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Memorandum for Admiral Leahy, Admiral King, General Arnold
May 3, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
Below I am quoting a letter from Dr. Soong, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Republic of China, dated May 1st, to the Assistant Secretary of War, Mr. [John J.] McCloy:
“In connection with the strategic conferences now going on in Washington during the visits here of General Stilwell and General Chennault, as the representative of the Chinese Government I am anxious to participate in the formulation of the decisions which will be taken.
“I have been asked by the Generalissimo to make his views known on the matters now under discussion. The Generalissimo feels that China should participate as a full partner both in the strategic decisions in the war against Japan, as well as in their execution. I hope that you will be able to arrange for China to take part in the decisions here.”
There is quite a bit to be said for the Generalissimo as to his point of view regarding decisions affecting China. However, ordinary discussions would be very difficult for evident reasons. I suggest that at the meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tomorrow, Tuesday, we ask Dr. Soong to present the Generalissimo’s point of view, have General Stilwell state his point of view, and that Chennault be given an opportunity to make some comments—this for the general information of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Such procedure should at least enable Dr. Soong to report to his Chief that he had been accorded a hearing by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. Further, I could arrange for him to have some more informal discussions here in the War Department staff.1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. At the May 4 meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Soong, Chennault, and Stilwell presented their points of view. Soong reiterated the generalissimo’s request that the entire air transport tonnage for May, June, and July build up supplies for the American and Chinese air forces in China. Chiang sent assurances that his ground troops could defend the airfields in China; therefore the air offensive should not be delayed. Soong indicated that the attack on Burma should be carried out. Plans called for a land and sea invasion. Soong recalled that the British Indian troops “despite great superiority of forces could not take Akyab. . . . He felt that something must be added to carry these British Indian troops on and for that reason the Generalissimo had asked the President that an American Army Corps be made available for operations in Burma.” Chennault commented on the airfields on the west side of the Hump that were badly in need of repair and estimated it would take four to six months to put them in shape. There were sufficient transport planes in China to transport eight thousand to ten thousand tons per month; however, they could not all operate from the available fields and they lacked servicing facilities. Stilwell described training activities in China. A training school in Ramgarh was training two divisions and a third division would be flown into the area. A training program at Kunming was designed to train thirty-two Chinese divisions; officers were sent to Kunming for a two months’ training course and were to return to their units to start unit schools. He reported Chinese equipment was deplorable and the Chinese were lacking in service troops. Stilwell urged that part of the available tonnage be used to support the ground forces. (Minutes of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting, May 4, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, CCS 334, JCS Minutes].) For related information on this subject, see Marshall Memorandum for the President, May 18, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-660 [3: 695-96].
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 676-678.