Finding a Way to Advise and Assist
Since the Japanese forces that threatened Kunming in December 1944 had not been part of a Japanese design to take that city, the American arrangements to defend it had not been subjected to the test of battle. Such a test in December would have fallen on Chinese troops which lack of time had prevented Wedemeyer from improving and about whose quality, save for the 14th and 22d Divisions, he had the most serious doubts. But the storm passed by. So there was to be a chance to reorganize and train thirty-six Chinese divisions, and give them some measure of logistical support.
Making Liaison Effective
Among the directives that Wedemeyer issued to his major U.S. commands in mid-December was an interim directive to the officers who were to work with the Chinese ALPHA forces.1 It ordered them to advise the Chinese and also keep theater headquarters promptly informed of the local situation. The problem lay in making this intention operative in the face of Chinese practices and attitudes that had created difficulties in the past.
Believing he had to have some assurance that the Chinese commander would accept advice once it had been offered, and being anxious to avoid what he described as "polite agreement and Chinese niceties followed by vacillation or no agreement," Wedemeyer told the War Department on 1 January 1945 he had arranged a liaison system with the Chinese to which the Generalissimo had agreed.2 Wedemeyer planned ultimately to have a U.S. officer advising every Chinese ALPHA force commander from the regiment right up through army and group army headquarters to General Ho Ying-chin himself. If a Chinese commander were to refuse to accept the suggestions offered by the American working with him, the matter would be referred
TABLE 2--COMPARISON OF JAPANESE AND CHINESE DIVISION FIREPOWER
ALPHA Division table of equipment Old Chinese table of equipment Japanese table of equipmenta Rifles 6,103 2,400 9,000 Light machine gun 334 212 382 Heavy machine gun 72 70 112 60-mm. mortar 162 97 (b) 82-mm. mortar 36 22 (b) 37-mm. AT gun 24 14 22 Infantry cannon none none 30 Grenade discharger (c) (c) 350
a The Japanese freely modified their tables of organization and equipment to meet local situations but it can be assumed that the Japanese three-regiment or triangular infantry division would probably not depart significantly from the above.
b Trench mortars were not organic to the Japanese infantry division unless used to replace the 70-mm. battalion gun, in which case 36 81-mm. mortars would substitute for 18 battalion guns.
c Chinese divisions were known to have some grenade dischargers, either captured or locally made. The number would vary, depending on the preference of the division commander and the past successes of his unit in obtaining this weapon.
Source: Data on the Chinese forces from Staff Study 11, Theater Planning Sec, 24 Mar 45. USFCT Files, DRB AGO. Data on the Japanese forces from TM-E 3U-480, Handbook on Japanese Military Forces. OCMH.
in twenty-four hours to their respective superiors, Chinese and American. Ultimately, if the matter could not be resolved, it would end up before the Generalissimo and Wedemeyer. In effect, as Wedemeyer clearly recognized and intended, he and his staff would exercise operational control in the Generalissimo's name. "Any Chinese commander who continually fails to follow the well considered advice of his U.S. advisor will be replaced or have U.S. assistance withdrawn from his unit."3
Wedemeyer sketched his hopes and beliefs about the thirty-six divisions. He wanted them to be equipped and maintained as were the divisions in the Chinese Army in India, with better pay and better food than they currently had. "I have emphasized that if we could create 36 well-trained, well-fed, and well-led divisions we could recover the vital airfields recently lost in Central [sic] China. At the present time China's resources, money, food, and equipment (all of which are limited) are being further dissipated by an attempt to maintain the semblance of 300 to 400 divisions. I pointed out to the Generalissimo that we require quality not quantity. He appears to be in complete accord."
The concept underlying the structure of the U.S.-sponsored Chinese division was that, with its 10,000 men and battalion of artillery, it would be more than a match for a Japanese regiment. The Chinese army, with 30,000 men, three battalions of 75-mm. pack howitzers, and one battalion of 105-mm.
howitzers, was more nearly comparable to the division as understood in Western armies. Table 2 is illustrative only.
Wedemeyer commented on the quality of Chinese officers as they had appeared to him: "incapable, inept, untrained, petty . . . altogether inefficient." By, as he wrote, "superimposing" his liaison system on the ALPHA divisions Wedemeyer thought he had the only way to obtain effective employment of the Chinese in the war.4
The new organization, foreshadowed and explained by Wedemeyer's 1 January 1945 radio to the War Department, was activated a week later. The two-months old Chinese Training and Combat Command was now split in two, with the cleavage along the line that separates training and operations.
In its stead were set up a Chinese Combat Command (CCC) and a Chinese Training Center. The center, at Kunming, consisted of Headquarters, Chinese Training Center, and, under its command, a General Staff School, Infantry Training Center, Field Artillery Training Center, Automotive School for Drivers and Mechanics, and a Chinese Ordnance Training Center. Its mission was to supervise and conduct schools, and to prepare and distribute training literature, programs, and training aids. The Americans were most anxious to have as many Chinese senior officers as possible receive staff training because they believed that in many cases the senior Chinese were not as well qualified as were the junior officers. Unit training and troop schools were to be conducted in the field by the new Chinese Combat Command.
The proposed Chinese Combat Command was described by General McClure at a commanders' conference 3 January. Briefly, it comprised the U.S. liaison personnel with the 36 divisions, plus headquarters personnel. During the time of preparation for battle, its program included training, equipping, and giving supplemental pay and rations to 36 divisions of 10,000 men each, with service troops--some 500,000 men. Later the number might be expanded to 50 divisions. In addition, there would be 30 so-called commando units of 150 to 200 Chinese officered and trained by Americans.
When combat began, the Americans would ensure effective leadership. "The Chinese chain of combat command will come down from supreme headquarters through General Ho Ying-chin to divisions in the field where the Chinese senior officers will be in command with the Americans exercising a field command only through the Chinese with whom they are associated." McClure pointed out that the only means the Americans had to make their control effective was "the denial of weapons and essential equipment to those groups who do not cooperate with us."
CHINESE SENIOR OFFICERS attend a chemical warfare demonstration at Kunming.
The Americans working directly with the thirty-six divisions would be organized into two major groupings, those assigned to the CCC and the service troops under General Cheves of the SOS. The liaison sections of the Chinese Combat Command were to be attached to each of the major Chinese area commands that would be set up under General Ho. The several senior U.S. officers in turn would command a pyramid of U.S. liaison personnel down to division level. For the time being, since personnel strengths were so low, U.S. liaison officers and men would not have fixed attachments at the regimental level. The Americans were to be picked from different arms and services so that qualified technicians organized as Ordnance, Quartermaster, Surgical, and Signal Sections would be present to help the Chinese.
The SOS, under General Cheves, would control all supply and transport facilities for the thirty-six divisions and CCC. When McClure spoke, this system was in the planning phase, but on 9 February it became a reality as Cheves took charge of the Chinese Services of Supply for the thirty-six divisions. The basic plan contemplated that the American technical service
officers would forward requisitions either through command channels or direct to SOS, as might later be agreed. SOS would be responsible for procurement and delivery. At this time McClure understood that Cheves planned to deliver to the Chinese division dump. There the American G-4 of the division liaison team would become responsible for delivering supplies to the individual Chinese soldier.
Linking these activities would be a series of radio nets joining the radio teams that were integral parts of the liaison sections. At the top of the pyramid would be a high-level net joining General McClure, Commanding General, CCC, at Kunming or in the field, General Ho at Kunming, and Chungking. Kunming in turn would operate in a net that would include liaison sections with all group armies. Group armies would be netted with subordinate army liaison sections, which in turn would be netted with division liaison sections. Within divisions, a mobile radio team was to operate behind the lines.
