advance into India, but the necessary troops were not available and overland communications did not seem able to support an offensive.39 The first directive from Imperial Headquarters to Southern Army, under which the 15th Army operated, was dated 27 June 1942. Southern Army was ordered to stabilize its area and make it self-supporting. Pressure against the Chinese Nationalists was to be maintained from Burma, French Indochina, and Thailand. Offensive air operations against China and India could be carried out at the discretion of Southern Army, but while Southern Army was to prepare to eliminate strong points on its boundaries, it was not to undertake operations into India and China without specific orders. On 22 August, Imperial Headquarters took a more aggressive attitude, approved the suggestions of a Lt. Col. Hayashi on the Southern Army staff, and ordered
Southern Army to prepare to occupy northeast Assam, the Chittagong area, and cut the air supply line to China.40
In compliance, 15th Army produced Plan of Operation 21 in September 1942, which called for the 33d Division and part of the 55th Division to advance to the line Silchar-Dimapur in Assam. A portion of the 18th Division following them would leapfrog and advance to Golaghat. The rest of the 18th Division would advance up the Hukawng Valley to Ledo, then swing west to Tinsukia, forming the right prong of a double encirclement. The airline to China would thus be effectively destroyed. Operation 21 was objected to by the commanders of the divisions concerned, Lt. Gen. Kenya Mutaguchi and Lt. Gen. Shozo Sakurai, because of the geographic and logistical obstacles. Their views prevailed and the scheme was dropped on 23 December 1942. For the time being, the Japanese stood on the defensive in Burma.41 The American operations in the Solomons seem not to have determined this attitude, for later events make clear the principal reason for the Japanese decision--the belief that it was impossible even for them to conduct a campaign across the Chin Hills.
In June 1942 Imperial Headquarters ordered Southern Army to build a rail line connecting the Burmese and Thai rail systems in order to reduce the strain on Japanese shipping space caused by the long haul around Malaya and to meet the needs of the 15th Army which would be greatly increased by a build-up to meet any Allied counteroffensive or to invade India. Japanese engineers lacked road-building equipment, but one asset they had on which they might freely draw--an asset expendable and replaceable at will--the miserable Allied prisoners of war taken in Southeast Asia, and the coolies the Japanese had come to "liberate." Without medical care, without even the bare minimum of food and shelter, with the simplest and most primitive of tools, a total of 61,806 Allied prisoners of war and 269,948 coolies were driven into the steaming jungles of Thailand and Burma to hack a railway across the Dawna Range. From both sides of the hills the road began to go through the jungles, and the men began to die. Some died of sheer exhaustion, some of hunger, some of dysentery, some of cholera, some of malaria, many of combinations of all. The Japanese drove their prisoners forth in the morning, gibed at their sufferings, and rolled the dead into a ditch. These arrangements placed the very minimum of burden on the Japanese supply lines, and the tracks crept across the hills as more and more prisoners and coolies were fed into the jungle. For every mile completed, 325 men died.42
The four Japanese divisions that conquered Burma spent the rainy season resting and refitting. Defensive sectors were assigned as follows:
56th Division --Yunnan (Lt. Gen. Sukezo Matsuyama) 18th Division --northwestern Burma (Lt. Gen. Kenya Mutaguchi) 33d Division --the Arakan (Lt. Gen. Genzo Yanagida) 55th Division --southwestern coastal area of Burma (Lt. Gen. Ken Kokan)
Forward areas were occupied with a minimum of personnel, and the bulk of the men went back to more healthful areas in Yunnan, the Shan States, and around Pegu and Toungoo to rest, retrain, and re-equip. On 1 December movement back into position began, to be completed by 1 January 1943. The line to be held went through Tengchung, Myitkyina, Kamaing, Kalewa, and Akyab, which left the Hukawng Valley and most of the Mogaung valley--the trace of the road from Ledo--as a sort of no man's land, crossed only by wandering patrols.43
Preparations in China for the Offensive
Preparations for a Chinese advance from Yunnan into Burma may be said to have begun with the Generalissimo's statement of 1 August that the Chinese could provide twenty divisions with appropriate artillery.44 In the days following, the Chinese order of battle and strategic concepts had been disclosed to the Americans, and some troops began moving toward Yunnan. With the Generalissimo's statement of 3 November that fifteen Chinese divisions would drive from Yunnan as authority, Stilwell sought to persuade the Chinese into preparing a second Chinese Expeditionary Force. There were three problems: (1) the detail of efficient Chinese commanders; (2) the reorganization and re-equipment of the participating units; and (3) logistic support of the offensive. Stilwell did not approach his problems in that order. The realities of army politics in China demanded that he have something concrete to show any senior Chinese officer who might be asked to assume command of the Yunnan force, or Y-Force, as it was called thereafter.45
There were very considerable ordnance stocks in China. Talking to Currie on 31 July 1942, China's Chief of Ordnance, Gen. Yu Ta-wei, said the Chinese had 1,000,000 rifles, 66,000 light machine guns, 17,000 heavy machine guns, 1,000 antitank guns, 1,000 75-mm. guns and howitzers, 91 105-mm. howitzers, 60 6-in. howitzers, and 8,200 trench mortars. There were 250,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, more or less. The Chinese figures cannot be taken at face value. Thus, some weeks before, General Yu told an American lend-lease official that the Chinese had 1,700,000 rifles, while in December 1941
AMMISCA had used the 2,000,000 figure.46 Moreover, more detailed surveys of unknown origin in CBI Theater files, though agreeing rather closely with General Yu as to over-all totals, suggest that 25 percent of his artillery was obsolete and certainly some of it was in very bad repair.47 But there was enough Chinese ordnance on hand, as Stilwell's artillery officer, Colonel Dorn, wrote General Handy of OPD, to build up the Thirty Divisions to a very respectable scale:
The 30 Division Plan is sound and feasible; and the Chinese have ample equipment in China today to build up such a force. Instead they scream for planes, disregarding the fact that they have fuel and bombs for no more than a reasonably small force.48
Stilwell's task was to persuade the Chinese to assemble an appropriate amount of this equipment in Yunnan and to assign it to a group of divisions that had been brought up to strength and purged of inefficient commanders. Transportation and repair problems plus the ammunition shortage would leave gaps in the Chinese armory, and these lend-lease would fill as the transports flew in supplies.
In March 1942 the National Military Council proposed a Table of Organization and Equipment for the Thirty Divisions. This was accepted as a basis for discussion, and since August Stilwell's staff and the Chinese had worked on their tables. By November these were in fairly complete form and reflected both the needs of the Chinese and the capabilities of air transport. (Charts 3 and 4) The tables also reflected Stilwell's long study of the Chinese Army and revealed his desire to increase the base of fire and give added mobility to the maneuvering element of the Chinese regiments and divisions. Fitting the existing Chinese divisions to this pattern revealed at once what reorganization would have to be done and what would have to be flown into China before the Chinese could cross the Salween River into Burma with a fair prospect of success. The next step was to translate the results of this examination into requisitions and steps toward reorganization. (Table 5 and Chart 5)49
Organization of Chinese Infantry Regiment: 1942
Stilwell's Proposed Reorganization of a Chinese Infantry Regiment: 1942
Increase in Personnel and Equipment Under Proposed Reorganization of Chinese Infantry Regiment: 1942
Personnel and Equipment 1942 Organization Proposed Reorganization Quantity* Percent Increase Officers 98 127 29.6 Enlisted Men 2,054 2,865 39.5 Horses and Mules 147 441 200.0 Pistols, Small 93 139 49.5 Pistols, Large 206 283 37.4 Rifles 953 1,097 15.1 Thompson Submachine Guns, .45caliber 0 90 . . . . . . . . Machine Guns, Light 54 81 50.0 Machine Guns, Heavy 18 18 0.0 Grenade Dischargers 54 81 50.0 Trench Mortars, 60mm O 27 . . . . . . . . Trench Mortars, 82mm 6 6 0.0 Boys Antitank Rifles, .55 caliber 0 6 . . . . . . . . Bren Guns, .303 caliber 0 9 . . . . . . . .
* Virtually all increase in equipment was to have been supplied through lend-lease from the 3,500-ton emergency air transport program.
Sources: (1) Ma Rpt (China) 61, 12 Mar 42. MID Library. (2) AG (Y-FOS) 320.3, Hq Y-Force Operation Staff, CBI, KCRC.
Lend-Lease Contribution to Reorganized Chinese Regiments: 1942
On 7 November Foreign Minister Soong himself mentioned the need of reorganizing the Chinese SOS to support the projected 1943 spring campaign and approved Stilwell's prompt suggestion that Wheeler fly from India to advise on supply matters.50 Remembering how General Yu Fei-peng had vexed him in the First Burma Campaign, Stilwell asked to have him removed from any supply responsibility in Yunnan. Thanks to Soong, Yu's removal was shortly promised.51 When Wheeler arrived, Stilwell introduced him to some of the key Chinese military personnel, and then Wheeler began his survey. Stilwell wrote, "With Wheeler to see [Generals] Liu Fei and Ch'en. General walla walla [general discussion]. Told them a few things about getting down to cases. Apparently, preparations are actually under way. Imagine! for a Chinese offensive--Saw T. V. [Soong] and gave him a memo on essentials to be done now."52
In his memorandum Stilwell told Soong that a commander should at once be chosen for the Y-Force, that units to participate should be named, that reorganization of these units should begin, that the 269 75-mm. guns available should begin the trip to Yunnan, and that incompetent commanders should be removed. His paper devoted equal space to supply matters. Soong read that an efficient officer should head the Y-Force SOS; that, "transport being the basis of supply," this service should be reorganized at once and the lines of communications repaired; that supply depots should be established and movement forward to the Salween front of sixty days' supplies be initiated at once; that a medical evacuation service should be started; and that "the gasoline, weapons, ammunition, trucks, etc. that are stored away in varying amounts in the hands of individuals and organizations should be called for and produced, under serious penalties for retention."53
Wheeler discussed the supply situation at length with his Chinese counterparts--the ordnance, quartermaster, medical, signal, motor transport, engineer, traffic control, and "road improvement" officials. These Chinese asked only enough "to make a fight of it." Their requirements for the initial operations added up to 4,299 tons of air cargo to be flown from India.54
Flying 4,300 tons to Y-Force would drastically reduce the tonnage available
Quartermaster supplies 2,797 tons (mostly motor gas to bring supplies up). Ordnance supplies 1,100 tons (7.92-mm. and 75-mm. ammunition). Signal supplies 372 tons. Medical supplies 30 tons. -------- 4,299 tons.
to Chennault's air task force; Chennault protested as soon as word reached him in Kunming.55
The allocation of tonnage posed a fundamental issue. Unless Stilwell could divide Hump tonnage between the Chinese Army and Chennault according to strategic needs as the situation demanded, his influence on ANAKIM would be limited to what he could persuade the Chinese to do by the devices of rhetoric and the force of personality. In November 1942 Stilwell, as he told Soong, expected soon to have one hundred transports on the Hump and looked forward to the increasing efficiency of the airline. These factors would make possible a tonnage allocation in quantities more nearly satisfactory both to Chennault and to Y-Force.
