3-086 Memorandum for General Eisenhower, January 31, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: January 31, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Eisenhower

January 31, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]


Reference General Stilwell:1

Has Chiang Kai-shek been officially notified of Stilwell’s appointment?

Has Chiang Kai-shek been officially notified regarding Stilwell’s Air commander—Chennault or someone else?

Has the date for Stilwell’s departure been set?

Sir John Dill at dinner last night asked me twice for Stilwell’s name so he could notify his people. Should we not formally notify the British Chiefs of Staff, and General Wavell direct from me?2

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. After Marshall had decided not to send Hugh Drum to China (see Marshall Memorandum for the Secretary of War, January 12, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-047 [3: 57-59]), he proposed that Major General Joseph W. Stilwell be given the post. During the last half of January the War Department and Stilwell worked on the directive that would guide Stilwell’s actions and sought Chiang Kai-shek’s assent to the appointment to head what was designated the United States Task Force in China. (Romanus and Sunderland, Stilwell’s Mission to China, pp. 70-78.) For Stilwell’s comments on the Drum affair and his own appointment to the China post, see The Stilwell Papers, ed. Theodore H. White (New York: William Sloane Associates, 1948), pp. 19-38.

2. Eisenhower replied: (1) notification was being delayed pending Chinese acceptance of the understandings regarding Stilwell’s role; (2) Stilwell wished to take Colonel Clayton L. Bissell to serve as his senior air officer and to make Claire L. Chennault, the retired Army Air Forces captain who headed the American Volunteer Group (“Flying Tigers”) in China, his “outside man”; (3) Stilwell and his staff would leave about February 11; and (4) the British should be notified officially (Eisenhower’s emphasis) on the day the telegram went to Chiang. (Papers of DDE, 1: 87-88.)

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. 91-92.

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