4-473 To General Joseph W. Stilwell, August 3, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 3, 1944

Subject: World War II

To General Joseph W. Stilwell

August 3, 1944 Radio No. WAR-75342 Washington, D.C.

Top Secret

Personal for Sultan to General Stilwell for his eyes only from General Marshall.1

A decision regarding your new assignment has not yet been taken. As matters now stand, the President in reply to the Generalissimo’s message replying to the President’s initial proposal regarding you, stated he considered it highly important that action be taken immediately on your assignment. As to the Generalissimo’s expressed desire that the President designate some individual to act as the President’s personal representative between you and the Generalissimo, presumably in a superior status to you, the President stated that he would consider the matter. The Generalissimo has not replied, therefore no action is being taken and I assume that the Generalissimo is waiting for a nomination from the President. The President is on tour.2

It would be extremely difficult for you to function if a Presidential representative were present who ostensibly would be senior to you in his advice to the Generalissimo. Nevertheless there is the possibility that in order to meet the Generalissimo’s proposal on this point, which was also stated at length to Mr. Wallace,3 the President may not only delay in taking further action, but probably will end by designating some such individual in some such capacity. In order to precipitate a decision and also to lay the ground for a workable arrangement for you, the thought has occurred to us here that in view of the President’s past use of General Hurley in the Middle East, and of Hurley’s admiration for you and his previous contact with you and the Generalissimo in China, we might propose to the President that he designate General Hurley as his personal representative, without defining his authority and with the understanding here to Hurley that his job was to facilitate your relations with the Generalissimo. Hurley is persistently as well as suavely highly efficient. I am inclined to think that he could pour more oil on the troubled waters out there to your advantage than any other individual that might be selected. He is a hard worker. What would you think of some such arrangement as this? No move will be made here without getting your reaction. But the more I think of Hurley the more I am impressed with the idea that he is what you, at least in the past, have very much needed.4

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. Major General Daniel I. Sultan was deputy commander of the China-Burma-India theater and was at theater headquarters in New Delhi, India.

2. Concerning Stilwell’s status and the possibility of appointing a personal representative, see Memorandum for the President from the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, July 4, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-434 [4: 503-6], and note 2, Marshall to Stilwell, July 7, 1944, #4-439 [4: 509-10].

3. Concerning Vice-President Henry A. Wallace’s trip to China, see note 1, Marshall to Stilwell, July 1, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-431 [4: 501].

4. Stimson had talked with Marshall on August 3 and praised his handling of the question in July of Stilwell’s role in China. “I also told him that I had talked with McCloy about getting an adequate job for Pat Hurley. Apparently this put a thought into his [Marshall’s] mind and late in the afternoon he read me a telegram that he was drafting to Stilwell asking whether the appointment of Pat Hurley as the President’s representative in Chungking would be agreeable to him. On thinking it over, my own impression was that it was a very fortunate suggestion on Marshall’s part. Hurley is loyal, intelligent and extremely energetic and all of those qualities are tremendously needed at the present moment in Chungking. He is the only man that either Marshall or I could think of to revolutionize the situation of backbiting and recrimination and stalemate that has been surrounding poor Stilwell. At the same time Hurley is extremely pleasant and diplomatic in his manner and will offset Stilwell’s acidness. The only danger that I see a possibility of is that he may try to `hustle the East’ a little too hard, for he is a fast traveler and will find it hard to reconcile himself to China’s ways.” (August 3, 1944, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 48:7].)

Stilwell replied with a pun on his well-known nickname of “Vinegar Joe”: “I would welcome the help of your candidate. It takes oil as well as vinegar to make good French Dressing.” (Stilwell to Marshall, Radio No. TST-5 13, August 5, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-IN-3986)].)

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. 544-545.

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