To anticipate, it may be noted that when the liaison teams, or "U.S. combat sections" as they were officially called, took the field, each, regardless of the level at which it operated, had a Table of Organization strength of about 25 officers and 50 enlisted men. Thus, some 4,000 Americans were to assist the headquarters of 4 Chinese group armies, 12 armies, and 36 divisions (though personnel shortages kept the final total to 3,147). In addition, to each combat section there was to be attached an air-ground liaison section of 2 officers and 4 enlisted men, which would also operate a separate and parallel radio net to control the allotted air support.5
Chinese Combat Command headquarters on being activated further specified the reports it wanted from the field. In years past, the Chinese had been reluctant to let American Army liaison teams go out into the field. Detailed, accurate knowledge of the Chinese Army was correspondingly lacking, while the Americans hesitated to accept Chinese War Ministry statistics and communiques at face value. The U.S. liaison teams were now directed to keep a stream of statistical data, strength reports, personnel data, training reports, and situation reports flowing up the chain of command to Chinese Combat Command and theater headquarters. As the months went by, these reports would create the most complete sort of picture of the ALPHA forces and would give data on which sound policy recommendations could be based.6
On 25 January Wedemeyer told the Generalissimo he was sending General McClure, his own chief of staff and deputy U.S. chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek, to Kunming to take over the Chinese Combat Command, as he was not satisfied with its progress to that date. Wedemeyer thought that some of the men who had been Stilwell's aides showed the strain of their years in Asia and, in this case, McClure succeeded the veteran Dorn. Wedemeyer was now also contemplating a change in the air force organization by bringing in the Tenth Air Force to join the Fourteenth, the Fourteenth to be a strategic air force, the Tenth to have a tactical role, and Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer from India-Burma Theater to command both.7
Shortly after McClure took command, the Chinese forces assigned to ALPHA were divided among six area commands, in a sort of great circle around the vital Kunming area.8 This was a radical departure from the old system of dividing all China among a few vast war areas under semi-independent commanders. On 29 January General Ho presented his proposals for organizing his troops on the new basis. Accepting Wedemeyer's views, Ho suggested the creation of an offensive force of 36 divisions and a defensive force of 9 divisions. (Chart 4) The first would be organized under the November 1944 tables which would give each of the divisions about two-thirds of the fire power of a Class A Japanese division. The defensive force would follow the old Y-Force Table of Organization. In previous conferences the Americans had been quite clear in stating that they could equip only thirty-six divisions; Ho's plan finally accepted this. Ho's plan went to the Generalissimo's headquarters where it was approved, and went into operation in February with only minor changes in troop assignments and deployments.9 With the Generalissimo's approval, the Chinese Combat Command's officers in the field were authorized to proceed with the thirty-six-division plan.
The Chinese Training Center, Col. John Middleton commanding, encountered problems in beginning its work, for Chinese students were slow in appearing. On 6 March McClure told the Chinese officers of Ho's headquarters, with whom CCC's staff now met regularly, that the Chinese Training Center's Command and General Staff and Infantry Schools were ready to go but had no Chinese students. In reply, General Hsiao I-hsu, who had been General Wei Li-huang's chief of staff on the Salween front, stated that the
CHINESE ALPHA FORCES: 36-DIVISION FORCE
Chinese had been so busy reorganizing that they could not yet send students, but hoped to have them there by mid-April.10
Working Out the Thirty-six-Division Plan
The details of Ho's plan had taken some days to work out, for they involved the question of priorities in distributing equipment among the divisions under Ho's command. Who was to get what supplies in what order? When the thirty-six-division scheme began to get under way, McClure stated on 31 January that the United States had in China four complete division sets with enough infantry weapons for ten more divisions to start training. For the future, complete equipment for the thirty-six divisions was to be flown over the Hump by 1 September 1945. Arms shipments had to be meshed with General Chennault's needs; the Fourteenth Air Force had its daily requirements that had to be met.
To take care of the fact that all equipment would not be on hand at once, Wedemeyer had ordered that twenty ALPHA divisions, plus five returning from Burma, would be completely equipped first. That done, the next flow of equipment would be allocated among the remaining eleven ALPHA divisions. Fitting his plans to this, Ho began setting his own priorities. In them he seems to have accepted two principles: first, to equip six divisions on the natural avenues of approach to Kunming and Chungking, like the Kweiyang and Chihchiang areas; second, to equip two divisions of each army first. The remaining division could borrow and train with this equipment, but Ho decided it should not be spread out within the army.
Ho's plan called for first priority in equipping the 13th Army (two divisions); the 94th (one division); the 8th Army (two divisions); the 18th Army (one division). In the next group, the 94th, and 18th Armies would each get another division set, and the 5th, 54th, and 74th Armies would get two division sets. McClure's comments in the staff meetings that shaped these plans made it plain that infantry weapons would receive first priority, in shipment and issue.11
The emphasis McClure placed on infantry weapons implied that he was willing to defer organization of artillery battalions for some time. Indeed, he so stated on 12 February, and added that the artillery problem could be postponed for two months. The artillery component of the ALPHA forces was to comprise 12 battalions of 105-mm. howitzers divided among the 12 armies, 1 battalion of 75-mm. pack howitzers for each division, and 3 battalions
CHINESE ARTILLERYMEN demonstrating how to pack a 75-mm. M1A1 pack howitzer for transport.
of 155-mm. howitzers and 192 4.2-inch mortars for Supreme Headquarters reserve. The modesty of the level of artillery support was more apparent than real, for the 4.2-inch mortars would be a powerful reinforcement.12 The Americans did not know it, but the above would have about equaled what the Japanese had.
The Japanese artillery in China had never been strong. Only the elite divisions had cannon. Essentially, the Japanese had depended upon their hardy infantry to garrison north China and watch the Nationalist forces. In 1944 their reinforcement program had brought 8 more battalions of artillery to China. Their postwar accounts, which list 3 Class A divisions, 5 Class B divisions, 11 independent mixed brigades, plus army artillery, would indicate that China Expeditionary Army had the equivalent of 50 battalions of
field artillery. If, then, the new Chinese ALPHA battalions were added to the Chinese' own stores of several hundred artillery pieces, the weight of metal would, on completion of the ALPHA program, be about equal.13
Substantial progress had already been made in creating Chinese artillery battalions armed with U.S. 75-mm. pack howitzers. Since most roads in the southeast Chinese provinces were little more than narrow paths between the rice paddies, sure-footed mules carrying pack howitzers gave the best combination of fire power and mobility; this weapon was preferred for division artillery. On 28 February General Hsiao reported to the Chinese and American staffs working on the ALPHA divisions that 25 pack artillery battalions were ready for assignment to the 36 divisions. Equipment for 32 battalions had been received, and 4 more sets were on the way. General Hsiao accounted for the difference between 32 and 25 by remarking that the 31st and 4th Armies had lost all their howitzers in the 1944 East China campaign, that the 46th Army had lost all but 4 pieces, and that 1 more battalion had been lost in action.14
The ALPHA divisions would soon have the benefit of logistical support from a revitalized Chinese supply system. The December 1944 directive to Cheves's American SOS had given him those responsibilities. Preliminary negotiations on Cheves's part took some weeks. The final solution was that Cheves was to be given the rank of a lieutenant general in the Chinese Army, and the post of commanding general of the Chinese Services of Supply assigned to Ho's ALPHA forces. As such, he was to supervise all ammunition, food, clothing, bedding, and pay of these troops. Though Wedemeyer consistently refused to exercise formal command over Chinese troops, for he understood President Roosevelt's policy was opposed to it, and though Wedemeyer had refused to let General Chennault accept an appointment from the Generalissimo to command the Chinese Air Force, he was willing to let Cheves head the ALPHA SOS forces, on the ground that, as it was a staff appointment, Cheves would be issuing his orders "by command of General Ho Ying-chin."15
Cheves and the Chinese proceeded to organize a Headquarters, Services of Supply, Southwest District, attached to Supreme Headquarters, Chinese Ground Forces (General Ho), Kunming. Under the Chinese SOS were seven area commands, each of which, in a complete departure from past Chinese practice, was put under command of the Chinese general commanding the combat forces in that area. Previously, the Chinese SOS had been independent. Under these area commands were set up branch SOS commands, one for each Chinese army. The Chinese depot system was to be reorganized to match the new area system. General depots were to be organized under Cheves's command. The Chinese area commanders were to command the intermediate depots, and the army commanders, the branch headquarters serving that particular army.
