4-395 To Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell, May 26, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 26, 1944

Subject: World War II

To Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell

May 26, 1944 Radio No. WARX-42202 Washington, D.C.

Top Secret

TOPSEC to Stilwell for his eyes only from Marshall.

Your mission with respect to the British as stated in your dtg 240240Z May 24 is correct. Your mission with respect to the Chinese as stated by you is your primary mission and has the President’s approval. Decisions taken at QUADRANT and SEXTANT conferences, especially those contained in CCS 319/5, CCS 417 and CCS 397 set up requirements for your accomplishment which for the time being interfere with your primary mission. Decision has been made for example that operations in China and southeast Asia should be conducted in support of the main operations in the central and southwest Pacific.

Japan should be defeated without undertaking a major campaign against her on the mainland of Asia if her defeat can be accomplished in this manner. Subsequent operations against the Japanese ground army in Asia should then be in the nature of a mopping up operation.

Timely support for Pacific operations requires that priority be given during the next several months to a buildup of our air effort in China.

The heavy requirements for our operations against Germany and for our main effort in the Pacific, preclude our making available to you the American corps you request to assist you in the reopening of ground communications with China. We are forced therefore to give first priority to increasing the Hump lift.

Accordingly the U. S. Chiefs of Staff are about to propose to the British Chiefs of Staff that Mountbatten’s directive be changed to the following:

“To develop, maintain, broaden and protect the air link to China in order to provide maximum and timely flow of POL1 and stores to China in support of Pacific operations; to press advantages against the enemy by exerting maximum effort, ground and air, during the current monsoon season; in pressing such advantages to be prepared to exploit the development of overland communications to China, These operations must be dictated by the forces at present available or firmly allocated to SEAC.”2

Our view is that your paramount mission in the China theater for the immediate future is to conduct such military operations as will most effectively support the main effort directed against the enemy by forces in the Pacific. In order to facilitate timely accomplishment of this mission, for the present you should devote your principal effort to support of the Hump, its security, and the increase in its capacity with the view to development of maximum effectiveness of the 14th Air Force consistent with minimum requirements for support of all other activities in China. In pressing the advantages against the enemy you should be prepared to exploit the development of overland communications to China.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Top Secret Message File CM-OUT-42202, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. POL refers to products such as petroleum fuels, lubricants, insulating oils, liquid coolants, and antifreeze compounds.

2. The Combined Chiefs of Staff sent a directive to Mountbatten on June 3 that included these recommendations. (Marshall to Stilwell, Radio No. WARX-46159, June 3, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-46159)].)

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. 466-467.

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Holding ID: 4-395

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