Concentrating Chinese divisions loyal to the Generalissimo in Yunnan Province affected the whole structure of Chinese domestic politics. The Governor of Yunnan had to be placated by Soong, while a number of the key war area commanders convened at Chungking to discuss the projected operation and their contribution to it. Perhaps ominously, Soong warned Stilwell not to press the Generalissimo too hard with his reforms and urged him to establish cordial relations with Gen. Chen Cheng (VI War Area, and a potential Y-Force commander), Lt. Gen. Hsueh Yueh (IX War Area), and Lt. Gen. Hu Tsung-nan (I War Area). These powerful satraps, who controlled the territory between Sian and Changsha, would by their attitude largely determine the resources that the Generalissimo would feel able to commit to Yunnan. But Stilwell had to assume the Generalissimo would be strong enough to keep them obedient.56
So, looking about him, Stilwell wrote:
We're rolling. Yu Fei-peng is out of the picture. The new [supply] man is Ch'en Chin Chieh. Cantonese. 45. Originally 4th Army. Shanghai experience. Chang Fa Kwei's [IV War
Area] gang. Short and stocky, serious. May be a henchman of Fish-head's but we'll have to risk it. T. V. vouches for him. Associated since 1923.
They've accepted Wheeler as adviser. He's here and conferring with Ch'en. Arranging for meetings with signal, medical, ordnance, and transport services.
I've put Dorn on the artillery. He has seen Yu Ta-wei and latter is with us 100%--many good suggestions. Six-in. trench mortars available. Getting Dorn all the dope on artillery equipment, organization, and assignment. Dorn will see operations people.
Operations Section [Chinese General Staff] state the 30 divisions will be put in and compressed into 20. Formed into 10 corps. Six divisions on Indo-China border, plus four at Kunming. Ten divisions in Y-Force. Peanut said only one on lower line. I want two and so does Liu. We'll probably get them. Of all the points I was after we now have substantially all but the purge [of incompetent commanders]. And even that is working piece meal. (Yu Fei-peng, Tu Yu-ming, Lo Cho-ying).
We have now got both the Limies and the Chinese committed and working at it. If we can keep a fire lit under Wavell and horn in on command and training on this side, the job is in a fair way to get done. . . . And since everybody said it was impossible, naturally I'm pulling for it hard.57
Indeed, Stilwell was rolling, for on 1 December the Generalissimo agreed to command Y-Force in person. Stilwell at once told Marshall that since the Chinese had committed themselves, that since practically all the main points Stilwell had argued for had been accepted, the United States would have to be heard from next; for the situation was ". . . approaching the point where it was up to the United States to make good on promises of supply and transport. Chinese realize the seriousness and importance of operation and I believe are prepared for whole-hearted co-operation."58
Looking toward the future, Stilwell drafted a long and detailed memorandum for Soong outlining a campaign in China once the Chinese Army was rebuilt. The prerequisite was Burma's recapture. Immediately after it was taken, the Y-Force should move east to Kweichow and Hunan and prepare to attack Hankow. Stilwell suggested immediate stockpiling of supplies in the Changsha area to support the drive on Hankow. After Hankow was encircled from the vicinity of Kiukiang, its fall would be certain. Next would come occupation of Hsuchow, in order to "reach Japan from the air. . . . As soon as there is any prospect for initiating it, a large increase of aviation should be secured to support the operation and at once capitalize on it by starting an intensive and continuous bombing of Japan."59
Plans and Preparations in India
Immediately after the 27 October conference with Wavell, Stillwell ordered his SOS to make plans for supporting the Chinese attack down the Hukawng
Valley. Wheeler announced that he was beginning work at once and showed no doubt of SOS's ability to support an offensive. He planned to have warehouses, sidings, and troop accommodations ready by 1 March in order to receive personnel from the United States. Lend-lease supplies on hand would meet all of his needs except for seventy-two 81-mm. mortars, ordnance maintenance supplies, and medical supplies. The American personnel he needed totaled 540 officers, 256 nurses, and 9,906 enlisted men.60
The units Wheeler required illustrate the nature of U.S. support. Requested were one general hospital, three evacuation hospitals, one veterinary company, one medical battalion, one engineer depot company (less two platoons), one engineer maintenance company, one road-construction engineer regiment, twelve dump-truck companies, one quartermaster depot company, one quartermaster truck regiment, one quartermaster truck battalion, one ordnance depot company, one ordnance medium maintenance battalion, one infantry battalion, one military police battalion, and three antiaircraft batteries. Stilwell passed Wheeler's needs on to the War Department, thus facing it with the concrete problem of how far it could go in supporting a campaign in China-Burma-India that involved U.S. troops, matériel, and shipping.61
Agreement on some major points of logistical policy was reached by the Joint British and American Staff Committee, sitting in New Delhi, by 4 November. The plans for co-ordinating the movement of supplies to Ledo with the movement of the British 4 Corps to Manipur State were completed. It was agreed that British responsibility for moving supplies to Ledo ended at the railhead and that the SOS would run the Ledo base. Six hundred tons of stores a week were allotted to the SOS in the Ledo area until 4 Corps' concentration was complete. Col. John C. Arrowsmith arrived at Ledo on 5 November to begin reconnaissance of the area, of the road trace, and of the Ledo base.62 (Map 6)
Difficulties on the India side began to appear a fortnight after Stilwell secured the Generalissimo's conditional agreement on 3 November. General Ferris and Brig. Gen. William D. Old, Chief of Staff, Tenth Air Force, attended a meeting of Wavell's chiefs of staff, at which Wavell stated frankly he did not think troops could be trained and supplies accumulated by 1 March. He believed with Stilwell that the reopening of Rangoon was the way to re-establish a supply route to China but did not think the needed resources would be at hand for some time. Nor did naval and air superiority seem likely of attainment. No action resulted from the meeting,63 but to the Americans Wavell's reluctance to attempt a drive to the Chindwin seemed apparent.
SERVICES OF SUPPLY BUILD-UP. Above, construction work in progress, and below, lend-lease supplies are loaded into railroad cars, India, 1942.
British hesitation to undertake an operation in Burma in March 1943 became more evident during later November conferences between them and officers of Stilwell's headquarters. At a meeting between Colonel Merrill and Wavell's chief of staff, the latter pointed out that the Generalissimo's agreement to Burma operations was so hedged by conditions that it was hardly an agreement. He felt it would be impossible to support the Chinese once they were in Burma, yet ". . . the thought of another withdrawal into India caused everyone to shudder."64 A three days' conference on the SOS's taking over the Ledo area left the definite impression on Colonel Merrill that the British delegates had sought to persuade the Americans into an admission that an advance into north Burma was impossible. Merrill felt the point had been reached at which the SOS would have to undertake to do what it could with U.S. resources. Therefore, wrote Merrill, the SOS was about to ask CBI Theater headquarters for aid.65
Merrill's proposal that the SOS shift its resources from support of the Tenth Air Force to support of road building introduced a major issue in the allocation of American resources within CBI--should the air effort or ground operations be sustained? On behalf of the SOS Merrill suggested that the 823d Engineer Battalion be diverted from the Tenth Air Force to the SOS, on condition that the SOS keep the Assam airfields in shape. Merrill argued that without this battalion the Ledo base and the Ledo Road would be severely handicapped, whereas the Tenth would be merely inconvenienced. He further recommended in his memorandum that the 45th Engineers, then scattered from Agra to Karachi, be concentrated in Assam with a minimum of delay. To both these requests, General Stilwell put "O.K." in the margin. There were more suggestions in the paper for dump-truck companies and Chinese engineers. In short, Merrill proposed concentrating the meager U.S. resources around Ledo and beginning construction of a base for the projected campaign on the most modest basis possible. To the majority of his suggestions Stilwell agreed.66
The exchanges in the conferences of 19-21 November with the British suggested to Merrill that Wavell's staff feared that a Chinese attack into north Burma was premature and could not be successfully accomplished but that the British feared to say so because of possible reactions in China and the United States. He told Stilwell that Wavell would probably suggest limiting spring 1943 operations to a British advance to the Chindwin, plus occupation of Akyab, and postponement of more ambitious operations to fall 1943.67
Stilwell's needs for the North Burma Campaign were weighed by the War Department, and the answer that returned on 24 November provoked him into one of the strongest communications he, or probably any American commander,
ever addressed to the War Department. The radio from Washington told Stilwell that because of other theaters' needs all he could be spared was essential lend-lease matériel, essential engineer items to support the Chinese, U.S. instructors, and the "increasing effectiveness" of the airline to China.68 All of these items had been promised to him earlier, so according to this radio the War Department could spare nothing more to support the Chinese in their unprecedented offensive. The message was in accord with Marshall's 25 September draft but not with the encouraging references to a Chinese campaign in the reply sent over the President's signature. On 28 November Stilwell sent the War Department a message of blunt and scathing candor, telling it that if nothing could be done for him, he was content; but he would be most obliged if the War Department would not go on telling him of its intent to back him to the limit, for this message from it was the limit.69 If this radio accurately expressed the United States attitude, it would be extremely difficult to persuade the Chinese actually to go forward in Burma.