The truckheads in the army area were to be the end of the SOS responsibility. There the using agencies were to take delivery, under supervision of the Chinese Combat Command. As in the American service, the impetus of supply was to be from rear to front, to end the existing Chinese practices of cash allotments and foraging.16
While the new SOS organization and the basic plan for thirty-six divisions were taking shape, Wedemeyer and his subordinates also applied themselves to solving some of the basic problems of the ALPHA divisions. It was not necessary to wait on formal approval of every detail of the ALPHA plan to begin work on, for example, the ration question, and ALPHA would never work unless the questions were at least partly answered.
Food for the ALPHA Soldiers
By December 1944 Wedemeyer had, according to his chief of staff, General McClure, concluded that food was the most important Chinese military problem, and on 6 December had offered the Generalissimo a comprehensive plan to improve the soldier's dietary.17 That the Chinese soldier needed a better diet had long been apparent to students of Chinese military affairs. The ALPHA plan would not work unless the soldiers had the strength to march and fight.
In September 1944 General Joseph W. Stilwell had arranged for the War Department to send Col. Paul P. Logan, Deputy Director of the Subsistence Division, Office of the Quartermaster General, to China to study the problem of feeding the Chinese soldier.18 Logan's studies formed the basis for one of Wedemeyer's most considerable achievements.
The basic Chinese ration system, when Logan arrived to begin his work and when Wedemeyer made his representations to the Generalissimo, was for the Chinese Army to issue rice and salt to its soldiers, plus a monetary allowance to supplement this ration. Garrison troops were issued CN$ 190 and troops in the field CN$ 240 a month.19 This monetary supplement would buy about one pound of pork. Not only was the supplement inadequate but in the opinion of the Americans "in too many cases the soldier never got the food it might buy, or if he was lucky a small part of it. The money had to pass through too many hands for much to reach the soldier or to be spent for his food."20
In describing the impact of this system on the Chinese Army, American officers working with the Chinese SOS reported:
One of the first things that strikes the eye of an American in China is the physical condition of the troops dragging along the streets and highways. Their clothes are old, patched, and tattered, but far worse is their physical condition. Obviously they are suffering from every sort of disease and are just able to walk. Occasional stretchers carry those too weak to make even an attempt to walk. It is not unusual to see the occupants of the litters dumped by the road either dead or soon to die. . . . The worst groups are the replacements. . . .
A later paragraph pictured a Replacement Depot near Kunming as the American officers and enlisted men of Ration Purchasing Commission No. 3 found it in June 1945:
A start toward feeding the replacements was made at the Replacement Depot at Hilanpo near Kunming. On investigation conditions proved horrible beyond imagination. The Depot had an overhead of 4,400. There were supposed to be 4,400 replacements, actually there were 2,000. One hundred per cent were suffering from malnutrition, T.B., and other diseases, but no medical care was being given. With an overhead of 4,400 the seriously sick replacements had to cook for themselves in kitchens which were immediately adjacent to latrines. About one blanket was provided for each three men. The dead were lying next to the barely living and left there at times for several days. Many replacements were unable even to eat the rice and should have had special therapeutic diet.
This was a problem for the medics but since no one was doing anything about it R.P.C. No. 3 went to work. . . . Singlehanded the Americans made an impressive improvement in the situation. However, how lasting this improvement will be may be judged from the fact that after the Americans left the vitamin pills provided for the patients which were in good condition [sic] were declared "poisonous" and condemned.21
As Colonel Logan neared the completion of his surveys as to the needs of the soldiers and the availability of food for them, Wedemeyer's representations began to bring a response from the Chinese. The vice-commander of
the Chinese SOS ordered that all soldiers receive an added issue of thirty-five ounces of meat and thirty-five ounces of beans per month. Unfortunately, this did not bring results. In the opinion of General Cheves, the orders, though issued in Chungking, had not been passed down to units in the field.22
Then Colonel Logan submitted his report, on 20 January 1945, and Wedemeyer had the benefit of a systematic study of the food problem. Logan did not believe the answer to the soldier's inadequate diet lay in any shortage of food within the area under control of the Central Government for he wrote: "It is estimated that foodstuffs indigenous to 'Free China' can be obtained in sufficient quantity within the area of practical transportation from points of issue to provide an adequate and balanced dietary for Chinese Armed Forces in the southwestern area." As for the state of the Chinese soldier, Logan based his conclusions on the examination of a sample of 1,200 men from five divisions, three corps, and replacement units, which he examined at different points from Kunming to Kweiyang. Fifty-seven percent of these troops showed evidence of one or more nutritional deficiencies. He believed that "All deficiencies however were sufficient to affect significantly the health and efficiency of the troops though capable of relatively rapid correction under proper conditions."23
In conclusion Logan recommended that an adequate ration be provided at once; that multivitamin capsules be provided each man every day for at least sixty days; that all rations be issued in kind rather than by monetary allowances; that a central procurement agency consisting of Chinese and American representatives be set up within the Services of Supply to plan, purchase, transport, store, and distribute the ration to divisions; that a Food Service Program, assisted by American liaison officers, be set up in each division by appointing organization mess officers, battalion and regimental supervisors, plus a division mess inspector (this last to be responsible for proper distribution of the food); and finally that a specially trained nutrition officer of the U.S. Army be assigned to each Chinese army to report on the nutritional status of the troops.
The report prescribed what later became known in China Theater as the Logan Ration. Modified at a joint Sino-American conference, 18 February, it set for the Chinese soldier a ration (in American ounces) of: rice, 27.3 ounces; beans, 2.2 ounces; peanuts, 1.1 ounces; vegetable oil, 1 ounce; salt, .35 ounce; meat, 1.1 ounces; vegetables, 11 ounces; fuel, 29.43 ounces.24
Completion of the Logan Report found the Chinese willing to receive suggestions that their soldiers should be adequately fed. On 1 February, a
few days after Logan submitted his study, the Generalissimo approved a greatly improved Chinese ration, but since only CN$ 600 a month was set as the limit to be spent per ration it was not possible for the Chinese actually to feed their troops the improved ration; it was estimated that in the Kunming area CN$ 2,000 would be the monthly cost of the Logan Ration.25
Wedemeyer on 31 January presented the gist of the Logan Report to the Generalissimo together with a draft of a directive to Cheves which would require him to give needed logistical support to the task of properly feeding the ALPHA troops.26 Since the food problem was regarded by Wedemeyer as one of the most important he faced, he followed up his recommendations to the Generalissimo on 17 February, pointing out that as he (Wedemeyer) was about to visit the United States in mid-February for conferences (to present his plan to take a major port on the China coast) he would be able to obtain U.S. aid, vitamins for example, if the Generalissimo desired. Wedemeyer added that there was plenty of food in China, that the problem was one of distribution. To this the Minister of War, General Chen Cheng, agreed, saying that transport was the main problem. Here the Generalissimo observed that if he had had 5,000 more trucks he could have saved most of the east China airfields.27
Over the weeks ahead the Chinese indicated approval of many of Logan's ideas. The modified Logan Ration was adopted 28 February.28 By 6 March a great deal of progress had been made in planning the new program. Detailed surveys of the food-producing areas had been made by U.S. officers. Vitamin tablets were scheduled for shipment from the United States. The War Department had been asked to send out qualified personnel for food procurement. The scope of the program was clearly understood: 1,650,000 pounds of food, 275,000 pounds of fuel, and 275,000 pounds of forage per day for the ALPHA divisions. By mid-March, the planning was done and the task was now one of carrying out the project.29
Carrying Out the Food Program
The American share of the work involved in supplying adequate food to the ALPHA divisions was begun under the China Aid Section of the American SOS in China. The section had been organized in December 1944. When on 9 February 1945 a Chinese SOS was organized, the China Aid Section was
absorbed into the American component working with the Chinese SOS. Where the initial work of the Americans had been to secure an adequate ration for the two Chinese divisions flown back from Burma to China, they now in late February began the work of obtaining food for all the thirty-six U.S.-sponsored divisions in the ALPHA plan.30 The need for such work was obvious among the units that were to be in position to stop the Japanese if they chose to drive on Kunming. The American staff of the Food Department, Chinese SOS, later reported to General Wedemeyer that in March 1945 they found the Chinese 13th Army unable to make even a short hike "without men falling out wholesale and many dying from utter starvation."
