740.0011 Pacific War/1663

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs ( Hamilton ) to the Secretary of State 38

Mr. Secretary: We feel that the best and most feasible means of improving the general military situation in the Pacific area would be to take immediately steps along lines as follows: [Page 745]

To set up at Chungking a joint strategic board of American, British, Dutch and Chinese representatives, with an American as the presiding officer of the Strategic Board. This would follow out Chiang Kai-shek’s suggestion.
To endeavor to persuade the Chinese Government to move forward immediately on a general “hit and run” offensive, the objective of which would be to cause the Japanese to mobilize in China large Japanese forces.
To conclude immediately with the Chinese, the Dutch, the British, and other governments which have declared war on Japan, an agreement of mutual assistance and cooperation in the war against Japan, and an agreement that no one of the governments concerned would make a separate peace with Japan. (For political reasons this latter proposal might have to be qualified in some respects.)
To enter into a similar agreement with various countries, including Russia, relating to the war against Germany and Italy.
To incorporate the American volunteer air corps now in Burma into the United States armed forces, subject to Chinese assent, and to have this air corps operate with the Chinese armed forces.

It is believed that the best chance of causing the Chinese to engage in a general offensive would be for the American Government immediately to take steps which would formally recognize China as a full-fledged associate and which would “give face” to the Chinese. With that end in view, Chungking has been suggested as the seat of the Strategic Board. As additional steps to further that objective, it is suggested that a political-strategic mission be sent from the United States immediately to Chungking, and that this Government ask the British, Dutch, Australian, and Canadian Governments to send similar missions. Other countries might also be represented.

We suggest that such a political-strategic mission be headed by an outstanding personage such as Mr. Willkie39 or Mr. McNutt,40 We suggest that the military member of the mission, who would be chairman of the Strategic Board, might be Major-General Joseph Stil-well41 (who might be made a Lieutenant-General or a full General for this purpose), who has had long experience in China. We suggest as a possible additional member of the Board Admiral Yarnell.42

It is believed that if China would move forward on a general offensive which would contain in China Japanese armed forces now there, there would result a situation much more favorable to influencing the Soviet Union to participating in hostilities against Japan.

M[axwell] M. H[amilton]
  1. Concurred in by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck).
  2. Wendell L. Willkie, Republican nominee for President in 1940.
  3. Paul V. McNutt, Federal Security Administrator.
  4. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell had served as Military Attaché in China.
  5. Adm. Harry E. Yarnell had served as Commander in Chief, U. S. Asiatic Fleet.