Defense Files

Generalissimo Chiang to President Roosevelt 1

From Chiang Kai-shek

For President Roosevelt.

Generalissmo’s reply follows:

Your suggestion2 that I should exercise the supreme command over all forces of the United Powers which are now or may in the future be operating in the Chinese theater, including initially such portions of Indo China and Thailand as may become accessible to troops of the United Powers, is one which I have considered with a full sense of all the grave responsibilities it entails toward the other countries and peoples concerned as well as toward China. If it were simply a question of my own capacities and military qualifications, I could not accept this supreme command with its attendant duties and responsibilities. However I do not hesitate to accept it at your suggestion in agreement with the British and Dutch Governments. The establishment of a supreme command will unify the strategy and promote the full cooperation of the United Powers in the Chinese theater. The effective coordination of these forces in [is] the common need that must be placed before everything else. Your own initiative and efforts have brought this unity of purpose and made them within [Page 304] reach of achievement and I shall spare myself nothing to second your effort and serve the common good of all the nations which are now linking to their resources at home, their communications and their fighting forces on every front. This growing unity has rallied the entire Chinese people behind it. In line with your suggestions I welcome the prompt disposition of American and British representatives to serve on a joint headquarters planning staff. The question of Russian representation can be considered as soon as this staff has assembled and begun its duties. The proposed exchange of liaison with the commander of the British forces in India and the commander of the Southern Pacific theater can be carried out as soon as the command and headquarters staff of the Chinese theater have been established. In every successive phase of development I would be happy to have your views and suggestions.3

  1. Sent by the United States Naval Attaché at Chungking via Navy channels.
  2. See Roosevelt’s message of December 29, 1941, ante, p. 284.
  3. The source text bears a notation by the President’s secretary indicating that it had been shown to Churchill.