More Than JCS Support Required
The attitude Stilwell's military superiors took toward his proposals, and their accompanying feelings on persuading the British and Chinese to endorse Stilwell's proposals, was some months in evolving. On receiving the JCS's suggestions that plans be made for Burma's reoccupation, the CCS had referred them to their planners, who in turn reported in September that means for a major operation would not be available before fall 1943. Wavell's plans for a limited operation in Burma were in a sufficiently advanced stage to be communicated to his superiors, so the Combined Planners examined them along with Stilwell's plans.70 The scarcity of resources plus the trend of Wavell's and Stilwell's planning for a limited operation to take only north Burma in spring 1943 to be followed later by opening Rangoon apparently impressed the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a result they were soon considering, for agreed-on Anglo-American strategy, a limited offensive before the 1943 monsoon along lines similar to those suggested by OPD:
Take the Japanese airfields in north Burma which were being used as bases for attacks on the airline to China;
Dislodge Japanese forces from the India border to enable roads to be built into north and central Burma for a line of communications to support fall 1943 operations;
Take Akyab to obtain airfields in order to strengthen the air defense of Calcutta and future operations.71
This was on 3 November. Shortly after, Stilwell's report of his conferences with the Generalissimo came to Washington. Indicating approval of Stilwell's views, Marshall made a practice of sending Stilwell's more important communications to the President, and so he sent this on, first explaining how he had made his views on Stilwell clear to Soong:
. . . I forcibly impressed T.V. Soong with the fact that the great issue was Burma (not merely a harmonious group at Chungking); which meant a properly trained Chinese force at Ramgarh, an improved or selected Chinese force in Yunnan and a practical basis of cooperation with the British in such an operation--in other words Stilwell.
General Stilwell apparently has gained ground that I did not anticipate. We have been working in the Combined Chiefs of Staff on an operation into Burma, and of course the great problem pertains to the logistics and the naval support required. Until the situation is clarified in the Middle East and the Caucasus, the calculations could only be on such a vague basis as to have little reality.72
On 8 November the situation in the Middle East and the Mediterranean began to clarify as the British and American forces successfully landed in French North Africa. Completion of the campaign would relieve British fears for the Middle East, would open a supply line through the Mediterranean to India, and would permit Wavell more freedom in approaching Burmese problems. Fears over the Caucasus abated as the Soviets began their counteroffensive at Stalingrad on 19 November. Four days later the German Army which had been attacking Stalingrad found itself encircled. The long German retreat was about to begin. The initiative had passed to the Allies.
Stilwell's request for service troops and engineer equipment to support the north Burma operations arrived at a time when the War Department and JCS attitudes toward China and her problems were in the process of crystallizing. The 25 September draft by OPD of an answer to the Generalissimo's Three Demands took the attitude that nothing more than existing commitments could be spared for Stilwell. The President's formal reply of October urged offensive action in Burma on the Chinese. Stilwell had secured their assent to such action. However, on his asking for the means to support the Chinese in the offensive that the President had suggested, Stilwell had received OPD's chilling answer. Plainly, the time to harmonize the conflicting currents had come. And harmony was promptly established; the Chief of Staff supported Stilwell and told him so on 7 December:
MY DEAR STILWELL:
I am keenly aware of the seemingly unsurmountable difficulties that you have faced daily in the creation of an efficient striking force to reopen ground communications with China. You have far exceeded our expectations in securing authority for the reorganization which you are now rapidly putting into effect. We are doing everything in our power to find the ships to carry to you at least the bare essentials you so urgently require. Incidentally, the Chiefs of Staff are taking this up with the President tomorrow.
To paraphrase Mr. Churchill's famous statement, nowhere has so much been done with so little as under your driving leadership.
This note carries my Christmas greetings and personal thanks to you and your people. Please feel that we have you constantly in mind. I am certain that if we find ways and means to supply your most essential requirements you will give an historic beating to some Japs in 1943.
(Signed) G.C. MARSHALL.
P.S. I read your profane message for "Timberman's eye only" and I sympathize with you in your reaction.73
As General Marshall wrote, the Joint Chiefs placed the matter before Roosevelt on 8 December. In doing so, they revealed their pleasure at Stilwell's success in bringing the Chinese around. A significant new element was the statement that a limited operation along the lines Stilwell had discussed with Wavell could succeed and result in a land route to China from Ledo to Wanting via Myitkyina. Stilwell's initial proposals to Wavell had revealed no interest in such a route. After Wavell assigned Stilwell to north Burma, Stilwell had used the prospect of a road from Ledo to Kunming as an added argument to persuade the Chinese. Now, the Joint Chiefs were telling the President of the prospect. To give Stilwell road-building machinery and engineer, signal, and medical personnel, Marshall proposed to divert cargo vessels from lend-lease and troop lift from other operations. The JCS observed that if ANAKIM succeeded in opening a land route to China, it would permit basing greater air power in China. Roosevelt approved the JCS's suggestion that Stilwell be given the means for his share of ANAKIM, and Stilwell's modest requirements for the projected operation received a priority second only to Eisenhower's in North Africa.74
In accordance with the JCS directive, Army Service Forces examined the problem of filling Stilwell's request. By eliminating every man whose work might be done by an Indian civilian, it believed that a shipment of 6,000 U.S. troops would be enough. These were assembled and rushed to CBI.75
Before Marshall's reassuring words were received by Stilwell, the latter was becoming increasingly aware that both British and Chinese were having long second thoughts about operations in Burma. While Stilwell was in Chungking in November working with the Chinese, his New Delhi headquarters under Ferris was in constant touch with Wavell's. General Ferris's reports were disquieting to General Stilwell. It seemed to the American staff that Wavell's India Command and the Royal Navy command for the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal were approaching the operation with reluctance. Since the Generalissimo
had insisted on Allied naval and air superiority as a prerequisite, British reluctance could suggest to the Chinese leader that he might at any time declare India's arrangements inadequate and withdraw from the operation. The Generalissimo's position was known to India Command, which could easily make use of it by declaring naval strength unavailable, thus creating a situation from which the Generalissimo would be very likely to withdraw.
General Wavell made it quite plain that any operation would have to be a success, and Stilwell wondered how that could be guaranteed. Admiral Sir James Somerville, commanding Eastern Fleet, seemed unable to think of anything that might be used to convince the Generalissimo that the Royal Navy commanded the Bay of Bengal and knew of no forthcoming reinforcements. Wavell's quartermaster-general argued in conference that the recently begun U.S. road-building effort from Ledo was foolhardy and a waste of resources.76
Stilwell's relations with Wavell and the Generalissimo were not improved by some actions of the U.S. Naval Attaché in Chungking, Lt. Col. James M. McHugh, USMC. In October McHugh reported to the Navy Department a conversation between himself and the Generalissimo regarding Stilwell's replacement by Chennault and offered his opinion that such a step would be wise. Returning to the United States, McHugh paused in New Delhi and discussed Stilwell's plans and position with Wavell, criticizing Stilwell severely, and discoursing on Chennault's belief that Japan could be defeated by a minute China-based air force. In Marshall's opinion, expressed to the Joint Chiefs on 21 December, this indiscretion caused irreparable harm to the U.S. war effort in CBI and the Southwest Pacific.77
The first week of December Ferris was approached privately by Wavell and asked to consent to the elimination of the projected campaign because of the logistic difficulties involved.78 Wavell also complained to his superiors of the problems Stilwell was causing him. Stilwell was said to be in Chungking planning for Burma operations without consulting Wavell and with little reference to his American staff in Delhi, who were alleged to know little of his plans. Ferris was accused of being afraid to present the "true administrative picture" to Stilwell and of being overawed by him. Wavell's radio was a very long one, cataloguing every logistical and medical problem, from the monsoon to malaria. Earlier, Wavell had hesitated to attempt more than the most limited operations in Burma. Now, he wondered if, in the light of all these difficulties,
the Allies would be wise to attempt the reoccupation of north Burma in spring 1943.79 Analyzing Wavell's comments, Colonel Roberts of OPD, who had been Stilwell's G-2 in Burma, reported that Wavell had in many ways misrepresented Stilwell's plans and solutions for his supply problems and that Wavell's radio simply indicated he was not an aggressive commander.80
Marshall moved to support Stilwell by applying some pressure through Field Marshal Dill. The Chief of Staff pointed out that recent preparations in India might not have been brought to Dill's attention. The Anglo-American planners at New Delhi had estimated that the British concentration in Manipur State could be completed on 15 January, that the stocking of the Ledo base could then begin, and that the Chinese Ramgarh-trained divisions would be there on 1 March with the supply base ready to support them. With the means at hand Stilwell would build a dry-weather, single-track road (for pack train operations beyond the roadhead) as far forward of Ledo as possible. "In the light of the above," asked Marshall, "and as soon as Wavell learns that we plan to send engineer and other service troops and equipment, do you not think that his attitude toward carrying out the British-American-Chinese limited operations against Burma will be less apprehensive?"81
On 7 December Wavell told Stilwell directly of his doubts. He was most anxious to see Stilwell because the extreme difficulty of solving the problem of keeping troops in north Burma through the monsoon was now apparent, and reinforcements for India from the Middle East in early 1943 were extremely doubtful. Therefore, a north Burma operation in spring 1943 might be premature.82
Stilwell and Ferris met with Wavell and his chiefs of staff in New Delhi on 17 December. Wavell stated that as agreed previously he had continued planning for a combined offensive into north Burma. The problem was logistics. While he had no doubt the British and Chinese could get into north Burma he did not see how they could stay there during the monsoon rains. The supply route to China could only be reopened by taking Rangoon; however, the North African campaign had taken so much shipping that an amphibious operation against Rangoon would be impossible before fall 1943. By implication, therefore, the projected north Burma campaign would accomplish nothing to relieve China. Stilwell replied that the Generalissimo was anxious to open a road from India to China. Inflation was becoming rampant in China, while the Chinese forces badly needed small arms ammunition, artillery shells, and artillery. "Gen. Wavell said that the question really hinged on the possibility of maintaining a force throughout the rains at Myitkyina, and he thought that what was needed was an estimate of the earliest date by which the road
could be through to Myitkyina and brought up to all-weather standards. . . ."83
Stilwell then described the U.S. contribution to the Ledo road-building effort and to sanitation, and the Chinese proposal to commit twenty reorganized divisions. Wavell closed the discussion by remarking that he would go on with an advance toward Akyab regardless of what happened in north Burma though he had no plans to advance from Akyab.84
Wavell had planned a swift amphibious descent on Akyab, but North African operations had a higher priority on landing craft while a British amphibious brigade, which might have been used, was riddled with malaria as an aftermath of the earlier occupation of Madagascar. Consequently, his advance on Akyab with the 14th Indian Division had to be overland, and it was under way as he spoke with Stilwell on 17 December.85
When Dill sent Marshall a British study urging that nothing be done in Burma, the Army's Chief of Staff was moved to offer in rebuttal an exposition of his own views on CBI strategy:
Our great objective in the China Theater is the build-up of air operations in China with a view to carrying out destructive attacks against Japanese shipping and sources of supply.
