America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 24, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull:

Mr. Kennan conversed with Dr. Salazar for two hours yesterday afternoon and presented the President’s personal letter. The letter clearly made a profound impression on the Prime Minister.

The conversation was cordial and friendly throughout. Dr. Salazar said he could not answer authoritatively offhand.

Dr. Salazar had expected us to use naval facilities granted the British as occasion required, without requesting permission.

He was not unsympathetic about facilities in Terceira and was ready to seek a formula to reconcile our use of the airport with the terms of the British agreement. He wondered whether we could not consider aircraft being delivered by ferry command to England as having British status from departure in this country until after passage through Portuguese territory, and said in this case he would not be interested in nationality of crews or ground forces serving such aircraft. Answering a specific question from Kennan he said this would apply to construction and engineering personnel.

As for facilities beyond those granted the British, his primary reaction was that this was tantamount to proposing Portugal’s entry into the war. He dwelt at length on his efforts to preserve Portuguese neutrality, and said the British alliance had afforded the pretext for giving the British their facilities while continuing to claim neutrality. He recognized the need for closer collaboration with Atlantic nations. Should he enter the war he would extend us all facilities, but he questioned the advantage of Portuguese belligerency.

Kennan stressed the importance of obtaining our facilities promptly and asked Dr. Salazar to bear this in mind.

Kennan considers Dr. Salazar’s reaction encouraging and hopes indications of British support, which will be conveyed by the British Minister [Ambassador] today, will further improve our position. He is sure that Dr. Salazar, after reading the President’s letter and observing recent events, is not unreceptive to our use of the Islands but is seeking a formula to reconcile his action with neutrality.


Chiang-Marshall luncheon meeting, afternoon

United States China
General Marshall Generalissimo Chiang
Lieutenant General Stilwell Madame Chiang

The Director of War Mobilization to the President

Washington, November 24, 1943

Reference yours of 23 November.

Based on Bureau of Shipping predictions, program “C” can be increased in

January 0
February 2 to total of 447,
March 5 to total of 477,
April 15 to total of 517,
May 28 to total of 770;
LCIL increased in
January 0
February 3 to total of 508,
March 10 to total of 547,
April 20 to total of 597,
May 38 to total of 665;
LCT-7, no increases in months specified;
LCT-5 and 6, increased in
January 0
February 10 to total of 724,
March 21 to total of 785,
April 35 to total of 860,
May 50 to total of 950;
LCM-3 increased in
January 0
February 300 to total of 6,079,
March 300 to total of 6,829,
April 300 to total of 7,629,
May 300 to total of 8,469;
LCVP, increased in
January 0
February 200 to total of 9,646,
March 200 to total of 10,596,
April 200 to total of 11,546,
May 200 to total of 12,496;
LCC, increased in
January and February 0
March 15 to total of 69,
April 15 to total of 84,
May 15 to total of 99;

LVT, no increases considered feasible before June; any increases in LCPL and LCSS would be at the expense in equivalent reduction of LCVP. Headquarters ships AGC can be increased:

1 April delivery
2 May

Above figures result of conference of all interested agencies based on assumption that landing craft takes precedence over all other munitions including Russian protocol. Dates represent delivery tidewater ports United States. Will affect Army truck, Naval construction and to some extent high octane. Deliveries depend upon promptly directing priorities. Shall I proceed?

The Supervising Agent, U.S. Secret Service to the Agent at Cairo

Tehran, November [24], 1943

Inform President that the United States Legation is adequate and is located one mile from the British Legation and Russian Embassy, which adjoin each other. The route between presents no security problems. The maximum altitude between Cairo and Tehran direct is no more than eight thousand feet. The railroad reaches an altitude of eight thousand feet. To obtain the train equipment, it will be necessary for us to notify the Shah. Plans are being made for both a direct flight from Cairo to Tehran and also for a flight from Cairo to the field at Abadan and then by rail to Tehran. The railroad terminal is located at Khorram Shahr which is seven miles from Abadan and it will be necessary to cross the Karoon River in a small boat. The railroad presents many dangerous security problems. General Hurley informs me of his conversation with the President. We have made no commitments as to a residence for the President. He can stay at the United States, the British or at the Russian Embassy if invited. You must leave Cairo at 6 a.m., Cairo Time, on the 26th. Arriving Abadan at 3 p.m. Then depart Khorram Shahr by rail at 4 p.m. Arrive Andimeshk at 9 p.m. Depart Andimeshk at 8 a.m. on 27th and arrive Tehran at 5 a.m. on the 28th. This schedule must be maintained if you expect to see any scenery. Urgently recommend you fly direct to Tehran, in which event you can depart Cairo at 7:30 a.m., Cairo Time, and arrive Tehran at 3:30 p.m., Tehran Time the same day. Otis Bryan concurs in all this. Urgently request decision as to whether you will fly direct or proceed by rail be sent to me tonight. Otherwise, I will depart Tehran at 7 a.m. on the 25th and will arrive Cairo at 1 p.m. Cairo Time the same day. McCarthy says facilities fine for Chiefs of Staff and requests you notify Captain Royal at Mena House that he will be in at 1 p.m. Cairo Time tomorrow with full details. Have three cars meet special plane at Payne Field tomorrow at one.

