America at war! (1941--) -- Part 2

Demands rise for offensive against Japan

Chandler urges Allies call off attack on Nazis to settle Pacific War

Complete texts –
Truce is called in quick order by telegraph

Ickes-Lewis interchange based on continuance of bargaining

New York U students in favor of fourth term

Japanese sunk hospital ship off Australia

299 lost in torpedoing; survivors spend 36 hours in boats
By Don Caswell, United Press staff writer

Australia is a paradise for Yanks, surgeon says

President Harding’s nephew reports climate and medical care keep men in fine health

U.S. shelling converts sea into mass of fireworks

Writer in plane sees thousands of explosives hurled on Jap bases in Solomons
By George Jones, United Press staff writer

Scouts to open vacation drive for scrap iron

1,205,119 boys to begin salvage campaign this summer

WMC planning induction of war workers

Industry assured minimum of interference with production

Editorial: Postponing the inevitable

Editorial: Press ban at Hot Springs

Edson: ‘Hustler’ Devers takes charge of forces in Europe

By Peter Edson

Ferguson: Begin at home

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Millett: Women Johnny left behind should voice his opinions

Soldiers know how they’d like America run but why wait until they come back
By Ruth Millett

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

In Tunisia – (by wireless)
Sgt. Eugene Box, of Babylon, Long Island, is an infantryman. He is one of these lighthearted blonds. He is always grinning, and he has a tooth out in front. He has been through four big battles, had his bookful of close shaves, and killed his share of Germans. Yet he is just the same when it is all over.

Sgt. Box is an expert with the dice and the cards. He has already sent $1,200 home to be banked since arriving in North Africa. That’s in addition to a $25-a-month allotment. Furthermore, he has another $700 ready to send off any day.

When his last battle started, he gave his wallet to a friend back of the lines to keep for him, just in case. He wears a diamond ring, and before every battle he takes it off his third finger, where it fits, and forces it onto his middle finger, where it is terribly tight. That’s so if he gets captured or wounded the Germans can’t steal the ring without cutting off his finger, which he apparently thinks they wouldn’t do.

Wounded man deserts stretcher

Pfc. William Smith, of Decota, West Virginia, is an infantryman who sometimes doubles as a stretcher-bearer. He has had a couple of unusual experiences.

One day they found a badly wounded German soldier, so they put him on a litter and started back to an aid station with him. But he was almost gone, and he died after they had walked only a few minutes. They kept on with him anyhow. Then suddenly the German batteries started dropping 88s right around them, so Pvt. Smith finished the episode by this means, to use his words:

I just dumped that SOB in a crick and took off from there.

Another time he and another soldier were carrying a wounded American back from a battle area. They had got about halfway back when those familiar 88s started falling. But they didn’t dump this guy in any crick. No, sir, the wounded man took off from that stretcher all alone and lit out on a dead run. He beat the two panting litter-bearers back to the aid station.

On one night march, we stopped about midnight and were told to find ourselves places among the rocks on a nearby hillside. This hillside was practically a cliff. You could barely stand on it. And it was covered with big rocks and an especially vicious brand of thistle that grew between the rocks. It was pitch-dark, and we had to find our little places to lie down – several hundred of us – largely by feel.

Ernie sleeps among thistles

I climbed almost to the top of the cliff, and luckily found a sloping place without bumps, just long enough for my body. I tromped down the thistles, thought a few trembling thoughts about snakes and lizards, then lay down and put one shelter-half on the ground, wrapped my one blanket around me, and drew the other shelter-half over me. The thistles had such a strong and repugnant odor that I thought I couldn’t go to sleep, but I was dead to the world in two seconds. In fact, I never slept better in my life.

The next thing I knew the entire universe seemed to be exploding. Guns were going off everywhere, and planes screaming right down on top of us. It was a dawn dive-bombing. I thought to myself:

Oh, my God, they’ve got us this time!

I didn’t even look out from under the shelter-half. I just reached out one arm to where I knew my steel helmet was lying, and put it on my head under the covers. And I remember lying on my side and getting my knees up around my chin so there wouldn’t be so much of me to hit.