To get the plan under way, General Stilwell has, with our approval and that of the Generalissimo, undertaken a program of intensive training and the task of equipping and providing effective leadership for selected Chinese units. This has taken form through the medium of the reorganization of the Yunnan forces and the preparation of an Army Corps at the Ramgarh Training Center.
The concessions made by the Generalissimo were promptly accepted and his promises of action are being implemented by the assignment of American officers with the units of his Yunnan forces, by the decision to have American officers accompany the advance into Burma of the Ramgarh Forces and by the provision of American service troops to back up the Ramgarh advance.
I am confident the individual Chinese soldier will fight, has no nerves, requires a minimum of food, clothing and similar supplies, and should, if properly led, trained and equipped (which has never been the case in the past), give a good account of himself.
The success of limited operations in Burma will afford increased protection to the air freight route to China and help to maintain this slender supply link to our American-China Air Task Force until such time as a land route can be opened. Upon the opening of a land route to China, we propose to move supplies for this air task force in increasing quantities and build up this force to where it will be extremely effective against the enemy.
Our present operations in China are severely restricted by the limitations of the air freight route from India to China, which necessitates early offensive action to facilitate at the earliest possible moment the opening of a land route to China.86
The Emergence of the Chennault Plan
Developments in Chungking paralleled those in Delhi. As soon as Stilwell tried to translate the Chinese 3 November promises into action, he met with
inertia in the Chinese Ministry of War and General Staff and an ever-growing tendency on the part of Chinese in high places to adopt the attitude, against which Magruder and Stilwell had often warned Marshall, that Chennault and his China Air Task Force should do the fighting in and for China.87 Nothing loath, Chennault was now claiming that with 105 fighters, 30 medium bombers, and 12 heavy bombers he could defeat Japan.88 The Generalissimo's diplomatic correspondence of 1943 suggests Chennault's claims had decisive effect on the Generalissimo's policies.89
Chennault's views on what could be accomplished in Asia by a small but effective air force were often expressed by him in 1941.90 Then came the First Burma Campaign, in which his American Volunteer Group had performed brilliantly. But instead of becoming the senior American air officer in China Theater, Chennault had become subordinate to other airmen without his combat record.91 Marshall's and Stilwell's plans contemplated reforming the Chinese Army and clearing north Burma before giving Chennault the supplies for a major air effort in China. These plans were not to Chennault's liking; in July and September 1942 he stated that given about 2,000 tons of supplies a month he could operate aggressively and effectively against Japanese aircraft and merchant shipping.92
The absence of comment in Stilwell's diaries suggests that he may have been largely unaware of the trend of Chennault's thinking until mid-October. There is no word of criticism directed toward Chennault until mid-December. Stilwell had been quick to support Chennault in aggressive action. Thus, when a major Japanese convoy dropped anchor at Hong Kong in October 1942 Stilwell was prompt to arrange reinforcements for Chennault to attack it.
Big opportunity at Hong Kong. Discovered on Tuesday, October 6th. On the 10th, still nothing done. Ordered help up from India by rad to Bissell, urgent. 10 P. M. radio from Bissell wanting to "confer" at Dinjan on important project; the birds will have flown. . . .93
Bissell got right on the job. The typewriters [B-24's] should be in on Mon (5) and Tues (7). . . .94
. . . Birds should be ready to fly Tues A. M. The news is spreading. They can't keep their traps shut. . . .95
The real restraint on Chennault was the inability of the Hump to support his operations. In his memoirs Chennault charges Stilwell with studied neglect
of the airline to China, but Stilwell, as noted in Chapter V, was always asking for more transports than OPD would allocate.96 Whether Stilwell should have devoted more time to his relations with the commander of the China Air Task Force is a major question, but, for whatever reasons, Stilwell did not, and Chennault drew his own conclusions.
Administrative problems embittered relations between Chennault's air force and Bissell's staff. Charged with misuse of its radio command net, scolded for using irregular command channels, suspected of harboring a smuggling ring, and disciplined for the misconduct of its personnel, the China Air Task Force felt persecuted. Moreover, Chennault deeply resented a directive which gave Bissell the right to select tactical commanders and staff officers for the China Air Task Force. Correspondence on the subject of appointments and removals of China Air Task Force staff officers revealed animosity between Bissell and Chennault.97
The September directive from Stilwell's headquarters made defense of the Hump Chennault's primary mission, but the monsoon rains of October in effect performed that mission for him and left him free to mount a series of attacks on Japanese aircraft and shipping in and near China that brought excellent results at small cost.
In defense of their portion of the ferry route, Chennault's fighters made offensive sweeps over Burma which persuaded him that "With a relatively small effort the C.A.T.F. was able to keep the enemy supply system sufficiently disjointed to make it impossible to accumulate enough matériel in advanced positions for a major offensive. The Japs were never able to support more than a few small patrols on the east bank of the Salween, and their long-anticipated major offensive never materialized despite the weakness of the Chinese defenses."98 Chennault concluded from this that a small air force could do great things to stop an army. Unfortunately for his deductions, the Japanese 15th Army had no thought of crossing the Salween, for its gaze was fixed on India; the anticipated offensive toward Kunming was a complete misinterpretation.99
When Mr. Wendell L. Willkie came to China in October as the President's personal representative Chennault made another convert. To Willkie, Chennault gave a letter for the President, dated 8 October 1942. In the letter he asked for "full authority as the American military commander in China," and an air force of 105 fighters, 30 medium bombers, and 12 heavy bombers, to be kept up to strength with 30 percent fighter replacements and 20 percent bomber replacements.
With this tiny air force he would "accomplish the downfall of Japan," and "destroy the effectiveness of the Japanese Air Force," the latter feat "probably within six months, within one year at the outside." To support this force, the aerial supply line over the Hump should be built up, but the amount of freight to be carried over it was "very small."100
How, precisely, would Chennault do this? He told the President:
Japan must hold Hong Kong, Shanghai, and the Yangtze Valley. They are essential to hold Japan itself. I can force the Japanese Air Force to fight in the defense of these objectives behind the best air warning net of its kind in the world. With the use of these tactics, I am confident that I can destroy Japanese aircraft at the rate of between ten and twenty to one. When the Japanese Air Force refuses to come within my warning net and fight, I will strike out with my medium bombers against their sea supply line to the Southwest Pacific. In a few months the enemy will lose so many aircraft that the aerial defense of Japan will be negligible. I can then strike at Japan from Chuchow and Lishui with heavy bombers. My air force can burn up Japan's two main industrial areas--Tokyo and the Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya triangle--and Japan will be unable to supply her armies in her newly conquered empire in China, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, etc. with munitions of war. The road is then open for the Chinese Army in China, for the American Navy in the Pacific and for MacArthur to advance from his Australian stronghold--all with comparatively slight cost.
While engaged in these operations, I will maintain full ground installations for the eastern terminus of the ferry route in Yunnan, at Kunming, Chanyi, Yunnanyi, etc. If a really major swift aerial movement is made by the Japanese across their staging route into Burma, to attack the India-China air supply lines, then, acting on interior lines of air communications, I can move back and again be within the warning net which I have established in Yunnan, and meet the Japanese over their Burma airfields and then and there destroy whatever force they have sent against us.
My entire above plan is simple. It has been long thought out. I have spent five years developing an air warning net and radio command service to fight this way. I have no doubt of my success.101
This then was the Chennault plan: attack military objectives in Japanese-held China; destroy the Japanese Air Force when it tried to defend them; then bomb the Japanese home islands after the Japanese Air Force had been destroyed. The logistic requirements steadily expanded in the years ahead, but the plan itself was unchanged.