The first step was to send U.S. officers and men fanning out over the Chinese countryside to see what food was procurable locally. The Americans formed the impression that Chinese statistics on food were nonexistent or unreliable. Local magistrates might be underestimating to avoid excessive confiscation or taxation, but even so, "no one really knew." It appeared that vegetable production was geared to the needs of the local countryside, and that as far as statistics might show there was no surplus for the Army. It was therefore necessary to secure an immediate increase in the vegetable supply, and since the need was pressing there could be no time to wait till the next harvest. The Chinese and Americans agreed that the way to obtain more food was to set a fair price, end confiscation, and stop organized foraging by the Chinese Army.
Issue of perishable meat items was a real problem because refrigeration, transport, and storage facilities were not present in the Chinese countryside. The solution finally adopted was to issue livestock, which could be carried or driven to the troops. This might not give each man his prescribed ration of meat every day but it was thought that over a month's time the issues would balance out.
The Chinese Army had supply depots, which the Americans hoped could be brought to play a part in the food plan. Village magistrates, the traditional source of local authority, could be of great help in persuading farmers to sell their produce and their aid was sought.
The foundation of the whole ration scheme was the work of the Americans in the six ration purchasing commissions which were sent into the field, beginning on 11 April 1945. Ultimately, by exercising authority far beyond that prescribed for them, they were able to supplement the diet of 185,000 Chinese soldiers.
The ration purchasing commissions were placed at strategic spots to function as parts of the ALPHA plan. The first commission was placed in the vital Kweiyang area and began operations 11 April 1945. It fed the Chinese
13th Army, the animals of the 71st Army, and units passing through Kweiyang, such as the Chinese 22d Division. The average number of men being fed at any time was 35,000. The work of this commission was singled out by Col. Charles F. Kearney, director of the food program, who reported that, whereas in March the 13th Army could not make even a short march without casualties from hunger, by August 1945 the 13th was "a physically magnificent army, in excellent march order."
At Chanyi, which was on the eastern line of communications between Kunming and Kweiyang, Ration Purchasing Commission No. 2 fed the troops from Burma, the New 1st and New 6th Armies, as they flew in from Burma and began moving to east China.
Ration Purchasing Commission No. 4 at Chihchiang was in an area from which the Fourteenth Air Force began operating after the loss of the Suichuan airfields, and so was a likely target for a Japanese attack. Established 1 May, it began feeding the New 6th Army (28,000 men) from Burma after the men were moved to the Chihchiang area to counter a Japanese threat.
On 1 June Ration Purchasing Commission No. 3 began its work in the Kunming area.
To support the projected drive to the coast (Operation BETA), Ration Purchasing Commission No. 5 was activated 15 June 1945 at Poseh, about 100 miles south of Kweiyang on the road to Nanning and Port Bayard, the latter a small seaport very near the island of Hainan. The commission later moved forward to Nanning. It fed about 30,000 men. Several higher-numbered commissions were planned and one was activated but played little part in the progress of events.
Problems and Accomplishments of the Food Program
In trying to appraise the results of the food program, its director, Colonel Kearney, gave first place to the development of an adequate ration and its adoption by the Chinese Army, and second place to the actual feeding of the 185,000 men affected by the program at its peak operation. His report touched on other points which suggest the Chinese were being offered lessons and procedures whose influence might be felt long after the Americans went home. The Chinese were shown that armies on the march could be given an adequate, balanced diet. From among the Chinese who had worked with the Americans on the program grew the nucleus of an organization that might cope with the problems of procurement, storage, and transport. The pages of Kearney's report suggest that the operation was in many ways a demonstration to the Chinese of what the Americans thought to be effective procedures. Kearney did not consider that a permanent and lasting reform had been accomplished within the Chinese Army. It may
be noted that the Americans were withdrawn on 10 August 1945, with the end of the war, although, in Kearney's opinion, "Chinese personnel were not really considered adequate, competent, and suitably trained."
In reflecting on the problems met in carrying out Wedemeyer's projects for giving adequate food to the troops of the ALPHA plan, Kearney gave considerable space to the Chinese Army food depots, whose inadequacies seem to have given the ration purchasing commissions one of their major problems:
Securing the cooperation of depots was a great difficulty. They have either refused to perform what was set out as their function or performed inadequately. They refused because of inadequate personnel, rigid depot regulations which cannot meet the needs of this type of operation, inadequate instruction in the requirements of their part in the supplemental food program, inadequate transportation, non-cooperation or opposition on the part of troops being fed, the physical inadequacy of their equipment and totally insufficient and incomplete records for a successful operation. R.P.C. personnel were forced in many cases to by-pass depots and go beyond their original responsibility and issue food directly to the troops if they were to be fed. This was caused by the fact that there was no American personnel with the depots, and the time required for orders from higher authority to be received would have required months. If the R.P.C.'s had not extended beyond their normal function the troops would have not been fed.
But though the depots were a problem the picture was not uniformly dark, for as the depots together with the local magistrates and the Chinese armies being fed became familiar with the operations of the commissions relations with all of them slowly improved. As for the several army headquarters, they took some time in adjusting themselves to the new system. They appeared to the ration purchasing commissions to be "determined to get as much as possible, often threatening physical violence and at times practicing it. They attempted in some cases to discredit the system in hopes the system would fail and they again would be issued money to use as they saw fit."
Thanks to this venture in Sino-American co-operation, by the time summer arrived 185,000 Chinese troops had been put in condition for more vigorous offensive action than China had seen since 1939.
The Student Volunteers
The Chinese conscription system, as noted earlier,31 did not send a steady flow of useful replacements into the Chinese Army. And, sharing the traditional Chinese esteem for the scholar, the Central Government had exempted students from Army service. As a result, the Chinese Army had been handicapped in trying to obtain qualified noncommissioned and junior officers.
Late in 1944 the Chinese Government decided to change its policy, and to bring students into its armed forces. This immediately raised the issue of how and where they could best be used. The Americans recommended that
they be distributed among the thirty-six U.S.-sponsored divisions as a means of improving them. The Generalissimo raised the student issue on 29 November, telling Wedemeyer that 60,000 students would be ready for service by 30 January 1945, and the remaining 40,000 by 31 March. Wedemeyer heartily indorsed the project of bringing the students into the Army. The Chinese, however, soon revealed that they intended to organize the 100,000 students into ten elite divisions. Wedemeyer objected, for he thought that the students would be better used as replacements for the ALPHA divisions, that assigning them would raise the morale of the units upon which so much depended.32
In January Wedemeyer again alluded to the student question and related it to the largest issues of Chinese social policy:
The object of war is to guarantee a just peace in which the people of the world can share its privileges. In China itself one object must be to reduce the differences between the "haves" and the "have nots" to guarantee a happier and more contented people. With this background in mind plans must be drawn for the use of 100,000 students. To form them into a "corps d'elite" with favored treatment would defeat the aims for which the war is being waged, but to use them on the same basis as all the other troops would be a big step toward forming a united, strong China.33
Shortly after, Wedemeyer discussed another aspect of the student question, the Chinese practice of sending young men to the United States. In the past Wedemeyer had always maintained, he reminded the Generalissimo, that it was unwise to send young, capable, and English-speaking officers out of China in time of crisis. If such were available in numbers Wedemeyer had requested they be attached to the Sino-American Chinese Combat Command where they could be used very profitably. Wedemeyer had understood that the Generalissimo agreed with him and had undertaken to make such officers available.