From Reilly to Spaman. Show this message to Admiral McIntire, Mr. Hopkins, General Watson, Admiral Brown, and the President.

U.S. draft of communiqué with amendments by President Roosevelt

November 24, 1943

Draft of communiqué

President Roosevelt, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Prime Minister Churchill, and their respective military leaders, have completed a conference somewhere in Africa. The several military missions have agreed upon future military operations directed against Japan from China and Southeast Asia. The plans, the details of which cannot be disclosed, provide for [continuous and increasingly] vigorous offensives against the Japanese. We are determined to bring unrelenting pressure against our brutal enemy by sea, land, and air. This pressure is already underway. Any time, place, and scope of our joint offensives in this area cannot now be disclosed, but Japan will know of their its power.

We are determined that the islands in the Pacific which have been occupied by the Japanese, many of them made powerful bases contrary to Japan’s specific and definite pledge not to militarize them, will be taken from Japan forever, and so the territory they have so treacherously stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria and Formosa, will of course be returned to the Republic of China. We are mindful of the treacherous enslavement of the people of Korea, and are determined that that country, at the earliest possible proper moment after the downfall of Japan, shall become a free and independent country.

We know full well that the defeat of Japan is going to require fierce and determined fighting. Our countries are pledged to fight together until we have received the unconditional surrender of Japan.

The Generalissimo has accompanied by his wife, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, who took part with the Generalissimo in several of the conferences with our military leaders.

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 2:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Air Chief Marshal Portal
Admiral King Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
General Arnold Field Marshall Dill
Lieutenant General Somervell Lieutenant General Ismay
Vice Admiral Willson Admiral Mountbatten
Rear Admiral Cooke General Riddell-Webster
Rear Admiral Bieri Lieutenant General Carton de Wiart
Rear Admiral Badger Major General Laycock
Major General Handy Captain Lambe
Major General Fairchild Brigadier Sugden
Brigadier General Kuter Air Commodore Elliot
Captain Doyle Brigadier Cobb
Colonel Roberts Brigadier Head
Captain Freseman Brigadier McNair
Commander Long Lieutenant Colonel Dobson
Present for the Last Item Only
General Shang
Lieutenant General Lin
Vice Admiral Yang
Lieutenant General Chou
Major General Chu
Major General Tsai
Lieutenant General Stilwell
Major General Stratemeyer
Major General Chennault
Brigadier General Merrill
Brigadier Redman
Captain Royal
Colonel McFarland
Commander Coleridge

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

November 24, 1943, 2:30 p.m.

Thanksgiving Day

Sir Alan Brooke said that since the following day would be Thanksgiving, he had made inquiries into the possibility of holding a service in the cathedral in Cairo and had found that this would be possible at 1800 hours. The British members of the Conference would, if agreeable to their American colleagues, like to join them in attending this service.

Admiral Leahy thanked Sir Alan Brooke for this gesture. It was very much appreciated by the United States Chiefs of Staff, who would gladly attend.

Conclusions of the 128th Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the conclusions of the 128th Meeting. The detailed report of the meeting was also accepted, subject to minor amendments.

Combined Chiefs of Staff – United Chiefs of Staff (CCS 406 and 406/1)

Sir Alan Brooke said the British Chiefs of Staff had considered the U.S. proposals and saw certain difficulties. The United Chiefs of Staff, if organized to exercise executive functions and take decisions, would in effect be superimposed on the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Only three members of the United Chiefs of Staff would be able to sit together at any one time since Russia and China were not fighting the same enemies, and the organization would be unable to take the wide global outlook which was the function of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The Combined Chiefs of Staff now functioned day in and day out and dealt with day-to-day problems of global strategy. He felt it better that Russian and Chinese representatives should be asked to attend all future conferences, such as SEXTANT, to discuss matters in which they were directly concerned.