Perfect targets for machine-gunning

What happened was this – the planes had bombed some vehicles in the valley below us, and pulled out of their dives right over our hill. They just barely cleared the crest as they went over. They couldn’t have been more than a hundred feet above us. We were all lying there in the open, perfect targets for machine-gunning.

They never did shoot, but it was my worst dive-bombing scare of the war, and I felt mighty glad that the whole Tunisian business was about over.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Many readers have requested information on how to write Ernie Pyle. Since his address overseas changes from time to time, letters should be sent to his permanent headquarters at 1013 13th St., NW, Washington.

U.S. State Department (May 18, 1943)

The Chinese Foreign Minister to the President’s Special Assistant

Washington, May 18, 1943.

Dear Harry: On the basis of my conversation with the President this morning, I am sending a draft of my telegram to the Generalissimo for the President’s approval, as it is important that there be no misunderstanding in so vital a matter.

I shall be grateful if you could lay it before the President as soon as possible, and give me his reply.

Yours sincerely,


The Chinese Foreign Minister to President Roosevelt

Washington, May 18, 1943.


Dear Mr. President: Following our conversation today I wish to submit for your approval the following draft report to the Generalissimo on the decisions you have reached:

I saw the President today, who told me he fully understands and is concerned over the military and economic crisis confronting you and is anxious the air force be immediately strengthened to support you. He has accordingly made the following decisions:

  1. Starting July 1, 1948, the first 4700 tons of supplies per month flown into China over the India-China route shall be for General Chennault’s Air Force; after this priority is fully satisfied, the next 2000 tons per month shall be for other purposes including ground forces; thereafter the next 300 tons per month shall also be for the Air Force.

  2. President has ordered that starting September 1, the original goal of 10,000 tons per month shall be reached and even stepped up.

  3. I asked the President for all the tonnage for the remainder of May and June 1943 on both Air Transport Command and CNAC planes for air force supplies for the 14th Air Force. The President replied that certain small exceptions might be needed for ground forces and asked me to work this problem out with the Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

I saw the Deputy [Chief] of Staff this afternoon and we came to the following conclusions. Ground forces will have 500 tons each month in May and June, and all the rest goes to air force. From July 1 onward Chennault will have absolute priority of 4700 tons monthly, and the balance, whatever it may be, goes to Stilwell until he has received in all 10,000 tons.

  1. General Wheeler has been ordered to take an engineering detachment from the road project and use it to rush to completion the Assamese airports now being constructed and repaired.

  2. The President told me that it is the position of the United States that there is a firm commitment for the ANAKIM project this fall and that he has advised the British that he expects them to carry out their part of this commitment. Definite and detailed plans for this project will, I trust, be communicated to me for presentation to you before the conclusion of the conferences now going on with the President and the Prime Minister, so that you may make your own observations.

Yours sincerely,

McNarney-Soong meeting, afternoon

United States China
Lieutenant General McNarney Foreign Minister Soong

Record of Presidential Press Conference No. 897, 4:10 p.m.

Washington, May 18, 1943.



THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think I have anything of any importance.

I have just had – in the past hour – a very satisfactory conference with the Duke of Windsor. And as you probably know, we are bringing a large number – several thousand – of laborers from the Bahamas, and others from Jamaica, to help out the farm labor this summer and autumn. And I think it’s progressing very well.

The talks of the Prime Minister are going along very satisfactorily. They are not finished yet.

I think that’s about all.

Q. Is the Prime Minister going to be subjected to the tender mercies of a Press Conference, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think so. He doesn’t worry about it any more than I do. (laughter)

Q. Would Friday be a good guess, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know. I have no idea about it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Q. Mr. President, has Prime Minister Mackenzie King (of Canada) joined the conferences yet?

THE PRESIDENT: No. He-- I understand that he just got into town this afternoon, and he is coming to the White House in the morning, to spend the night.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Q. Mr. President, I didn’t understand you a moment ago to say that the Prime Minister met the Duke of Windsor?