It now appeared, Wedemeyer told the Chinese, that 1,024 able-bodied young men had just been sent to India, to go from there to the United States for naval training. In addition, the Chinese had requested that 154 Chinese be sent to the United States to study armored warfare. Because he thought that the next six months of 1945 would be the most critical in the history of China, Wedemeyer believed these young men could make a far greater contribution in China Theater.34
These representations from Wedemeyer brought favorable comment from the Generalissimo. When on 17 February 1945 Wedemeyer remarked that
it would be a mistake to give special privileges to the students, the Generalissimo replied that they would be given the same treatment as the members of the U.S.-sponsored ALPHA divisions. Wedemeyer added that as soon as the student volunteers were trained they should be sent out in groups of three or four thousand to fill the ranks of the various units, and "The Generalissimo said he endorsed this idea."35
For the time being the solution reached was a nominal compromise between the Chinese and American views, one that gave the Chinese their wishes in concrete form in exchange for a promised future compliance with General Wedemeyer's views. A Student Volunteer Army of ten divisions, each of 10,000 students, was organized, under the current tables of organization and equipment of the Chinese Army, subject to the understanding, on the part of the Americans, that these divisions would not be permanent. It was further understood by the Americans that these units would train for two or three months (a period of time regarded by the American service as appropriate for basic training but far less than that needed to produce the infantry-artillery team that is a division), and then the students would be distributed among the ALPHA troops. When the training period came to an end in May 1945 Wedemeyer began to urge the Generalissimo to initiate the next phase.36
No Arms for the Chinese Communists
During November and December 1944, when the Japanese were thought by the Americans to be offering a serious threat to Kunming, Wedemeyer and his staff had spent much time trying to find ways in which the Chinese Communist forces could be effectively used against the Japanese. Two proposals to that end were presented to the Generalissimo, who rejected them. General McClure had been preparing a third, which Wedemeyer approved before he left Chungking in December to inspect his theater. Meanwhile General Hurley had been attempting to effect a reconciliation of the Nationalists and Communists that would be consistent with the American policy of supporting the Generalissimo and his government.37 Hurley's task was one of major historic importance; that he might be the better equipped
THE HONORABLE PATRICK J. HURLEY, new U.S. Ambassador to China, stands at attention outside National Government House in Chungking as he arrives to present his credentials to the President of the National Government of the Republic of China, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
for the effort, President Roosevelt on 30 November 1944 had nominated him for the post of Ambassador to China.38
A detailed examination of Hurley's effort to prevent civil war in China is beyond the scope of this volume, but the chronology of the major episodes in this period may be significant. On 10 November the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Tse-tung, signed a five-point statement drafted by Hurley, which the latter thought a suitable basis for the unification of China. The Nationalists rejected it, and offered a three-point draft which omitted mention of a coalition government. Hurley took both drafts to be statements of the initial bargaining positions of the parties. On 8 December the Communists rejected the government offer, and added that its terms in their phrase precluded any possibility of their representatives returning to Chungking. Hurley's initial reaction, of 12 December, was that the
Nationalists should reopen the negotiations. At least outwardly unperturbed, he continued his work and felt that he was persuading the Nationalists to soften their stand.39
While Hurley, Wedemeyer, and McClure had been engaged in the proposals and negotiations mentioned above, the Office of Strategic Services in China was contemplating far-reaching negotiations with the Chinese Communists. Wedemeyer's later reports suggest he did not know of this OSS project until January, and Hurley's papers do not refer to it.40
In the meantime, whether aware or not of what was about to be undertaken by the OSS, McClure took the occasion of a trip to Yenan by Colonel Barrett, accompanied by Lt. Col. Willis H. Bird of the OSS, to have Barrett present the Communists with McClure's own plan for co-operation between them and Nationalist China. McClure recommended having U.S. airborne units totaling 4,000 to 5,000 well-trained technicians operate in Communist-held territories on missions of demolition and sabotage of Japanese installations. McClure later stated that Barrett and Bird had orders to make it plain to the Chinese Communists that the McClure plan was being offered for their reactions only and was not being formally presented by the U.S. Government; such presentation, prior to the Generalissimo's consent, would have been a flagrant breach of diplomatic etiquette and tantamount to recognition of the Communists. McClure's later report does not give the Communist reaction to his plan.41
Independently, Colonel Bird entered upon his own negotiations with the Communists on behalf of the OSS, and reached a tentative agreement with them, on the same day that Barrett presented the McClure plan and a message from Hurley to the Communists. Not until 24 January did Wedemeyer, the theater commander, learn what Colonel Bird had proposed to the Chinese Communists, and then he was given only a portion of Bird's report to his OSS superiors in Washington:
All agreements made on DIXIE Mission tentative and based on our government's approval of project. Theater Command already agreed on principle of support to fullest extent of Communists and feel it is an OSS type project. If the government approves the following is tentative agreement:
To place our S.O. [Special Operations] men with their units for purposes of destroying Jap communications, air fields, and blockhouses, and to generally raise hell and run.
To fully equip units assisting and protecting our men in sabotage work.
Points of attack to be selected in general by Wedemeyer. Details to be worked out in co-operation with the Communists in that territory.
To provide complete equipment for up to twenty-five thousand guerrillas except food and clothing.
Set up school to instruct in use of American arms, demolitions, communications, etc.
Set up intelligence radio network in co-operation with 18th Route Army.
To supply at least 100,000 Woolworth one shot pistols for Peoples Militia.
To receive complete co-operation of their army of six hundred fifty thousand and People's Militia of two and one half million when strategic use required by Wedemeyer.42
This incomplete version of the Bird message to the OSS in Washington is not without its puzzling aspects which may, however, be explained in the missing portions. For in an afternoon Bird succeeded in reaching tentative agreement on matters of the highest importance to both parties. It may be that the Bird message describes only the last stage in a long and complicated series of negotiations, brought to fruition on or about 15 December, and never reported to General Wedemeyer.
So far as Hurley knew, Barrett was in Yenan to deliver a message from Hurley to the Chinese Communists. On 16 December, Chou En-lai, whose post with the Yenan regime corresponded to that of foreign minister, wrote his answer to that message. It again implied that the negotiations between Nationalists and Communists were at an end.43 Later messages from the Chinese Communists in December had the same theme, and Hurley was at a loss to know why the Communists were so intransigent.
