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To Lieutenant General Daniel I. Sultan1
(Information Generals Wheeler and Wedemeyer)
January 25, 1945 Radio Washington, D.C.
Personal for Sultan from Marshall.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff are dispatching their congratulations to Admiral Mountbatten and the entire South East Asia command on the reopening of the Burma Road. I send you my personal congratulations on the American part of the enterprise, particularly the engineers and other service troops who labored so prodigiously against extraordinarily difficult conditions to provide the connecting links and to insure the forwarding of the necessary supplies and material to maintain the troops and make possible the construction work. Great credit is due to General Stilwell for his vision in conceiving the project of the Ledo Road and fighting grit in carrying it forward towards completion. The Combined Allied Forces have made possible what I think will be considered a great milestone in the history of the Far East.2
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. General Marshall’s handwritten draft of this message was sent to Deputy Chief of Staff Thomas T. Handy with the following handwritten note: “Gen. Handy: Here is a proposed message from Hull and my proposal in longhand. I feared Hull’s would create a press or at least an adverse Mountbatten reaction. Use your judgement. G. C. M.” Handy sent Marshall’s proposed message. Major General John E. Hull’s proposed message began: “A great landmark in history has been reached in the opening of the road to China. This is due to General Stilwell’s vision in conceiving it and fighting grit in pushing it, to your splendid leadership and execution in bringing it to successful completion, and to all those officers and men of the U.S. Army who have shared these years of planning, bitter fighting, and hard work. To our Allies is due the highest praise for their important and essential part in this achievement.” (The undated draft messages of Marshall and Hull are located in GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. In mid-January 1945 the Ledo Road was linked with the Myitkyina-Bhamo road, completing the overland supply route to China. Meanwhile the Allies cleared the Japanese from northern Burma, and on January 20 a supply convoy reached Kunming via Teng-chung. On February 4 the official inaugural convoy that departed Ledo on January 12 made a ceremonial entry into Kunming, with Chinese drivers leading the parade. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek suggested that the road be renamed the Stilwell Road. (Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland, Time Runs Out in CBI, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1959], pp. 136-41.)
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. 40-41.