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To Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten
January 26,1944 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Mountbatten,
Your informative letter of January 16th has just reached me. I am gratified that your report on the 5307th Regiment should be so favorable. As to its future employment after the already scheduled operations for this dry season in the Ledo sector, whatever decision you make after consultation with Stilwell will be entirely acceptable to us.
Latest reports indicate that your Air Forces have been quite successful. The, news of Allied attacks by long-range aircraft on distant strategic targets such as Bangkok, as well as by references to coordinated ground-support missions, and successful interceptions, is most encouraging.
I am glad Stilwell provided a solution to his exercise of temporary Corps command. You will find, if you get below the surface, that he wants merely to get things done without delays and will ignore considerations of his own personal prestige or position so long as drive and imagination are being given to plans, preparations and operations.
Frankly, I have found him uniformly through long years of personal command relations, irritating and intolerant of slow motion, excessive caution and cut-and-dried procedure. On the other hand he will provide tremendous energy, courage and unlimited ingenuity and imagination to any aggressive proposals or operations. His mind is far more alert than almost any of our generals and his training and understanding are on an unusually high level. Impatience with conservatism and slow motion is his weakness—but a damned good one in this emergency.
We will not give up hope of an advance by the Yunnan forces. The final decision will depend on the course of events. The President has told the Generalissimo that every favorable opportunity must be exploited to the limit with the means available, and has emphasized his views as to the importance of all possible pressure.
I am glad to have your comments regarding Sultan, Wheeler and Wedemeyer.1 They confirm my views.
The best of good fortune to you and your people in the coming months.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Major General Raymond A. Wheeler served as principal administrative officer for the Southeast Asia Command. Major General Albert C. Wedemeyer served as deputy chief of staff to Mountbatten. “Wedemeyer continues to be a tower of strength to me and both he and Wheeler are respected, admired and tremendously liked by all British with whom they come into contact,” wrote Mountbatten. (Mountbatten to Marshall, January 16, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) For Mountbatten’s comments regarding Major General Daniel I. Sultan, see editorial note #4-213, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [4: 249].
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), pp. 249-250.