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Memorandum for General Hull
November 16, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I have glanced through these papers regarding Indo-China and Hainan. They present to my mind a very confusing estimate.
Please have your people prepare a paper for Admiral Leahy purely on the basis of the occupation of Hainan with the consequent results, that is, the air coverage it would provide not only over China and Indo-China but finally to cut the throat of Japanese shipping north and south towards Malaysia and the Netherlands East Indies; also the fact that it might possibly be made a British enterprise though the desirable date involved probably would not permit them to make their arrangements accordingly.
It seems to me that this operation would provide a very good follow-up on the Ryukyu affair unless the Japanese in the meantime reinforce Hainan. It is very important, incidentally, that no reconnaissances be made that would excite their suspicions, because at the present time they apparently have no idea that we would attempt such a move.
Have your planners avoid making such statements as: “This could not be done without interfering with the Bonins or the Ryukyus”, but rather present the time that it might possibly be done.1
G. C. M.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. The Joint Staff Planners had been considering J.W.P.C. 272 (Operations for the Defeat of Japan). One contingency was an operation to seize Hainan Island, which separates the Gulf of Tonkin from the South China Sea. A study of this operation was presented to Marshall on November 22, but Major General John E. Hull noted that the Pacific theater was short of cargo shipping and service and support troops. The planners thought that any resources that became available should be utilized in extending U.S. control in the Ryukyus beyond Okinawa. (Hull Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, November 22, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OPD, 381, Case 575].)
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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 670.