By 15 January 1945 Hurley was satisfied that he had the answer and hastened to put the matter before President Roosevelt and General McClure. Hurley told McClure on 15 January (Chungking time) that the previous weekend he had visited the Generalissimo's residence and had there learned from Navy Group, China--which with the Generalissimo's secret police under General Tai Li formed the Sino-American Cooperative Organization--that the Communists had heard of a plan to use U.S. paratroopers in the Communist areas to lead Communist guerrillas. To the President he added that this plan was predicated on direct negotiations between the Communists and the U.S. Government. In Hurley's opinion, this amounted to recognition of the Communists and gave them their objectives--destruction of the Nationalist regime and lend-lease arms from the United States.44
At this same time, a spate of reports from observers in the field told of clashes between Nationalist and Communist forces, while the American Observer
Group in Yenan was of the opinion that the Communist leadership seemed willing to contemplate immediate civil war.45
The authorities in Washington reacted strongly to Hurley's report. Marshall ordered Wedemeyer to investigate and report at once.46 This he did. In his report to General Marshall, 27 January, he stated that he had informed all officers of his command that "we must support the Chinese National Government" and that no negotiations were to be carried out with Chinese not approved or recognized by the Generalissimo. Wedemeyer believed that Barrett and Bird were aware of these orders. He added that he had not been aware of Bird's accompanying Barrett to Yenan and, by quoting Bird's message to Washington as it has been quoted above, implied that he had not known of Bird's discussions. Wedemeyer closed his report by telling Marshall, "Needless to say I am extremely sorry that my people became involved in such a delicate situation. I do not believe that this instance is the main cause of the breakdown of negotiations but I am fully aware that unauthorized loose discussions by my officers employed in good faith by General Hurley could have strongly contributed to the latter's difficulties in bringing about a solution to the problem."47
Negotiations between Nationalists and Communists resumed on 24 January 1945, so the breach was not permanent, but the incident made its impression on Wedemeyer. He had been aware that General Chennault had been closely associated with General Hsueh Yueh and that the latter was not in the Generalissimo's good graces. Now, officers on his own staff were becoming involved in Chinese politics to such an extent that Ambassador Hurley thought they had created a major obstacle to his diplomatic efforts. Wedemeyer's solution was to issue an order removing both the Army and himself from any possibility of further involvement: "Officers in China Theater will not assist, negotiate, or collaborate in any way with Chinese political parties, activities, or persons not specifically authorized by Commanding General, U.S. Forces, China Theater. This includes discussing hypothetical aid or employment of U.S. resources to assist any effort of an unapproved political party, activity, or persons. This also forbids rendering local assistance. . . ."48
According to General McClure's recollections, this development ended
the period of close operational contact between the embassy and theater headquarters. Thereafter, the relationship between Hurley and Wedemeyer was one of close liaison rather than mutual use of the theater's resources in staff officers. However, Hurley attended nine of the twenty-two meetings between Wedemeyer and Chiang that were held until the end of the war, and so was conversant with the main trends in theater policy and planning.49
Six months later, Wedemeyer explained his stand to Lt. Gen. John E. Hull, the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD. Telling Hull that Hurley and the Generalissimo had just asked him to negotiate with the Communists, that they had been flattering in their comments about what he might do, Wedemeyer added, "After my experience last December with Hurley concerning McClure and Barrett in which he blamed the Army for breakdown in his negotiations, I am very wary." So he told the Generalissimo and Hurley that he did not intend to visit Yenan, for he did not wish to jeopardize their success, which Hurley thought imminent. As for the political activities of other U.S. agencies and personnel in China, he told Hull: "If the American public ever learned that we poured supplies to a questionable organization such as Tai Li operates, without any accounting, it would be most unfortunate indeed. . . . I rather question the Navy's concern about the Chinese attitude. Miles [commanding Navy Group, China] had been Santa Claus out here for a long time and just between you and me Chennault has given supplies to a certain war lord friend without accounting for them. All I am doing, and I am sure you would do the same, is trying to conduct this show in a straightforward manner."50
Conducting a Straightforward Show
Wedemeyer's remark to Hull, that he was trying to conduct his theater's operations in a proper and businesslike manner, was a description of his policy. He was fully aware of the impact of American lend-lease and American expenditures on the Chinese economy and Chinese politics, and resolved that no corruption or waste or unauthorized intervention would result from any action within his sphere. Several antecedents may be distinguished.
The Chinese inflation gathered momentum throughout 1945. The wholesale price index rose in geometric ratio, while the exchange rate between Chinese and U.S. currency held at roughly 500 to 1 from January to April, then bounded to another plateau at 750 to 1 from April to June, before it rocketed to the stratosphere of 3,000 to 1 in a vain attempt to catch the wholesale price index, which was by then in outer space. Meanwhile, the numerical strength of the U.S. forces in China was steadily growing, from
32,956 in January to 58,975 in June, with all the implied demand for construction. As the troops increased, so did U.S. expenditures in China, from about one billion National currency dollars in November 1944 to six billion National currency dollars in April 1945, and twenty billion National currency dollars in May. All the while, U.S. lend-lease to China, which would be a counterbalancing charge on China against these expenditures and also against Chinese contributions in kind, e. g., food and shelter in Chinese hostels, was being distributed.51
Therefore, China Theater headquarters had to keep accurate records against settlement day, plan its purchases carefully so that the U.S. taxpayer would receive his dollar's worth, and conduct its affairs with meticulous care so that Chinese traders would not receive advance notice of heavy purchases and profiteer accordingly. Moreover, China Theater was also interested in developing sources of Chinese production.
Several developments in December and January 1944-45 preceded the decision to create the post of Assistant Chief of Staff, G-5 (Civil Affairs), to assist the theater commander in dealing with these and other problems of relations with civil authority. In fall 1944 the Chinese created their own War Production Board, whose basic charter ("organic law" in Chinese terminology) gave it the most sweeping powers over the procurement and distribution of matériel for the war in China. China was after all a sovereign power, free to renounce her previous engagements; this law seemed to China Theater headquarters to come very close to asserting Chinese control over every aspect of lend-lease. Theater headquarters was also aware that a considerable quantity of supplies from the United States had been procured by Chinese and American agencies under various programs to aid China, many of which had little relation to the thirty-six-division program. Control of lend-lease was Wedemeyer's ace card, and he could not afford to have it trumped by American supplies brought into China without his consent.
On 25 December Wedemeyer protested that as Commanding General, U.S. Forces, China Theater, he was vested with control over lend-lease which it was not in his power to relinquish. Nor could he relinquish control over transport facilities to China, and therefore over the allocation of Hump tonnage. Then he proceeded a step further, by recommending that all supplies entering China be placed under his control, that Chinese agencies be asked to submit their requisitions to him so that as the Generalissimo's chief of staff he could determine to what degree they furthered the war effort. The Chinese did not immediately respond.52
Then, in January, T. V. Soong asked Wedemeyer publicly to refute an
CHINESE MECHANICS REASSEMBLING LEND-LEASE JEEP under the direction of an American liaison man.
article in an American magazine which charged mishandling, misdirection, and misappropriation of foreign supplies entering China. Wedemeyer told the Generalissimo that he would be happy to do it, but added that since he did not have access to the facts he honestly could not do so. Therefore he recommended that incoming supplies of whatever origin should be stored in warehouses under U.S. military control and Chinese representation. The Generalissimo agreed, then again asked that Wedemeyer tell the press that all lend-lease had been properly handled. The press release was to be on Wedemeyer's own authority, Soong quickly explained, and was not to quote the Generalissimo. When the Generalissimo pressed Wedemeyer again to issue such a statement, the latter replied that he would consider it, and several days later told Chiang that War Department policy would not permit his issuing such a refutation. For his part, the Generalissimo agreed to consider a unified control system.53
CHINESE HOSTEL AT AN AMERICAN AIR BASE, where men of the 308th Bomb Group lived and worked.
In mid-January two of the American agencies in China--the War Production Mission, headed by Donald M. Nelson, which was working to improve Chinese war production, and the Foreign Economic Administration--fell in behind the Wedemeyer policy of central control. The FEA's concurrence was important, for it was then engaged in a major project to bring 15,000 trucks to China. By agreeing that the SOS would receive and issue all spare parts and maintenance equipment brought in under its program it gave Wedemeyer a way of directing this vitally needed transportation to support of the war effort.54
To bring these complicated and potentially embarrassing activities under effective control of the theater commander, the post of Assistant Chief of Staff, G-5, was created 30 January 1945, and Col. George H. Olmstead was appointed to fill it. Olmstead was a graduate of the Military Academy who had entered civil life, becoming finally chairman of the board of an insurance
TABLE 3--U.S. TROOP STRENGTHS, CHINA THEATER: 1945
Month Air forces Ground forces Other Total January 23,960 8,779 217 32,956 February 25,190 8,030 300 33,526 March 27,000 8,960 381 37,941 April 31,324 11,148 705 43,177 May 31,278 19,249 1,135 51,662 June 33,221 24,299 1,455 58,975 July 29,209 26,063 1,960 57,232 15 August 34,726 22,151 5,492 60,369
Source: Tabulation of G-1, China Theater, Reports in Folder, "Supply, China Theater, 1945." OCMH.
company; his combination of military background and commercial experience seemed an appropriate one.
Initially, G-5 had 4 branches: (1) Requirements and Assignment Branch (later, Lend-Lease Branch); (2) Procurement Branch; (3) Production, Planning, and Policy Branch; (4) Liaison Branch.