Q. He did?

Q. The Prime Minister did not meet him.

THE PRESIDENT: The Prime Minister-- I don’t know, this is society column – (laughter) – the Prime Minister lunched up at the British Embassy. The Duke and Duchess were there, I think. And afterwards, the Prime Minister brought the Duke of Windsor down, and the Duke and I talked for about an hour; and we would be talking longer if I hadn’t noticed that it was four o’clock.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Smith-Brooke conversation, evening

United States United Kingdom
Major General Smith General Brooke

Smith anticipated that a solution to the problems regarding future strategy would be put forward which would limit operations in the European area for the benefit of the Pacific Theater.

U.S. Navy Department (May 19, 1943)

Communiqué No. 383

North Pacific.
On May 18:

  1. During the morning, U.S. forces working inland from Holtz Bay on Attu Island were in possession of the high ridge southeast of Holtz Bay, and U.S. troops from the Massacre Bag area were advancing northward.

  2. During the day, the Massacre Bay force advanced up a pass toward the Holtz Bay force, and advance patrols from the two forces joined.

  3. During the afternoon, the pass was cleared of enemy troops which withdrew toward Chichagof Harbor, leaving only snipers behind.

Several three‑inch anti-aircraft guns have been captured from the enemy and are being used by our troops.

South Pacific.
On May 17, U.S. dive bombers attacked the Japanese seaplane base at Rekata Bay on Santa Isabel Island. Results were not observed.

U.S. State Department (May 19, 1943)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 10:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General McNarney Field Marshal Dill
Lieutenant General Somervell Admiral Noble
Vice Admiral Horne Lieutenant General Macready
Vice Admiral Willson Air Marshal Welsh
Major General Smith Major General Holmes
Major General Streett Captain Lambe
Rear Admiral Cooke Brigadier Porter
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Air Commodore Elliot
Colonel Smart Brigadier Macleod
Commander Freseman
Commander Long
Brigadier Redman
Brigadier General Deane
Commander Coleridge
Lieutenant Colonel Vittrup

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

May 19, 1943, 10:30 a.m.


Conclusions of the Previous Meeting

Admiral Leahy suggested that it might be preferable to eliminate the words “and in the light of the probable operation and employment of the French forces” in the conclusion to item 6 of the 87th Meeting.

The British Chiefs of Staff agreed with this view.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved the conclusions as shown in the Minutes of the 87th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff held on Tuesday, 18 May 1943, subject to the deletion of the words “and in the light of the probable operation and employment of the French forces” at the end of the conclusion to item 6.

Agreed Essentials in the Conduct of the War (CCS 87th Mtg., Item 3)

Admiral Leahy stated that the United States Chiefs of Staff wished to defer consideration of CCS 232/1.

Defeat of the Axis Powers in Europe (CCS 234 and 235)

Admiral Leahy asked for the comments of the British Chiefs of Staff on the United States Planners’ paper, CCS 235.

Sir Alan Brooke said that it appeared from the two papers before the Committee that there were certain basic factors on which the U.S. and British Staffs were in agreement. On others there were differences of opinion which must be eliminated.

With regard to the target date for cross-Channel operations, April 1 had been selected for two reasons. This date coincided with the conclusion of the fourth phase of the bomber offensive, and it was the earliest practicable from the point of view of weather. He would like to suggest, however, that April 1 might be too early a date to select. At that time the Russian Front was likely to be static since it was the period of the thaw. The weather conditions 0in western Europe would not be as favorable on that date as later, say the end of May or early June, which would also coincide with the end of the thaw in Russia. If the first of May or the first of June was accepted as the target date, the buildup in the United Kingdom would also be further advanced.