Arnold heard that Chennault claimed two hundred aircraft would give him air superiority in China. Apparently, too, Chennault's complaints about lack of support were being heard in Washington. Stilwell immediately answered that Chennault's men had first priority on available supplies, that Chennault had wide latitude under his directive, and denied that any obstacles were being put in the way of awards to Chennault's airmen. Stilwell went on to say that while Chennault was superior in his sphere, his administration was bad. Stilwell doubted that Chennault could achieve air superiority in China, because only a few American aircraft could operate there. In reply, Stimson wrote that if Stilwell accepted Chennault's administrative weaknesses and gave him more
support and prestige, the result might strengthen Stilwell with the Generalissimo.102
In late November Madame Chiang arrived in the United States and was met in New York by Mr. Hopkins. After telling Hopkins that she had come to the United States only for medical treatment and rest, "in the same breath she proceeded to raise many questions relating to China and the United States."103 In the course of her interview with Hopkins, Madame Chiang made it "pretty clear she does not like Stilwell and expressed the greatest admiration for Chennault."104 Her expressions found a willing listener, for Hopkins was an enthusiastic supporter of Chennault in the highest Administration circles, which, thanks to Mr. Willkie, the U.S. Naval Attaché, Colonel McHugh, and returning members of Chennault's task force, were now fully aware of Chennault's claims and grievances.105
On 9 November 1942 the President wrote to Mr. Joseph W. Alsop, the columnist, then about to join Chennault in China, that he wished he could go with him to Chennault and that he was suggesting as an alternative that Chennault be called back for a short visit if the American airman thought it advisable.106
The Chinese Hesitate
In China, December found Stilwell having an increasingly difficult time with the Chinese Ministry of War and General Staff. Continuing his attempt to work through T. V. Soong, Stilwell bombarded the Chinese diplomat with memoranda, frankly discussing the difficulties which were accumulating with every day's delay. On 5 December Stilwell warned Soong that if the Burma operation was to succeed preparations had to begin at once, but "It is not known that these Armies have started to march." After discussing the artillery situation and criticising the dilettante approach that the Chinese had adopted toward it, he wrote: "The time has come when the Chinese Government must decide whether or not it intends to carry out the operation. To date there has been little indication that it considers the matter seriously. Sacrifices must be made. Difficulties must be overcome."107
Analyzing the situation he faced, Stilwell wrote, "What the hell will I do if they saddle me with this thing? Ramgarh Force--OK. Y-Force? (unless we
get a tough comdr). Limies? (lukewarm). Naval support--? Air support--? It seems to be mostly question marks!"108
But since on the surface at least the Chinese were co-operative, Stilwell adhered to his quid pro quo approach and told Marshall in a very strong radio that the United States in turn must honor its promises. After telling the Chief of Staff what the consequences would be if the Air Force was allowed to divert 12 transport aircraft promised earlier for support of the Y-Force, Stilwell went on to say that there should be an immediate increase in aid to China, that 2 fighter groups, 1 medium bomber group, and 50 transports should be dispatched at once to CBI, and that the 3,500 tons a month of lend-lease should be stepped up to 10,000 tons a month regardless of whether it could be moved from India or not.109
By 23 December, Stilwell spoke to Soong in terms of urgent warning. The Generalissimo had entrusted plans and preparations to that same General Lo Cho-ying whom Stilwell had forced out of Ramgarh for his attempt to divert 100,000 rupees a month to his own pocket, and the results had not been impressive.
More progress can be made if there is less nonsense. Just one department--the Ordnance--is working efficiently. Everywhere else is delay and confusion. The trouble can be largely corrected, even now, if the Generalissimo will appoint a real commander, give him real authority, and hold him responsible for results.
Has a commander been appointed for the Y-Force? I do not know yet, and I am entitled to the information. . . .
We have as difficult a task as I can conceive of coming in through the Hukawng Valley--the worst malaria section in the world--building a road over two hundred miles long through the mountains, and taking on a fight for a junction with the Y-Force. . . . Under these circumstances [of major U.S. aid for the project] I must assure myself that the Chinese commander is competent.
I have reported to the Generalissimo that in my opinion Lo Cho-ying and his staff are not competent to make the preparations for this operation. They have no conception of the requirements. . . .
If the present neglect of essentials by Lo--who I assume is the candidate for command--continues . . . I shall not feel justified in pushing my own people as I am doing at present. But even Lo could be made to do if the Generalissimo, as he agreed, will take command and insist on action.
As the matter is being conducted now, it cannot be put on at the date set, and may easily break down entirely. . . . The net result might very well be the acquiring by the British of all American resources in this Theater, for use in India under British command. We must avoid such a catastrophe at any cost. To do it, it is essential that the Generalissimo realize that efficient, radical, prompt steps be taken, that the War Ministry be energized, and that the command question be settled.110
Over the next few days Soong pondered Stilwell's warning that without drastic remedial action the attack from Yunnan would fail. A solution other
than remedial action may well have suggested itself to Soong, that is, to postpone the operation until fall. The Chinese Foreign Minister knew of the differences between Chennault and Stilwell, and certainly after a radio from Marshall on 16 December Stilwell was fully aware of Chennault's claim that he could defeat Japan with a tiny air force. If Soong could adjust the relationship between Stilwell and Chennault and pave the way toward the badly needed reform of the Chinese Army and Air Force, he would have made a major contribution to China Theater.111
Soong's proposal for a compromise solution was given to Colonel Dorn on Christmas Eve, 1942. On Christmas Day, Stilwell recorded that Dr. Soong had told Dorn of Soong's belief that "we have a chance to do almost anything." Soong suggested Stilwell yield on Chennault in order to obtain what Stilwell cryptically called "the big gravy." Soong, so Stilwell believed, was "firmly convinced Henry [Stimson] and George [Marshall] will do anything I tell them to."112
This was a crucial moment in Stilwell's relations with the Chinese. Stilwell's response to Soong's suggestion would reveal Stilwell's attitude and intentions in China Theater. If Stilwell accepted Soong's suggestions, if Soong in turn could deliver "the big gravy," then Stilwell could press forward with reform and reorganization of the Chinese Army, which as Stilwell himself had stated did not depend on matériel, while Chennault could have a free hand with his plans. And, if Stilwell aimed at command of the Chinese Army, his answer would reveal it, for it would have to define "the big gravy," as Stilwell saw it.
Stilwell's answer of 27 December was given orally, possibly to avoid compromising Soong. As was Stilwell's custom, he drafted it carefully beforehand:
Long Range Objective:
A powerful independent China, with a modern well-organized Army, in a position to back up all legitimate demands, and with close ties of interests and friendship with the United States. (Under these conditions, peace in the Orient could be assured, and China could take the lead in the organization of an Asiatic League of China, Indo-China, Siam, Burma, and India. The Pacific Ocean would be controlled jointly by the United States and China, with no conflicts of interest in the Dutch East Indies, Australia, or the Philippine Islands.)
Re-organization, equipment, and training of the Chinese Army, including the Air Force. The 30-Division Plan can be adapted to the units of the Y-Force, concentrated in Yunnan, where they are accessible for training and supply, and at the same time assure the defense of a vital area. (To assure supply, and convince the United States of China's sincerity, the joint
operation against Burma is an essential preliminary step. If unduly delayed, doubts will arise in the United States, and the present inclination to assist, even at the expense of other Theaters, will cool off. On the other hand this evidence of China's intentions to make what effort she can with her meager resources, will greatly enhance her prestige in the United States and put her in a position to get further help.)
Time. Avoidable delays have made it difficult to prepare the operation in time, but it is still possible if red tape can be cut, and if the Generalissimo gets behind it.
Insufficient Means. We can make up for Japanese superiority in equipment and training by numbers, co-ordination with the British move, and proper leadership.
Cumbersome administration and obstruction by certain elements with different ideas. The answer to this is a re-organization of the War Ministry, which might in effect, be accomplished by the following plan:
The Generalissimo to form a Mission to the United States to confer on all aspects of the war in the China Theater, in particular on further aid to China. General Ho Ying-ch'in should head this mission. It would take up such questions as the supply for the second 30- Division Plan, tank units, air service, the new Chinese Navy, development of road and rail communications, motor transport, technical assistants, etc. It would tour the manufacturing plants in the United States and serve also as a good-will mission. At least six months would be needed for it to complete its duties.
Meanwhile the Generalissimo would be concurrently Minister of War, and would appoint Dr. T. V. Soong as his Executive Assistant to co-ordinate American and Chinese activities for the improvement of the technical and supply services of the Chinese Army. [Stilwell's italics] The Ordnance is no problem, Communications, under Tseng Yang-fu should be no problem. The Air Service can be handled. Engineering and Motor Transport can be handled through Tseng Yang-fu. The medical tangle can be straightened out by the appointment of a strong man to head the service. The present Service of Supply can be developed and perpetuated as the field set-up for the entire Army. The "technical" control can be extended to Infantry and Artillery units through the medium of training schools that can be set up in Yunnan. (The Ramgarh school should continue as a feeder of Chinese instructors to units in China.)
The obstacle to the above is principally in in [sic] the Chinese General Staff, which for various reasons, is almost completely indifferent to and neglectful of the present low state of training, morale, equipment, supply, and leadership in the Chinese Army. Such minutiae as occasional breakage of supplies in the American Service of Supply in India, or orders for moving picture apparatus, or the status of a few airplane or motor parts, receive the attention that should be devoted to the big and glaring deficiencies in the Chinese Army itself. Some way must be found to energize the War Ministry, or such tendencies will continue to nullify all the efforts that are made elsewhere.
The mission suggested above offers a possible means od [sic] starting some much-needed changes.113
Stilwell's answer had some subtle aspects. On the basis of his great power within the Chinese Government, Soong had offered to mediate between Stilwell and Chennault. Stilwell's answer ignored this offer and countered with a proposal that closely resembled Soong's proposal to Stilwell. Aware that Soong considered him to wield great influence in Washington, Stilwell suggested an
arrangement that would greatly extend Soong's power in China at the expense of Gen. Ho Ying-chin, Soong's colleague.