Division of responsibility between G-5 and SOS was clarified by the decision that G-5 would be the planning, policy-making, and supervisory agency, while SOS would be the executive body. As the quantity of lend-lease entering China grew with the steady improvement in deliveries over the Hump, the lend-lease responsibilities of G-5 grew with it. Areas of responsibility between the several staff sections in regard to lend-lease were defined anew: G-3 drafted tables of organization and equipment; G-4, together with G-4, India-Burma Theater, called forward supplies; G-5 obtained War Department approval of lend-lease requisitions, supervised accounting and storekeeping, and also supervised the lend-lease activities of such quasi-autonomous agencies as OSS and Navy Group, China.55
Wedemeyer's concern for the semi-independent intelligence agencies in China Theater has been noted before,56 and since these agencies dealt extensively with Chinese civil authority and were dependent on lend-lease, G-5, rather than G-2, was employed as the staff agency for their control. On 1 March 1945, G-5 assumed control of clandestine warfare activity within China Theater. Theater headquarters told Olmstead to co-ordinate and control clandestine and quasi-military activity to ensure the greatest possible effectiveness in furtherance of the aims of the Chinese National Government and the Chinese-American military effort. The motive behind the reference
to limiting support to the Chinese National Government was to avoid participation in Chinese domestic politics.
In the day-to-day exercise of its duties G-5 evolved certain policies for control of clandestine warfare, which it applied to all agencies, American or Allied, through Wedemeyer's position as chief of staff to the Generalissimo. Anything suggested was appraised in terms of its demand on Hump tonnage, and approved only if it would add to the success of the theater's basic war plans, ALPHA and BETA. G-5 maintained close liaison with the American, Chinese, British, and French agencies. It kept in touch with the Chinese by periodic visits with the Chinese Board of Military Operations, and by discussions between Olmstead and his Chinese opposite number, General Cheng Kai-ming, at meetings of the Combined Staff. The General Officer Commanding, British Troops, China, Maj. Gen. E. C. Hayes, kept in contact with Olmstead. The French worked with the OSS in China, so the link with the French agency, Direction Generale des Etudes et des Réchèrches, was through OSS. U.S. agencies maintained liaison officers at theater headquarters.57
The Problem of French Indochina
Hardly had Wedemeyer begun to grapple with the problem of forming the several Allied agencies in China into a harmonious team before Japanese activity in Indochina created a major problem of Allied co-operation both within and without China Theater. Fearing that the United States might be planning an amphibious assault on Indochina, Imperial General Headquarters on 28 February 1945 ordered its forces there to occupy the centers of administrative and military power, where the French had preserved an uneasy autonomy since 1941, in order to eliminate any chance of Franco-American co-operation.58 Such an order had been anticipated by the Allies, for on 2 February the French military attaché at Chungking had said that the Japanese were insisting that the French disband and disarm, and Wedemeyer had promptly relayed the news to Washington.59
The Japanese demand gave the United States some awkward moments. The French fought back, and asked for help. If the U.S. forces in China responded, it would be a diversion from their meager resources. More to the point, the War Department's response to reports of fighting in Indochina showed that the United States Government was most reluctant to engage in activity that might result in its being associated with or supporting French
colonialism. At the Yalta Conference, 4 February 1945, Roosevelt told the JCS he favored anything that was against the Japanese so long as the United States was not aligned with the French.60
One weapon that could intervene to support the 5,000 or so French and colonial troops who soon began fighting their way northward was the Fourteenth Air Force. Chennault did his best by strafing Japanese columns. Current directives from the War Department appeared to permit operations against the Japanese directly or through support of forces resisting Japan, which would seem to include the French.61 Presumably the French requested help of the British no less than of the Americans, for in late March American pilots over Indochina observed British aircraft making airdrops to the French troops. Shortly after, China Theater reported that the British were delivering infantry weapons in the area.62
However welcome this may have been to the French, who were trying to keep a foothold in one of their principal overseas possessions, it disturbed Wedemeyer, who believed that Indochina was part of the Generalissimo's China Theater, and that British forces could not operate there without prior permission from the Generalissimo. The matter was presented to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Wedemeyer reported that he found British clandestine organizations most active both in French Indochina and in Thailand, that Mountbatten justified their presence there on the ground of a gentleman's agreement with the Generalissimo that permitted him to operate in those countries. From the Joint Chiefs of Staff the matter went still higher, where Churchill argued that Wedemeyer and Mountbatten had an agreement that permitted the latter to conduct pre-occupation clandestine activities in French Indochina.63
The resolution of the difficulty over theater boundaries was agreement between Roosevelt and Churchill that Mountbatten would operate in the Generalissimo's theater only by prearrangement with him.64 Meanwhile, the luckless French were slowly trudging into Yunnan. Their reception was mixed for there were incidents with the Chinese. Having long memories,
some of the Chinese remembered the initial Japanese occupation of Indochina in 1941, and suggested that then would have been the time to fight and to ask Chinese and American assistance. On being evacuated, those French who needed hospital care were flown to Assam where the British assumed responsibility for them. The others, after a rest period, were reorganized with the aim of using them for internal security.65
By late February or early March of 1945, Wedemeyer's China Theater was organized to provide a co-operative Allied effort in China. Wedemeyer's addition to the liaison system, the device of passing disagreement up the chain of command, might well be the vital ingredient whose earlier absence had impeded the conduct of operations along the Salween and in north Burma. Wedemeyer was also trying to weld the several Allied powers operating in China Theater into a team, and his efforts in this regard had just met their first test in Indochina.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (7) * Next Chapter (9)
1. See Ch. V, above.
2. Quotation from radiogram CFB 30283, 1 January 1945. This radio was probably addressed primarily to Lt. Gen. John E. Hull of the Operations Division, War Department, with whom Wedemeyer often corresponded.
3. Opnl Dir 5, Hq USFCT to CG CCC, 15 Feb 45, par. 3B. KCRC.
4. (1) Rad cited n. 2. (2) Brig. Gen. Paul W. Caraway, in reviewing the draft manuscript in October 1956, commented that General Wedemeyer "did not see or have contact with many junior [Chinese] officers." Caraway comments on draft MS. OCMH.
5. (1) Conf Notes, Off CG CT&CC CT, 3 Jan 45. AG 337 Misc Folder, Meetings 1944 to 30 Aug 45, CT Files, Box BA 51513, KCRC. (2) Ltr O, Wedemeyer to all officers CCC, 18 Feb 45, sub: Ltr of Instruction to All U.S. Officers Serving With the CCC. OCMH. (3) Ltr, Wedemeyer to CO Chinese Training Center, 26 Jan 45, sub: Organization and Mission of Chinese Training Center. OCMH. (4) Strength figures on CCC from Ltr, Col Raymond W. McNamee, ACofS G-3, Hq USFCT, to CofS Hq USFCT, 14 Aug 45, sub: Plan for Liaison Personnel with Occupying Forces. OCMH.
6. Memos, Gen McClure, CG CCC, 17 Feb 45, 9 Jul 45, for all Sector Comdrs, sub: Rpts. AG (CCC) 319.1, KCRC.
7. (1) Min, Mtg 33, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 25 Jan 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (2) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Hull, 29 Jan 45. Case 37, OPD 381 (TS), Sec II.
8. See pp. 264-69, below, for detailed description.
9. (1) Min, Combined Staff Mtgs Between Chinese and American Hq, 15 Jan-3 Feb 45 AG (CCC) 337.1, KCRC. (2) Rad CFB 32878, Wedemeyer to McClure, 11 Feb 45, Item 393, ACW Personal File, says formal approval will be sent.
10. Min, Combined Staff Mtg Between Chinese and American Hq, 6 Mar 45. AG (CCC) 337.1, KCRC.
11. Min, Combined Staff Mtgs Between Chinese and American Hq, 31 Jan-26 Feb 45. AG (CCC) 337.1, KCRC.
12. Min, Combined Staff Mtgs Between Chinese and American Hq, Mtg 17 19 Feb 45 AG (CCC) 337.1, KCRC.
13. (1) An estimate of China's artillery resources is given in Stilwell's Mission to China, pp. 234-35. (2) Ltr, Col Murphy, Chief Mil Hist Sec FECOM, to Gen Ward, 18 Nov 52, and Incl, Chart 1. OCMH. (3) The Japanese Order of Battle Bulletins, published for this period by the Military Intelligence Division, War Department, show no awareness of the 15 or so Class C divisions without artillery. (4) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS. The Japanese claim to have had little ammunition.