Admiral King felt it important to have ready some possible plan to meet future demands for stronger representation.

Admiral Leahy said he felt sure the Combined Chiefs of Staff would be put under pressure to alter their present machinery. He agreed that no other body could be superimposed above the Combined Chiefs of Staff, since such a body could never take major decisions.

Sir Charles Portal said that he felt that a distinction should be drawn between the day-to-day work of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington and the major decisions which were taken at the special conferences. He felt that if pressure were applied for permanent representation, the demand would be withdrawn if it were suggested that the Chinese or Russian Representatives concerned would have to be able to speak with the full authority of their governments.

Sir John Dill pointed out the special position of the United States and Great Britain in that they only were fighting a global war and were completely integrated and united on all fronts.

Sir Alan Brooke suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should not go further than to agree that, for the present, the Russians and Chinese should be asked to attend those meetings at future special conferences at which their own problems were being discussed.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note of CCS 406 and CCS 406/1.

b. Agreed:
(1) That the Combined Chiefs of Staff should not take the initiative in putting forward any proposals for machinery to secure closer military cooperation with the USSR and China.

(2) That if the USSR and/or the Chinese should raise the question, the difficulties of and objections to any form of standing United Chiefs of Staff Committee should be frankly explained to them. It should be pointed out:
(a) That the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington are responsible for the day-to-day conduct of the Anglo-American forces which are closely integrated in accordance with the broad policy laid down at the formal conferences such as Casablanca, TRIDENT, QUADRANT, and SEXTANT which are convened from time to time; and

(b) That the USSR and/or Chinese Governments will be invited to join in any formal conferences which may be convened in the future to take part in the discussion of any military problems with which they are specifically concerned.

Agenda for EUREKA

Sir Alan Brooke said that he regarded the EUREKA Conference as primarily a political meeting at which certain points would probably be referred to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for their advice. He felt that it would be wise to consider at this conference the best method of coordinating Russian military effort with our own, particularly with regard to Russian action during and prior to the OVERLORD assault. It was essential that this attack should not take place during a lull in the fighting on the Eastern front.

Admiral Leahy agreed with this view and pointed out that there were several other items which might be raised, including the question of the provision of Russian bases for shuttle bombing. He agreed that it was wise to have in mind certain special points for discussion but that the work of the conference would be inevitably affected by the political discussions.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed:
a. That no formal agenda need be produced at this stage because the military problems to be considered would arise from the political discussions which would be held at the start of the conference.

b. That the three main military topics for consideration would appear to be:
(1) The coordination of Russian operations with Anglo-American operations in Europe.
(2) Turkish action on entry into the war.
(3) Supplies to Russia.

At this point Admiral Mountbatten, General Wheeler, General Wedemeyer, Brigadier Cobb, and Lt. Colonel Dobson entered the meeting, and Admiral Leahy withdrew.

Operations in Southeast Asia Command

General Marshall reported that he had discussed the proposed operations in the Southeast Asia Command with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. The Generalissimo disapproved of the present plan, which he felt would lead to heavy losses and possibly defeat. The Generalissimo had made the following stipulations: Firstly, that there must be an amphibious operation carried out simultaneously with the land attack in Burma. In this connection the Generalissimo had suggested action against the Andaman Islands. Secondly, that the advances by the columns as now envisaged in the plan should all be aimed at a line running east and west through Mandalay, including the occupation of Mandalay by one of the columns. The Generalissimo was satisfied that the Yunnan force should not advance beyond Lashio, its present objective.

He (General Marshall) had pointed out that the plan as explained to the Generalissimo was only the first stage of the operations to recapture Burma and was a conservative one and much less dangerous than that suggested by the Generalissimo. In view of the Generalissimo’s extreme interest in the naval situation in the Bay of Bengal, he suggested he be given, as soon as possible, the buildup of the British naval forces. Admiral Mountbatten should see him and explain his plan, pointing out that it was the first step only of a long campaign and that it was in the nature of a safe and conservative first step.