While Soong and Stilwell conducted their delicate negotiations in Chungking, Soong's China Defense Supplies, Inc., in Washington, presented its version of China's lend-lease requirements for 1943. General Somervell promptly passed the Chinese bid on to Stilwell, observing that many of the Chinese proposals were beyond U.S. production capacity. Somervell added that the Chinese had assured him that their program was approved by Stilwell. Stilwell hastened to set matters straight and told Somervell that far from having approved the Chinese proposals, he was then in the process of reaching an agreement with Soong, Chen Cheng, and Ho Ying-chin on what the 1943 Chinese lend-lease program was to be.114
The Generalissimo Says No
Soong never answered directly, but over the weeks ahead Chinese diplomatic messages and Chinese inaction spelled out the answer. First hint that the Chinese would not cross the Salween in spring 1943 came in a radio from the Generalissimo to the President on 28 December. The Generalissimo claimed that in spring 1942 Churchill had assured the Pacific powers that at the end of the monsoon rains the Royal Navy would have eight battleships, three carriers, and supporting craft in the Bay of Bengal. In the Generalissimo's opinion Burma could not be taken without Allied naval control of the bay. Now, Stilwell had told him the Eastern Fleet had only destroyers and submarines. Moreover, though Wavell had allegedly promised that seven divisions would take part in the operation, the Generalissimo now understood only three would be used. The Chinese would be ready in March but could not attack unless the Royal Navy was ready to dominate the Bay of Bengal.115
This radio stirred Washington. Marshall at once told the President that Stilwell had reported no serious matter unsettled save that the Generalissimo insisted on British naval superiority in the bay. The President reacted immediately and sent a strong message, on 2 January 1943, to the Generalissimo through Stilwell. The Generalissimo was told that opening the Burma Road was more important than reoccupying all Burma, and he was promised that at the earliest possible date the President would definitely take up with the highest Allied authorities the matter of reopening the Burma Road without any avoidable delay.116
The Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed the naval question with the British Joint
Staff Mission, and Marshall told the JCS: "Advantage must be taken of the willingness of the Chinese to take the offensive. Means must be found to give the Generalissimo the necessary assurance that will enable the attack to jump off."117
The means were not to be found. Dill's attitude, consistent with that of Wavell, was cool, and he argued that the Generalissimo was confused about the nature and extent of proposed operations in Burma. There could be no fleet operations in the Bay of Bengal, Dill told Marshall, because Eastern Fleet lacked destroyers to escort the obsolete battleships which were all it had. This attitude was made yet more emphatic as the American authorities learned Wavell had told Dill that Stilwell was aware British naval co-operation could not be counted on even though the Generalissimo made it a condition of his joining in Burma operations.118
Soong came to Stilwell's house on 4 January 1943 to receive the President's message and assured Stilwell the Chinese would be ready to go on time. On the 6th, Stilwell's hopes of a successful operation fell when he learned the Generalissimo had appointed Lt. Gen. Tu Yu-ming, whose relief Stilwell had requested months before because of his performance at Toungoo in April 1942, as a group army commander of the Y-Force reserve at Kunming.119
The Generalissimo's formal withdrawal from the proposed Salween campaign came in the form of a reply on 8 January 1943 to the President's radio of 2 January:
I am deeply grateful for your message dated January 2nd. With reference to it, the following points suggest themselves to me.
The Japanese are fully aware that their final defeat will be accomplished, not by slow and costly reduction of island after island in the southwest Pacific, but by hard blows at the heart of their system of new conquests, on the mainland of Asia.
Their resistance has been extremely tenacious, even when fighting superior numbers for points not strategically vital, as in New Guinea. It is reasonable to assume that when the first hard blow at the heart is struck, they will fight still more obstinately and with infinitely more carelessness of the resources expended. An advance into Burma, even if limited to North Burma alone, would be such a blow. Furthermore, the Japanese have now had ample time to establish themselves and fortify their positions in Burma, and to repair the facilities of the numerous supply lines, river, rail and road, by which they may reinforce and munition their armies. In a campaign in North Burma supply lines which would be available to us both on the Indian and on the Chinese side, are weak and exceedingly restricted.
Therefore I am convinced that the attempt to retake Burma must be a combined overland and seaborne operation. Unless the navy could prevent enemy reinforcements by sea, or enable a landing force to take the Japanese in the rear in South Burma, the enemy will be in a position to concentrate rapidly against our armies in the North. Owing to the weakness of our supply lines, we shall not be able to match the Japanese concentration, whatever
strength we may have available in the rear. Thus I consider it possible, and even likely, that in an advance restricted to North Burma our armies would ultimately be exposed to the risk of defeat. I am also convinced that to avoid defeat, the Allied forces must strenuously muster satisfactory numbers and quality on the Indian as well as on the Chinese side, and I consider that the forces which Field Marshal Wavell now proposes to engage are too inadequate.
For these reasons, I regretfully conclude that if the navy is unable to control the Burma seas, it will be better to wait a few months longer, or even until the monsoon season ends next autumn, than to run the risks involved in the suggested North Burma campaign. Keenly as China desires the re-opening of her land communications, ready as I am to do anything in my power to bring the day nearer, I cannot forget that another failure in Burma would be a disaster for China so grave that the results cannot now be predicted. Under the circumstances, the more cautious course appears the only one open to me.
Then, in his next paragraph the Generalissimo struck the note that was to dominate the next eighteen months in China Theater--the acceptance of Chennault's claims and the reliance on U.S. air power.
Although the advance into Burma is temporarily deferred, there is no reason why preparatory measures in this theatre should not be pushed forward as rapidly as is consistent with the Grand strategy of the United Nations. The remarkable potentialities of an air offensive in China have already been demonstrated by a small and ill-supported force. I believe that an early air offensive is feasible, since, owing to the peculiar tactical conditions which prevail here, neither the supply, material and personnel requirements are such as to embarrass the United Nations' air effort elsewhere. The return, I predict, will be out of all proportion to the investment, and by further weakening the Japanese air arm and striking at the sea-borne communications with their new conquests, an air offensive in China will directly prepare for the ultimate general offensive to which we both look forward.
I would also urge that even if the British are not now able to muster sufficient strength, everything be done to induce them to set a definite date by which time they will have already concentrated adequate land and naval forces for a Burma campaign.
On the part of the Chinese Army, I reiterate that we are proceeding with our preparations with all possible speed. We shall be ready to strike whenever our Allies are ready.
I have placed our position before you with the utmost frankness, which the gravity of the situation demands. I repeat, it is with the deepest regret and only after the most careful thought, that I have reached the conclusions herein expressed.120
The United States was at first reluctant to accept the Generalissimo's message at face value. For a week or more Stilwell thought the Chinese might yet attack. Roosevelt urged the Generalissimo not to make a final decision until after a forthcoming conference between the President and Churchill, for naval support could be arranged there in ample time for March operations. The Generalissimo would not accept this, and his 8 January message was the final answer. It was regarded by the highest Allied authorities as ending prospects for a Burma operation in spring 1943.121
A few weeks later Madame Chiang addressed the Congress. A report stated, "The audience shouted unrestrainedly when she said: 'From five and a half years of experience we in China are convinced that it is the better part of wisdom not to accept failure ignominiously, but to risk it gloriously!' "122
The Generalissimo's refusal to risk failure in Burma, and his obvious desire that offensive action in China Theater be the task of American aircraft and American airmen, ended a period in which Stilwell, with the support of the President, had sought to persuade the Chinese into seeking their own salvation by reforming their Army and with their allies making an effort to break the blockade of China. In the course of this effort, Stilwell had presented a plan of action to the Chinese, British, and Americans, had begun organizing and equipping a Chinese corps at Ramgarh, and had sought to persuade the Chinese into assembling twenty reorganized and re-equipped divisions in Yunnan. The Joint Chiefs of Staff approved his plan. His immediate superiors, Stimson and Marshall, approved his suggestion that a bargaining approach be adopted in dealing with the Chinese.
The British revealed reluctance to mount an operation into Burma almost as soon as they had agreed to begin preparations for it. Further complicating matters, General Chennault placed before the Chinese, the British, and Stilwell's superiors his claim that with 105 fighters, 30 medium bombers, and 12 heavy bombers plus replacements he could defeat Japan. The proposition was most attractive to the Chinese. Chennault urged it strongly during the weeks when British hesitations were becoming apparent in Chungking. The Generalissimo accepted Chennault's views. Moreover, he joined those who were urging them on the President, among whom was the President's closest adviser, Harry Hopkins.
Having accepted Chennault's ideas, the Generalissimo called a halt to the operations scheduled for spring 1943. Thereby he moved to a diplomatic position of considerable strength, from which he could urge that the solution of China's military problems lay in the United States sending more and yet more air power to China, rather than in anything the Chinese might do for themselves.
The President was thus confronted with a major issue. Inevitably, he would have to choose between support of Stilwell and Marshall, with their insistence on bargaining with the Generalissimo to reform his Army with a view toward fighting the Japanese, and of General Chennault, whose plan permitted the President to be in full accord with the Generalissimo's wishes.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (6) * Next Chapter (8)
1. See Ch. V, above.
2. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, Ch. XXV.
3. JCS 28th Mtg, 11 Aug 42, Item 6.
4. Memo, Handy for Marshall, 14 Aug 42, sub: Three Minimum Reqmts For China Theater Submitted by Generalissimo; Memo, Handy for Marshall, 4 Sep 42, sub: Support of China. WDCSA (China), A45-466. Stimson approved the basic memorandum on 27 August 1942.
5. (1) JCS 30th Mtg, 25 Aug 42, Item 7. (2) Item cited n. 3.
6. (1) CCS 104, 25 Aug 42, sub: Retaking of Burma. (2) CM-OUT 6610, AGWAR to Chungking, 19 Sep 42.
7. (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 152. (2) CM-OUT 8582, Marshall to Stilwell, 25 Sep 42. (3) CM-IN 12306, Stilwell to Marshall, 28 Sep 42.
8. See Ch. V, above.
9. Stilwell Diary, 13 Oct 42.
10. (1) Min, Conf, Stilwell and Mme. Chiang, 14 Sep 42, Alexander, recorder. Item 18, Bissell Corresp Folder, CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) Assisted by Currie, Marshall had drafted the U.S. reply to the Generalissimo's modified demands. On 10 October Roosevelt approved the draft radio. Memo, Hopkins for Marshall, 10 Oct 42. WDCSA 381 China (10-2-42), A46-523. (3) Memo, Stilwell from Roosevelt for Generalissimo, 12 Oct 42. Item 71, Bk 1, JWS Personal File.
