Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill to Generalissimo Chiang 1
operational priority

Secret and personal to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek from President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill.

In order to vitalize operations in Burma, a command, separate from India, has been set up under Vice Admiral The Lord Louis Mountbatten to operate directly under the Combined Chiefs of Staff. This, we think, will be an improvement in organization and further the concept of aggressive operations. Thus, we hope to obtain unity in our combined effort in the forthcoming Burma operations. Unity must be achieved if success is to be attained.

At the conclusion of the conference in Quebec, I hasten to bring to you certain proposals that have been advanced as to operations in your theaters and areas contiguous thereto.

  • First, to accelerate the buildup of the air freight route into China to provide greatly increased suppport for your air and ground forces.
  • Second, the heavy burden now imposed on the lines of communications from Calcutta to Assam requires immediate increase in their capacity. Instructions have been issued to provide additional river craft and rail transportation facilities which should result in an eventual lift of two hundred thousand tons a month into Assam.
  • Third, to carry out offensive operations in the coming dry season for the capture of upper Burma with a view to increasing the capacity [Page 1161] of the air route, and to making possible the reopening of an overland route to China. The security of these land and air routes is considered of vital importance to the build up of an air offensive based in China. The operations as now proposed take the form of an attack from Assam into Burma via Imphal and Ledo, coordinated with an advance at the same time from Yunnan. These converging attacks are to be facilitated by the employment of long range penetration groups in front of each column similar to those employed by Brigadier Wingate last spring. These columns are to be organized by Wingate. They will include British, American, and Indian contingents, all to be supported and supplied by air.
  • Fourth, preparations are underway for amphibious operations designed to contribute to the success of the North Burma campaign. At the same time steps are being taken to provide adequate naval forces to assure our naval supremacy in the Indian Ocean Area and to interdict the enemy’s sea communications into Rangoon. The precise objective for the amphibian attacks is still under investigation. The decision will not be made until Lord Mountbatten has had an opportunity to consider the various factors on the ground.
  1. Sent to the White House Map Room at Washington as telegram No. Black 11 and forwarded on August 25, 1943, to the United States Naval Attaché, Chungking, via Navy channels. It was preceded by the following telegraphic instruction from Leahy to the Naval Attaché:

    “My immediately following message is most secret and should be seen only by Alusna , a decoder appointed by him and the Ambassador who is then to deliver it to the British Ambassador upon receipt. If possible it should be delivered by the two Ambassadors at the same time to the Generalissimo. Message should be carefully but closely paraphrased before delivery. Acknowledge receipt and delivery.” (Roosevelt Papers)