14. (1) Min, Combined Staff Mtg 21, 28 Feb 45. AG (CCC) 337.1. KCRC. (2) General Dorn reported to McClure on 11 December 1944 that of 72 75-mm. howitzers sent to the Kweilin-Heng-yang area, 62 were lost with most of the ammunition sent. Some of the pieces lost at Kweilin were still in their shipping cases. Memo, Dorn for McClure, 11 Dec 44. AG (CCC) 381, Folder A. KCRC.
15. Min, Combined Staff Mtg, 31 Jan 45, 1 Feb 45. AG (CCC) 337.1. KCRC. (2) Rad CFB 28804, Generalissimo to Chennault, 9 Dec 44. Item 163, Bk 1, ACW Personal File. (3) Min, Mtg 18, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 12 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (4) Rad CFB 28962, Wedemeyer to Chennault, 12 Dec 44. Item 169, Bk 1, ACW Personal File.
16. SOS USFCT History, OCMH.
17. See Ch. II, above.
18. Memo, Logan for Wedemeyer, 20 Jan 45, sub: Rpt on Nutritional Status and Requirements of Chinese Troops . . . . par. 1. OCMH. (Hereafter, Logan Report.) Logan received his orders on 15 September 1944.
19. Chinese National currency used the decimal system and a dollar unit of value.
20. Rpt, Food Dept, Hq SOS, Supreme Hq, Chinese Army, Supplemental Food Section History, 9 Oct 45, par. 3b. OCMH. The report was prepared by U.S. personnel under Col. Charles F. Kearney, who was Chief QM, SOS, and Chief QM Ln Officer with the Chinese Armies. Colonel Kearney, like Cheves, had a major general's rank in the Chinese Army.
21. Quoted from paragraph E2(j) of Rpt cited n. 20.
22. Memo 321, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, undated. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese.
23. Quote from App. A to Logan Report, p. 5.
24. (1) Logan Report, Pt IV. (2) Ltr, Brig Gen Mervin E. Gross, Actg CofS, to Gen Chen Cheng, Minister of War, 28 Feb 45. Rpt cited n. 20.
25. Rpt cited n. 20.
26. Memo 398, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 31 Jan 45. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese.
27. For another explanation by the Generalissimo of the east China campaign, see Stilwell's Command Problems, Chapter XII.
28. Rpt cited n. 20.
29. Memo 463, Gen Gross, Actg CofS, for Generalissimo, 6 Mar 45. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese.
30. The report cited in note 20 is the source for this and the following section of the chapter.
31. See Ch. II, above.
32. (1) History of China Theater, Ch. VII, p. 21. (2) Memo 304, McClure for Generalissimo, 20 Dec 44. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. (3) Min, Mtg 25, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 31 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (4) Memo 555, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 5 May 45. Bk 9, ACW Corresp with Chinese. This latter memorandum reviews the whole question as of 5 May 1945.
33. History of China Theater, Ch VII, p. 21.
34. Memo 418, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 9 Feb 45. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese.
35. Min, Mtg 40, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 17 Feb 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes.
36. (1) History of China Theater, Ch. VII, p. 22. (2) Memo cited n. 32(4). (3) McClure believed in 1954 that the student units remained intact, and were kept in training. McClure comments on draft MS.
37. (1) General Hurley, in his comments on the draft manuscript of this volume, describes the difficulties he encountered. Ltr, Hurley to Maj Gen R. W. Stephens, Chief of Mil History 15 Dec 56. OCMH. (2) See Ch. II, above. (3) McClure comments on draft MS.
38. United States Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington 1949), p. 59.
39. (1) United States Relations With China, pp. 74-76. (2) Rad, CFB 26390, Hurley to Roosevelt, 16 Nov. 44. Item 97, Hurley Bk 1. (3) Ltr, Chou En-lai to Hurley, 8 Dec 44. Item 122, Hurley Bk 1. (4) Rad, Hurley to Roosevelt, 12 Dec 44. Item 126, Hurley Bk 1. (5) Hurley to State Dept, 23 Oct 44. Hurley Papers.
40. The OSS project is described in a letter, Lt Col Willis H. Bird, Deputy Chief, OSS in China, to McClure, 24 January 1945, subject: Yenan Trip. Folder, Eyes Alone Wires re Communists, Communist File, Items 1-5, 3 Nov-10 Dec 44, Register No. 06104-M, USFCT Files, DRB AGO. The detail and scope of the plans are such as to suggest they were drafted before Bird arrived in Yenan on or about 15 December 1944.
41. (1) Memo for Record, Gen McClure; Handwritten Incl to Ltr, McClure to Barrett, 18 Jan 45. Communist File cited n. 40. (2) See Ch. II, above.
42. Ltr cited n. 40.
43. Ltr, Chou to Hurley, 16 Dec 44. Item 126, Hurley Bk 1.
44. (1) Memo cited n. 41. (2) Rad War 21084, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 15 Jan 44. Item 265, Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal File.
45. (1) Rad CAK 3705, Chennault to Wedemeyer, 10 Jan 45. Chennault had liaison officers with the Communists, e.g., Maj. Fred W. Eggers. See Memo Maj E. T. Cowen for G-2, USFCT, 11 Jan 45; Rad 322, Wedemeyer for Dickey to Evans sgd Cromley, 9 Jan 45. Communist File cited n. 40.
46. Rad cited n. 44(2).
47. Rad CFB 32080, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 27 Jan 45. Communist File cited n. 40.
48. (1) Memo for CG 14th USAF et al., 30 Jan 45, sub: Support of U.S. policy. Item 1, Chinese Agreements, Items 1 to 11, Register No. 06105-1, USFCT Files, DRB AGO. (2) United States Relations With China, p. 78. (3) Ltr cited n. 37(1).
49. (1) McClure comments on draft MS. (2) Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes.
50. Ltr, Wedemeyer to Hull, 5 Jul 45. Case 49, OPD 319.1, TS Sec I.
51. (1) Data from History of the Procurement Branch, G-5 Section of the General Staff, Hq USFCT. OCMH. (2) See Table 3.
52. History of China Theater, Ch. III, pp. 1-10.
53. Min, Mtg 29, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 13 Jan 45; Mtg 30, 29 Jan 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes.
54. History of China Theater, Ch. III, pp. 12-13.
55. History of China Theater, Ch. III, pp. 26-28.
56. See Ch. V, above.
57. Maj Martin F. Sullivan, G-5 Sec, USFCT, History of the Clandestine Branch, 15 Nov 45. OCMH.
58. Japanese Study No. 45, pp. 183-84.
59. Rad, CFB 32319, Wedemeyer to OPD, 2 Feb. 45. Item 335, Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal File.
60. (1) Ltr, Hull to Wheeler, 22 Feb 45. TS Reg No. 4945, Hq USF IBT Files, Folder 73, KCRC. (2) Min, Mtg of President with Advisers, 4 Feb 45. Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, Dept State Pub 6199, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945 (Washington, 1955).
61. (1) Rad, CFB 34998, Gross to Chennault, 31 Mar 45. Item 546, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File. (2) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 342.
62. (1) Rad, CFB 34921, Gross to Wedemeyer, 29 Mar 45. Item 540, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File. (2) Rad, CFB 35143, Gross to Timberman, 3 Apr 45. Item 553, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File.
63. (1) Rad, CFB 35759, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 15 Apr 45. Item 588, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File. (2) Rad, WAR 66655, Hull to Wedemeyer, 12 Apr 45. Item 572, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File.
64. Rad, WAR 68666, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 16 Apr 45. Item 595, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File.
65. (1) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 13 Jun 45. (2) Min, Combined Staff Mtgs 52, 67, CCC and Chinese Supreme Hq, 11 Jun, 20 Jul 45. AG (CCC) 337.1, KCRC.