11. Stilwell asked that beginning November 1942 the War Department ship to India for airlift to China: ordnance to bring China's artillery allocation to 720 37-mm. antitank pieces, 720 75-mm. pack howitzers, 360 105-mm. howitzers, 12,000 submachine guns, 13,250 Bren guns, and 30,000,000 rounds of 7.92-mm. ammunition. CM-IN 5524, Chungking to AGWAR, 12 Oct 42.
12. CM-OUT 6064, Marshall to Stilwell, 19 Oct 42.
13. Ltr, FAB/NMC 136, 14 Oct 42, signed Shang Chen, with Incl, sub: Gen Plan For Retaking Burma Under Jt Effort of Chinese, British, and American Forces. SNF-84.
15. See Chapter V, page 179, above for Stilwell's July 18th proposal.
16. (1) Memo, Handy for Marshall, 1 Oct 42. sub: Burma Opns. WDCSA 381 China (10-1-42), A46-523. (2) Stilwell Diary, 18 Oct 42.
17. See Ch. VI, pp. 198-201, 212-20, above.
18. (1) CM-IN 07342, Stilwell to Marshall, 17 Oct 42. (2) CM-IN 08124, Stilwell to Marshall, 18 Oct 42. (3) Rad from Wavell, 28 Oct 42, Tab A, JCS 40th Mtg, 3 Nov 42. ABC 384 (Burma), 6-25-42, Sec 1A, A48-224. (4) Wavell Despatch, March 1942 to December 31, 1942, Supplement to The London Gazette. (5) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 163-64.
19. (1) Notes, Conf at GHQ, New Delhi, 18, 19 Oct 42, Wavell and Stilwell. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pages 162-63, suggest that the Notes actually refer to the session on 19 October.
20. (1) Memo, Marshall for Dill, 6 Oct 42. WDCSA 381 China (10-6-42), A46-523. (2) CM-IN 04048, Stilwell to Marshall, 10 Oct 42. (3) Memo, Marshall for Roosevelt, 10 Oct 42; Ltrs, Dill to Marshall, 13, 19 Oct 42. WDCSA 381 China, A46-523.
21. (1) Notes cited n. 19(1). (2) CM-IN 11578, Stilwell to Marshall, 27 Oct 42. (3) The Stilwell Papers, p. 164.
22. Notes cited n. 19(1).
23. Ltr, Lt Col Frank Milani, Asst AG, Br Office, for Stilwell, to Wheeler, Bissell, Merrill, 21 Oct 42, sub: Jt Planning. SNF-60. The CBI usage of joint for combined was late in being abandoned.
24. Min, Conf, 24 Oct 42, sub: Quartermaster Problems Arising Out of Move of Chinese Corps from Ramgarh to Ledo Area. SNF-60.
25. Min, Second Mtg, Jt British and American. Stf Com, 26 Oct 42; Summary of Confs, Merrill, recorder, SNF-60.
26. See Ch. V, pp. 181-82, above.
27. Ltr, Stilwell to Wavell, 8 Nov 42, again stressing that Stilwell had been "assigned" the Hukawng Valley; Min, Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 3 Nov 42; Notes, Conf, Wavell and Stilwell, 27 Oct 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
28. Memo of talk with Soong, 12 Oct 42. Stimson Papers. (See Bibliographical Note.)
29. Memo, Marshall for President, 5 Nov 42. WDCSA 381 China (11-5-42), A46-523.
30. (1) Folder, Ltrs and Memos, Stilwell to Soong, 1942-43, Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 166-67. (3) Ltr, Stilwell to Marshall. Bk 6, OPD Exec 8. Colonel Timberman hand carried this letter to General Marshall in November.
31. "To ignore your chief of staff completely [may] be good practice, but I doubt it. Over a period of a year and a half, I submitted memos and studies on various subjects to him. He never deigned to discuss any of them. It was impossible to argue with him. He would simply pass down the decision--always 'No.' And that ended it." The Stilwell Papers, pp. 221-22.
32. Stilwell Diary, 28 Sep 42.
33. Stilwell B&W, 5 Nov 42.
34. Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 23 Jan 43. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
35. Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 3 Nov 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
36. (1) Ibid. (2) CM-IN 1965, Stilwell to Marshall, 5 Nov 42.
37. Ltr, Stilwell to Wavell, 8 Nov 42; Ltr, Wavell to Stilwell, 16 Nov 42. SNF-46.
38. This passage completes Stilwell's essay on page 168 of The Stilwell Papers. Stilwell Undated Paper. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
39. Japanese Study 88.
40. (1) Imperial General Headquarters Army Order 650, 27 Jun 42, with Apps. I and II, Pt. V, SEATIC Sp Int Bull, 1946, p. 9. MID Library. This order also in GHQ, Far East Comd, Mil Hist Div, Imperial General Headquarters Army Orders, Vol. II. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2) Imperial General Headquarters Army Order, 22 Aug 42, to Southern Army, SEATIC Sp Int Bull, 1946, p. 18; SEATIC Hist Bull 240, 9 Jul 46. MID Library.
41. (1) Japanese Study 89. (2) SEATIC Hist Bull 240, 9 Jul 46. MID Library. (3) Imperial General Headquarters Army Directive 1381, 23 Dec 42, GHQ, Far East Comd, Mil Hist Div, Imperial General Headquarters Army Directives, Vol. II. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.
42. SEATIC Bull 246, 8 Oct 46, App. B, sub: Burma-Siam Ry, pp. 17-18. MID Library.
43. (1) SEATIC Bull 246, 8 Oct 46, App. B, sub: Burma-Siam Ry. MID Library. (2) Japanese Study 89.
44. See Ch. V, pp. 181-82, above.
45. (1) CM-IN 5176, Stilwell to Marshall, 12 Nov 42. (2) The Stilwell Papers, page 191, gives Stilwell's appreciation of the politics involved.
46. (1) Memo by J. Franklin Ray, Jr., 9 Aug 42, sub: Notes, Conf, Currie and Yu Ta-wei, Chungking, 31 Jul 42. SNF-159. (2) Ltr, Maj Gen Kiang Piao, CDS Ordnance Off, Washington, to Col John B. Franks, Actg Dir, Def Aid Div, 29 Aug 42. Folder, 7.92-mm. Ammunition, ASF (DAD) ID, A46-299. The Chinese rifles and machine guns were 7.92-mm.
47. In SNF-159 an otherwise unidentified table, dated 12 August 1942, lists: 750 modern antitank guns and 251 obsolete, 274 obsolete pieces of pack artillery, 176 obsolete field guns, etc. (2) In SNF-15 an undated, but detailed, survey gives 1,000,000 rifles, 62,000 light machine guns, 16,000 heavy machine guns, 7,800 trench mortars, 593 modern antitank guns of 37-mm. caliber and larger, 417 modern pack howitzers, and 211 antiaircraft guns of all sizes. If the obsolete pieces are included, the figures in this survey tally closely with those Yu gave Currie.
48. Ltr, Dorn to Handy, 4 Aug 42. OPD 381 CTO, Sec 3, A47-30.
49. Stilwell's total lend-lease stockpile during 1942 consisted of the 3,500-ton emergency air transport program, some British reverse lend-lease to China, and the stockpile gathered in India after the fall of Rangoon. The U.S. contribution to the Chinese Tables of Organization and Equipment was to come largely from the six months' 3,500-ton program, or a total of 21,000 tons for thirty divisions. See Chapter V, pages 160-61, above, for the Munitions Assignments Board's decision on the 3,500-ton program.
50. (1) Stilwell B&W, 7 Nov 42. (2) Rad T-114, Stilwell to Wheeler, 7 Nov 42. Item 92, Bk 1, JWS Personal File.
51. (1) Stilwell Diary, 18 Nov 42. (2) CM-IN 5176, Stilwell to Marshall, 12 Nov 42. Periodically, Stilwell kept Marshall informed of his talks with Soong. The War Department thereby was quite close to his day-by-day progress on the Y-Force.
52. Stilwell Diary, 21 Nov 42.
53. Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 12 Nov 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
54. (1) CM-IN 12216, Stilwell to Marshall, 28 Nov 42. (2) Memo, Wheeler for Stilwell, 28 Nov 42, sub: Chinese SOS. SNF-55. Wheeler breaks down the ammunition to 15,000,000 rounds of 7.92-mm. and 30,000 rounds of artillery. Quartermaster items included raincoats, mosquito bars, tennis shoes, blankets, and tents. (3) Complete stockpile details on Y-Force's lend-lease build-up are in Yoke Reports, prepared by Eastern Section, SOS, under the direction of Colonel Kohloss. Yoke Reports 1 (13 Dec 42), 6 (7 Feb 43), 16 (18 Apr 43), 20 (1 May 43), 37 (10 Jul 43), and 49 (11 Aug 43) give the status of Y-Force lend-lease stockpiles. G-4, Y-FOS, KCRC. (4) Rpt, Hq Eastern Sec, USAF SOS CBI, 13 Dec 42, sub: Initial Status Rpt of Yoke Force. G-4, Y-FOS, KCRC.
55. (1) In Way of a Fighter, page 204, Chennault writes that on 20 January 1943 Stilwell cut him to 700 gallons of gasoline a day to stockpile supplies for Y-Force. (2) Ltr, Col Clinton D. Vincent, Executive Off, CATF, to Chennault, 22 Jan 43. Replying to Chennault's oral orders, Vincent assumes two cases, A and B. Under A, the worse case, the China Air Task Force would receive 900 gallons of gasoline a day which would allow it only defensive action at Kunming and Chanyi, and a precarious defense at that. (3) Ltr, Chennault to Lt Gen Albert C. Wedemeyer, CG, USF China Theater, 6 Jul 45. WDCSA 091 China, 15 Aug 45. Col Vincent's Memo is Item 3, Incl II.
