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To Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer
June 16, 1945 Radio No. WAR-17951. Washington, D.C.
Personal for Wedemeyer from Marshall.
I submit the following as merely an idea regarding which I wish your completely frank reaction. Naturally I am being pressed very heavily by returning commanders from ETO for participation in the war with Japan. Very few can be accommodated with MacArthur’s forces, at the present time only Hodges as an Army commander with five corps commanders and staffs. The thought occurred to me that possibly we might find a use for one or two of them in China with their staffs in this manner: You to continue as Theater Commander and as Chief of Staff to the Generalissimo; in other words the drafter and promulgator of the orders, but one or more Army commanders to be turned over to the Generalissimo to coordinate his troops in groups, having with them a full or skeleton staff. You could probably select from Simpson of the Ninth Army who has done a wonderful job in fighting in Germany, Patton whom you know about and who might by chance make a great impression on the Chinese, certainly he has prestige though they couldn’t understand his swearing; Devers, who is another type, Truscott, etc.
I had in mind that they would handle the groups or be alongside the Chinese equivalent commanders. They in effect would have nothing to do with the general plans for campaign nor with the general logistical problem.
Let me have your reaction.1
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. “Idea is excellent and would receive favorable reaction by Chinese leaders and people,” Wedemeyer responded. He was already attempting to place cadres of about forty-five U.S. officers with certain Chinese divisions and higher commands. Nevertheless, “Just how I could integrate leaders of the stature of Devers, Patton, Patch, Simpson and Truscott is problematical,” he thought. “Patton’s temperament would make it difficult for him to accept conditions inherent and at present unavoidable in China. . . . My chief concern is that these officers coming from the ETO theater and accustomed to a tempo and scale in modern combat wholly untenable in China would become impatient and discouraged.” (Wedemeyer to Marshall, Radio No. CFB-39527, June 17, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Marshall decided to have Lieutenant General William H. Simpson visit China to “talk over matters with you and be looked over by the Generalissimo.” He also suggested that Lieutenant General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr., might have an army command in China. (Marshall to Wedemeyer, WAR-24820, June 30, 1945, ibid.)
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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 228-229.