Admiral Mountbatten explained that the plan was based on the principle that the advance should end at the time that the monsoon would break. This would prevent Japanese repercussions. He stressed the point that it would be impossible to remain stationary in the positions captured at the end of the first stage. It would be essential therefore to have collected sufficient resources by October for the next step forward.

Sir Alan Brooke said that in taking the first step we were committing ourselves to the recapture of all Burma. There could be no question of holding a halfway line and we should probably have finally to undertake an airborne attack on Rangoon and amphibious operations. The alternatives were to continue the Burma land campaign to a finish or to give up the campaign altogether and endeavor to open the Malacca Straits. It was probably now too late to reverse our decision. This decision would, of course, affect the final plan for the defeat of Japan, and this must be realized.

Admiral King said he felt there was one alternative – to attack Bangkok instead. This would sever the Japanese lines of communication into Burma.

In reply to a question, General Marshall confirmed that the Generalissimo did not feel that the Chinese force from Yunnan should advance further than Lashio. The Generalissimo’s fear with regard to the present plan was that it would enable the Japanese to attack and defeat in detail the various columns, particularly the Chinese.

Admiral Mountbatten asked for direction from the Combined Chiefs of Staff as to what he should say to the Generalissimo with regard to future operations after the monsoon. These operations were largely dependent on the amount of air transport he could obtain in order to make his columns fully mobile. It might be possible to launch an amphibious operation in the Prome area and to put in more long-range penetration groups. He again emphasized that at the end of the monsoon it would be essential either to advance, in which case sufficient resources would have to be provided, or to retire. To remain stationary was impossible. He would have liked to advance as far as Mandalay in the present dry season if the resources had been available but the lines of communication to Mandalay did not permit this. Further, he had no reserve divisions. He hoped to gain his present objectives by early April when it might be expected that the monsoon would break. During the monsoon, long range penetration groups would operate. He asked that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should consider as early as possible the provision of resources to enable him to renew his advances at the end of the next monsoon.

General Marshall said that the Chinese fear appeared to be mainly that they might be left to carry out their Yunnan advance unsupported.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Took note of the above statements.

Boundaries of the Southeast Asia Command (CCS 308/7)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff considered a memorandum presented by the United States Chiefs of Staff on the revision of the boundaries of the Southeast Asia Command.

Admiral Mountbatten said that the proposals in the paper dealing with the boundaries themselves were acceptable to him but he did not believe that a committee sitting in Chungking should deal with political matters in Thailand and Siam. He pointed out that the Kra Isthmus was far removed from Chungking with which there was no communication. The Siamese and the French were not suspicious of the United States or Great Britain acting in concert, but rather of the Chinese themselves. His two main considerations were that preoccupational activity by such agencies as the SOE and OSS into Thailand and Siam must be permitted from his theater and that political questions should not be dealt with in Chungking, but either through the ordinary machinery of Government or perhaps even by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed to defer action on CCS 308/7.

At this point General Shang Chen, Lieutenant General Lin Wei, Vice Admiral Yang Hsuan Ch’eng, Lieutenant General Chou Chih Jou, Lieutenant [Major] General Chu Shih Ming, Major General Tsai Wen Chih, Lieutenant General Stilwell, Major General Chennault, Major General Stratemeyer and Brigadier General Merrill entered the meeting.

Discussions with representatives of Chinese Government on operations in Southeast Asia Command

Sir Alan Brooke asked if the Chinese representatives had now had time to consider the plan for operations in the Southeast Asia Command put forward by Admiral Mountbatten.

General Shang confirmed that he had had time to study the plan. He had certain questions and comments. Though there might be differences of opinion, these comments were offered in a spirit of helpfulness and he hoped they would be accepted in the same spirit.

With regard to enemy intelligence, there were certain points of difference but he did not propose to raise these at the meeting but rather to exchange views with the appropriate staff officers. General Shang then put the following questions:
a. How many purely British units would be used in the area?
b. Would there be any further British units other than those now in the area?
c. Were there any armored or special troops?
d. What was the fighting experience of the formations which would be engaged?

Admiral Mountbatten and Brigadier Cobb outlined in considerable detail the nature of the British and Indian formations which would be engaged in the coming operations. Further details which might be required would be available from the staff of the Southeast Asia Command.