56. (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 157, 169-70, 173. (2) Every fall the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang had its annual gathering. Without knowing what the Generalissimo told his war area commanders, Stilwell assumed that they were kept abreast of the Y-Force build-up though he worried over the commanders' adherence to the plan. CM-IN 9374, Stilwell to Marshall, 22 Nov 42; CM-IN 12216, Stilwell to Marshall, 28 Nov 42; CM-IN 1197, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Dec 42; CM-IN 3814, Stilwell to Marshall, 9 Dec 42.
57. Stilwell B&W, 19 Nov 42.
58. CM-IN 1197, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Dec 42.
59. Memo, in Stilwell's hand, for Soong. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. The memorandum speaks of U.S. instructors for Y-Force leaving the United States "about Dec. 1." There is no record of the memorandum having been presented, but since Stilwell obviously thought it important enough to preserve, it may have been.
60. (1) Memo, Wheeler for Hearn, 29 Oct 42, quoting Memo, Stilwell for Wheeler. SNF-60. (2) Memo, Wheeler for Stilwell, 4 Nov 42, sub: Plans for Mission of SOS at X [Ledo]. SNF-58.
61. (1) Memo cited n. 60(2). (2) MS 428, Army Service Forces Activities in the Supply of China, Burma, and India, 1942-1943, p. 47. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.
62. (1) SOS in CBI, p. 18. (2) Interim Rpt by Jt British and American Stf Com, 4 Nov 42. SNF-57.
63. Min, 52d Mtg, COS Com, 17 Nov 42, COS(42)-III. SNF-84.
64. Memo by Merrill, sub: Notes on Conf, 17 Nov 42. SNF-84.
65. Memo by Merrill, sub: Summary of Confs Nov 19, 20, and 21. SNF-84.
68. Rad WAR 1724, Marshall to Stilwell, 24 Nov 42. Item 115, Bk 1, JWS Personal File.
69. (1) CM-IN 12205, Stilwell to Timberman, 28 Nov 42. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 171.
70. (1) CCS 104/2, 9 Sep 42, sub: Plan for Recapture of Burma. (2) Min, CPS 31st Mtg, 4 Sep 42. Item 4, Tab L, ABC 384 (Burma), 8-25-42, Sec 1B, A48-224.
71. Notes, JCS 40th Mtg, 3 Nov 42, sub: Plan for Retaking Burma. ABC 384 (Burma), 8-25-42, Sec 1A, A48-224.
72. Memo cited n. 29.
73. (1) Ltr, Marshall to Stilwell, 7 Dec 42. Stilwell Personal Papers. (2) Rad cited n. 68.
74. (1) Suppl Min, JCS 45th Mtg, 8 Dec 42, Item 6. (2) JCS 162, 7 Dec 42, sub: Opns in Burma, Mar 43. (3) Rpt, Jt Subcom, JPS, 10 Dec 42, sub: Opns in Burma, Mar 43. ABC 384 (Burma), 8-25-42, Sec 1A, A48-224. (4) Ltr, Marshall to Dill, 13 Dec 42. OPD 381 CTO (12-13-42), A47-30.
75. MS, pp. 46-55, cited n. 61(2).
76. (1) Rad AMMDEL 516, Ferris to Stilwell, 18 Nov 42. Item 103, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (2) Ltr, Ferris to Stilwell, 16 Nov 42. Item 209, Bk 3, JWS Personal File. (3) CM-IN 11004, Stilwell to Marshall, 24 Nov 42.
77. (1) Memo, Marshall for JCS, 21 Dec 42, sub: Gen Stilwell. OPD 381 CTO, Sec. 3, A47-30. (2) Suppl Min, JCS 47th Mtg, 22 Dec 42, Item 10. (3) Memo, Handy for Marshall, 12 Dec 42, sub: Rpt by Naval Attaché in Chungking Re Opns U.S. Forces, CBI. OPD 381 CTO, Sec. 3, A47-30.
78. (1) Rad AMMDEL 568, Ferris to Stilwell, 6 Dec 42. Item 136, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (2) Rad AMMISCA 1494, Stilwell to Marshall, 7 Dec 42. Item 137, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (3) The Stilwell Papers, p. 176.
79. (1) Rad COS W 388, COS to JSM, 9 Dec 42. Folder 22, OPD Exec 10. (2) Ltr, Dill to Marshall, 10 Dec 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466.
80. Memo, Roberts for Wedemeyer, 12 Dec 42. ABC 384 (Burma), 8-25-42, Sec 1A, A48-224.
81. Ltrs, Marshall to Dill, 10, 13 Dec 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466.
82. Rad British MA to Stilwell, 7 Dec 42. SNF-46.
83. Min, 61st Mtg, COS Com, 17 Dec 42. SNF-84.
85. Field Marshal Viscount Wavell, "Operations in the India Command from 1st January, 1943, to 20th June, 1943," Supplement to The London Gazette, April 22, 1948, pars. 1-5.
86. Ltr, Marshall to Dill, 21 Dec 42. WDCSA China (12-9-42), A45-466.
87. (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 179, 180, 183. (2) See Chs. III and V, above.
88. Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 214.
89. (1) Rad AGWAR 31, Chiang to Roosevelt, 9 Jan 43. Item 161, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (2) Ltr, Chiang to Roosevelt, 23 Feb 43. Item 58, OPD Exec 10. (3) Ltr, Soong to Roosevelt, 29 Apr 43. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers.
90. See Ch. I, pp. 10, 17-21, above.
91. See Ch. II, pp. 73, 78-79, above.
92. See Ch. V, pp. 187-89, above.
93. Stilwell B&W, 10 Oct 42. Lack of criticism in Stilwell diaries may usually be taken as approval.
94. Stilwell Diary, 11 Oct 42.
95. Stilwell Diary, 12 Oct 42.
96. Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 203.
97. (1) Memo, Bissell for Chennault, 16 Sep 42, sub: Infraction of Radio Procedure, with Incls and Inds. Misc Corresp Folder (Apr-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) Rad SVC 130, Bissell to Stilwell, 1 Dec 42; Rad AG 409, Stilwell to Marshall, 18 Oct 42. Items 128, 78, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (3) Portions of the bitter exchange of letters between Chennault and Bissell are in CATF 312.9, USAF Hist Div.
98. Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 195.
99. Japanese Study 89.
100. Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 212-14.
101. Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 215.
102. (1) CM-OUT 05132, Arnold to Stilwell, 16 Oct 42. (2) Rad AMMDEL AM 409, Stilwell to Marshall, 18 Oct 42; Rad WAR 100, Stimson to Stilwell, 24 Oct 42. Items 78, 79, Bk 1, JWS Personal File.
103. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 660.
104. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 661.
105. Bk VII, Hopkins Papers.
106. F.D.R., His Personal Letters, 1928-1945 (New York, 1950), Vol. II, p. 1361. Contrast the President's statement of Alsop's mission, dated 9 November 1942, with a memorandum, Stettinius for Hopkins, dated 17 November 1942, in Book VII, Hopkins Papers: "I have today completed arrangements for Joe Alsop to proceed to Chungking about December 1 to become the lend-lease representative there."
107. Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 5 Dec 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
108. Stilwell B&W, 9 Dec 42.
109. (1) CM-IN 9374, Stilwell to Marshall, 22 Nov 42. (2) CM-IN 3891, Stilwell to Marshall, 9 Dec 42.
110. Memo, Stilwell for Soong, 23 Dec 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
111. (1) Stilwell Diary, 16 Dec 42. (2) CM-IN 5640, Stilwell to Marshall, 13 Dec 42.
112. Stilwell Diary and B&W, 25 Dec 42. The original texts are: "Full day. T. V. called Dorn over last night and gave him a blast. Wants me to give Chennault his way. Wrote out a scheme. Also suggestion for a mission to the U.S. headed by Ho." (Diary) "T. V. thinks we have a chance to do almost anything. He wants me to give in on Chennault in order to get my mitts on the big gravy. He is firmly convinced that Henry and George will do anything I tell them to." (B&W)
113. In his diary entry of 25 December 1942, Stilwell noted: "Wrote out a scheme. Also suggestion for a mission to the U.S. headed by Ho." The "scheme" is a Memorandum, Stilwell for Soong, dated 27 December 1942, in the Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. On the typed memo is the note in Stilwell's hand: "Gist to T. V. verbally."
114. (1) Rad AMMISCA 1924, Somervell to Stilwell, 30 Dec 42. (2) CM-IN 1933, Stilwell to Marshall, 5 Jan 43.
115. Msg, Chiang to President, 28 Dec 42, sent as CM-IN 12657, Stilwell to Marshall, 30 Dec 42. Item 150, Bk 1, JWS Personal File.
116. Memo and Incl, Marshall for President, 30 Dec 42. Roosevelt's reply to the Generalissimo's 28 December 1942 message is WAR 1942, Roosevelt to Stilwell for Chiang, 2 Jan 43. WDCSA (China), A45-466, and Item 156, Bk 1, JWS Personal File.
117. Memo, Marshall for Handy, 5 Jan 43; Memo, Marshall for JCS, 5 Jan 43, sub: Burma Opns. Item 22, OPD Exec 10.
118. (1) Ltr, Dill to Marshall, 2 Jan 43; Memo, Marshall for Handy, 5 Jan 43. Item 22, OPD Exec 10. (2) CM-OUT 2819, Marshall to Stilwell, 8 Jan 43.
119. (1) Stilwell Diary, 5 Jan 43. (2) Stilwell B&W, 6 Jan 43.
120. Rad AG WAR 31, Chiang to President, 8 Jan 43. Item 161, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. Sent as CM-IN 3980, Stilwell to Marshall, 9 Jan 43.
121. (1) Rad, Roosevelt to Chiang, 9 Jan 43. Item 19, OPD Exec 10. (2) JCS Min, Casablanca Conf, p. 65. (3) Rads AMMDEL AD 134, 139, Stilwell to Ferris, 23 Jan 43. Item 183, Bk 1 JWS Personal File
122. Time, March 1, 1943.