Department of the Army Files

The Commanding General, United States Forces, China, Burma, India (Stilwell) to the Secretary of War (Stimson)

Memorandum for the Secretary of War:

The Prime Minister listened sympathetically Saturday, while I presented the case.

He asked if I thought the British had been dilatory and lacked energy. I said “yes.” He thought so too.

He asked if the decisions reached were satisfactory, barring the allotment of tonnage by air, which would starve the Yunnan force. I said “no,” because there was no definite objective assigned, because the offensive was not all-out against all of Burma, and because the advance was conditional on being kept “in step.” I said that a really [Page 166] aggressive commander could operate under the plan, but that as written there were too many loop-holes for one who did not mean business.

He said he meant business and wanted to put into action every man he possibly could. In this case, he said the only way to give China any help within two or three months was by air. He realized the necessity of keeping China in the war and the value of the China base.

He asked if I accepted the estimate that the Burma Road could not be built before the middle of 1945. I told him “no,” and that it should be operating by the middle of 1944.

In connection with Chinese policy, I told him that I thought CKS was trying to substitute American air power for Chinese ground troops. Last summer during the operations in Chekiang, I heard from a fairly reliable source that Ho Ying Chin, who would not have done it without the Generalissimo’s acquiescence, had told the Chekiang Commander to take it easy and withdraw as the Japs advanced, adding that the allies could now see to defeating Japan, and that the Chinese could coast. I could never definitely trace these remarks, but that was what the Chinese did, and Ku Chu Tung, the commander, is still there, although I tried to get him relieved and the Generalissimo indicated that he was going to remove him. In my opinion, the Generalissimo wall continue on this line, asking for more and more U.S. aviation, and letting the ground forces, except for certain units under his direct control, deteriorate beyond redemption by neglect, and that if it went any further, our progress in Yunnan would be lost, and that it would be practically impossible to reestablish it later.

He reiterated that he wanted to help in every way possible, and would try and see me again on this subject.

Joseph W. Stilwell

Lieut. General, U.S. Army