Though in the United States paper the elimination of Italy was considered and accepted as a possibility, yet no appreciation was given as to the steps necessary to deal with this or to take advantage of it. We might be called upon by some political party other than the Fascists to enter Italy, or we might be confronted with complete collapse and a state of chaos. In either case we should be faced with a decision as to what action was necessary to take advantage of this situation, and the result such action would have on other operations. There were obvious advantages in going into Italy which could be used as a naval and an air base, but how far we should be drawn in was a matter for discussion. There were great advantages in obtaining the northern plains for use as an air base. German air defense was not organized on this sector, and its occupation would force the Germans to detach forces to protect the northern and western frontiers of Italy. We should also examine the possibility of limiting the extent of our occupation of Italy and examine the magnitude of the commitments and the action required to implement our plans.

The next point in the United States proposals was the period of inactivity on land for a period of some six to seven months after HUSKY. In paragraph 5 c it was pointed out that Germany intended to concentrate on the defeat of the Russian Armed Forces in 1943 and that Germany would either fail or succeed in Russia this summer. This year was the most critical time for Russia, and we must take all possible steps to assist her. It would, he felt, be most difficult to justify failure to use available forces for this purpose.

Without crippling ROUNDUP in 1944, we could, he believed, with the forces now available in the Mediterranean achieve important results and provide the greatest measure of assistance to Russia in this critical period and at the same time create a situation favorable for cross-Channel operations in 1944.

It was difficult from paragraph 17 of the paper to visualize the shape of operations to defeat Germany, but it appeared that it was proposed to capture ports to enable a direct buildup from the United States. This concept, he believed, would present considerable difficulties since a study of this problem had shown that the sustenance of the forces used to cover these ports would absorb the larger part of their capacity. After the capture of a bridgehead, Cherbourg might be seized, but the provision of the necessary forces to cover this would be difficult unless the Germans were greatly weakened or unable to find reserves. For this reason active Russian operations were essential. If the Russians suffered defeats in 1943, the possibility of any landing was bad.

In conclusion, he felt that the first of May or the first of June was a better target date for ROUNDUP since this would be the period when the summer fighting in Russia would be starting. By maintaining pressure with limited forces in the Mediterranean, German troops estimated at some 20 to 30 divisions would, by the elimination of Italy, be dispersed and tied down.

He would like to add one minor point. The United States’ buildup envisaged would, he believed, require at an early date additional SOS troops, possibly even at the expense of SICKLE, to prepare the depots to receive them. This was necessary since the manpower situation in England was very serious.

Admiral Leahy said that he understood the British proposal to be for Mediterranean operations and a magnified SLEDGEHAMMER. He was interested to know what effect the British proposals had on the ANAKIM operation since he believed some form of operation to help China to be essential.

Sir Alan Brooke explained that the British proposals for Mediterranean operations contemplated only a deduction of some 3½ to 4 divisions from the forces available for ROUNDUP. Landing craft was a critical item, and the shortage would anyhow necessitate the assault going in on a relatively narrow front. In any event it was not proposed to move any forces from the Mediterranean for use in ANAKIM since all the troops required were already in India, but any operations in Burma would be hampered by a shortage of shipping, naval covering forces, and landing craft. If it was decided only to open the Ledo Road to China, then, of course, naval operations could be dispensed with, but this operation would probably be at the expense of the capacity of the air route. Before discussing Burmese operations in detail, he felt it wise to await the report of the Combined Staff Planners.

General Marshall said that he personally believed that the postponement of the target date for ROUNDUP to the first of May would be acceptable in view of its relation to Russian operations, and the extra time given for the buildup. He agreed also that the action required in the event of the collapse of Italy must be studied and preparations made to meet it.

He agreed with Sir Alan Brooke’s view on the importance of helping Russia in 1943, but he believed that it would take some time to mount any operation subsequent to HUSKY which itself might not be completed until September. We should, therefore, be helping Russia up until the end of the period of the German campaign.

Sir Alan Brooke explained that he considered that operations in the Mediterranean, with a consequent diversion of German forces, were important throughout the entire year.

General Marshall, commenting further on the British plan, believed that the calculated buildup through the ports was pessimistic. Experience had shown that estimated port capacities were likely, in practice, to be doubled.

