Editorial Note

No official record of this conversation has been found. The Stimson Diary, May 22, 1943, records the course of the meeting in the following manner:

“Then after the round table conference was over about three o’clock I had a half hour more alone with the Prime Minister and I took up with him the Burma problem. I gave him my views on that, talking very frankly, and he answered me frankly. He told me he was thoroughly dissatisfied with the way his commanders there had acted; he was going to change them all and put in some new punch to it. I said that was the only way in which the thing could be made to work. I brought out the resolutions which he hadn’t seen yet and he asked me to prepare a map showing the place where the new airfields were to be built to strengthen the Burma air route and what work the difficulties required. I told him I would do so.”

[Page 173]

For the text of the letter of May 22, 1943, to Churchill which Stimson prepared as a result of this conversation, see post, p. 301.

Stimson’s preparations for his meeting with Churchill are described in the Stimson Diary for May 22, 1943, as follows:

“I at last got a chance to put in my oar and do my stick of work for the cause covered by these conferences today and I have an idea that I accomplished something. My reading of the minutes has shown pretty well what the situation is. The European situation is covered fairly well, but the Burma situation, as shown by the resolution adopted yesterday, is in very poor shape and that of course is vitally important on account of China. So this morning I spent time on that. I talked with Jack McCloy who had dined with the Prime Minister and had heard him say that he wanted to talk with me. I had in General Stilwell and went over the situation in Burma, getting his ideas as clearly as I could of what was necessary to make the resolutions which had been adopted have a little life in them. The thing had been pretty well gummed up. A step backward has even been taken in giving all of the capacity of the Burma air route to Chennault as against Stilwell. Therefore the only help that we can see in sight is to increase the capacity of the road and that depends upon getting more steam into the British commanders out there. So Stilwell and McCloy and I went over our maps in my room and we called in Colonel Timberman who had just been out there for the Operations Division of the General Staff and I got myself pretty well primed up by the time of the approach for my going to lunch at the Embassy where I was for the first time to get a whack at the Prime Minister.” (Stimson Papers)