In general, he believed that the British plan magnified the results to be obtained by Mediterranean operations and minimized the forces which would have to be used and the logistic requirements. It was too sanguine with regard to the results of enemy reaction, and in this connection, it must be remembered that in North Africa a relatively small German force had produced a serious factor of delay to our operations. A German decision to support Italy might make intended operations extremely difficult and time consuming.

General Marshall then turned to detailed comments of the British plan. Paragraph 2 a visualized it as essential for invasion that the initial assault must be on a sufficiently large scale to enable the rate of our buildup to compete with that of the enemy. In this connection a deteriorating German situation was visualized earlier in the paper. As he saw it, the first step was aimed, not at the immediate defeat of the German Army, but at the establishment of a bridgehead which would have results not only psychologically, but on the U-boat campaign, and would provide airfields, giving better bases for operations against the enemy which in turn would result in the destruction of a growing percentage of the enemy’s air fighting capacity. These were immediate and important results, and these, rather than an immediate advance to the Rhine, should be our first objective. He did not believe that the British paper gave sufficient weight to the devastating effect of our air bombardments with the resulting diminution not only of Germany’s power but of her ability rapidly to build up forces in western Europe. The effects of the bombing offensive were becoming more and more apparent daily.

Paragraph 7 of the British paper, while showing the limitations imposed on cross-Channel operations by lack of landing craft, did not sufficiently stress the expenditure of these craft in Mediterranean operations. The limitations of landing craft production in the United States must be remembered. In addition, the need for these craft for Operation ANAKIM was not brought out.

In paragraph 27 it was suggested that Ploești could not be attacked except from bases in Italy. This matter had, of course, been discussed at the previous meeting when it had been agreed that an attack could be carried out from bases already in our hands.

In paragraph 35 he believed that the Italian people’s will to deal with the Allies was overestimated. If Germany decided to support her to the full, serious delay might be imposed on our plans, our resources would be sucked into the Mediterranean, and we should find ourselves completely involved in operations in that theater to the exclusion of all else.

With regard to the proposal in paragraph 38, that, during the period of confusion after the collapse of Italy, we should secure a bridgehead at Durazzo, he believed that such an operation would so commit us that through shipping and landing craft limitations no other important operations would be possible.

The summary of commitments contained in paragraph 42 might be an accurate estimate but it was axiomatic that every commander invariably asked for more troops than were originally estimated as being necessary. We should, he believed, if Mediterranean operations were undertaken, find ourselves overwhelmed with demands for resources over and above our original estimates.

He had read the British estimate on the shipping requirements to sustain Italian economy in the event of her collapse. He believed that these were too optimistic and that some 32 to 40 sailings a month would be required. It must be remembered that there was a large Italian element in the United States who were politically powerful and who would not permit the undue curtailment of supplies to Italy.

He believed that the shipping requirement for the BOLERO buildup was larger than had been estimated. Even if the personnel and cargo shipping required was available, the limitations of escorts would curtail the full BOLERO buildup if operations in the Mediterranean continued. If operations in any magnitude were undertaken in the Mediterranean after HUSKY there would, in all probability, be no landing craft available to be returned to the United Kingdom for cross-Channel operations.

In general, he considered that the British paper throughout was over-pessimistic with regard to the possibilities of cross-Channel operations, particularly in so far as the results of our vast air power and its relation to ground operations. On the other hand, in considering Mediterranean operations, the British paper was very optimistic with regard to the forces required, the Axis reaction and the logistic problem.

Admiral King, with reference to the suggestion that the target date for ROUNDUP should be postponed to the 1st May or 1st June, agreed that the weather would be better at a later date but considered that to achieve the maximum results in relation to the operations on the Eastern Front, it should take place before the thaw finished. The target date was seldom met, but he believed that it would be wise to plan the target date for 1 May which would be reasonable in all the circumstances.

At this point all officers with the exception of the Combined Chiefs of Staff themselves, left the meeting.

After a full discussion the Secretaries were recalled.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Informed the Secretaries of the lines on which draft resolutions were to be drawn up.

b. Instructed the Secretaries to prepare these draft resolutions for their consideration at a meeting to be held later that day.