General Shang then asked for the plan for the employment of the Imphal column. Admiral Mountbatten explained that this column would fight its way through as far as possible. Strong resistance was, however, expected in the Kalewa area. He had insufficient air transport to supply this column from the air and, therefore, its rate of advance would be limited by the line of communications which could be built up behind them. All of the columns would advance as far as possible and exploit to the full the success they achieved.

General Shang then asked for details with regard to the Indaw column.

Admiral Mountbatten said that Indaw would be captured by the 50th Indian Parachute Brigade and the 26th Indian Infantry Division would then be flown in to hold it. It was essential to hold Indaw since it would serve as an essential base for the operations of long-range penetration groups against the Japanese lines of communication. An airfield was essential for this purpose since insufficient parachutes were available to supply the column by this means. The LRP groups were invaluable, not only for harrying lines of communication but also for killing Japanese.

In reply to a further question, Admiral Mountbatten explained the operations which would take place from Fort Hertz. He pointed out that the details of the coordination of these operations with those of General Stilwell’s Yunnan force had not yet [been] worked out. Plans with regard to amphibious operations could not yet be disclosed. There would, of course, be a land advance in the direction of Akyab which would be exploited to the full. He hoped to put an LRP group in by gliders west of the Salween River, commanded by an officer well known to the Chins who inhabited this area.

General Shang then made certain comments. The Generalissimo had instructed him to emphasize his conviction that the land operations in Burma must be synchronized with naval action and a naval concentration in the Bay of Bengal. The Generalissimo would be most disappointed if he was not fully apprised, before leaving the Conference, of the intention with regard to the strength and time of the arrival of the naval forces in the Bay of Bengal. The Generalissimo also considered that in the present plan the columns did not advance far enough. He considered that the plan also should cover the recapture of all Burma with Rangoon as an objective and the Mandalay-Lashio line as the first stage. Lastly the Generalissimo was insistent that, whatever the needs of the land campaign, the airlift to China must not drop below 10,000 tons a month. Though this might be thought to hinder the land operations, it must be remembered that operations in China and in Burma were closely related and the pressure exerted from China on Japanese forces must be maintained. The Generalissimo was most insistent with regard to the maintenance of the airlift to China.

Sir Andrew Cunningham said that he could state definitely that by the time that the land operation in Burma started, there would be adequate naval forces in the Bay of Bengal. The details of strength and date of this concentration would, he was sure, be communicated by the Prime Minister to the Generalissimo.

Admiral Mountbatten said that the plan for the first stage as outlined by General Shang was very similar to the one he had originally considered but logistic difficulties made it impossible. His staff could explain these difficulties in detail to the Chinese representatives. It was illogical to demand in the same breath that this extensive plan should be carried out and a 10,000-ton airlift to China maintained. He then outlined the relatively small reductions below 10,000 tons which would be necessary over a period to enable his present operations to take place. He pointed out that the 10,000-ton lift had never, in fact, been reached and was no more than a target. In his opinion, the U.S. Air Force had achieved miracles in reaching their present capacity over the “hump.” It was essential that the Chinese should make up their minds whether to insist on a 10,000-ton lift to China or whether they wished his present operations carried out. The Generalissimo had told him that he would regard with sympathy any small reductions below 10,000 tons necessary to enable the operations to be undertaken which, in fact, were designed to open the Burma Road to China. He must know where he stood. China could not have both the 10,000 tons and the land operations to open the road.

He would like an explanation with regard to the questions asked as to the numbers of British and Indian troops engaged. Did the Chinese Representatives wish to infer that the fighting qualities of the Indian troops were bad? This suggestion he most strongly refuted. The Indian divisions had fought magnificently in the North African campaigns. If, on the other hand, the Chinese Representatives wished to imply that British troops were remaining in India without playing an active part in the operations, he wished it to be clearly understood once and for all that this was not the case. There were only two British divisions not engaged; one of those was training for an amphibious role and the other was being broken up to form the long-range penetration groups.

General Shang explained that he had asked the questions referred to merely in order to have full details of the position and that, of course, he wished in no way to criticize the fighting qualities of either the Indian or British troops. With regard to tonnage over the “hump,” 10,000 tons per month was an absolute minimum, essential to maintain and equip the Chinese Army. Had it been possible to obtain it, they would have asked for ten times this amount.

Admiral Mountbatten pointed out that, in order to make the airline safe or to open the Burma Road, it was essential to put everything into the present battle. He considered that the Chinese, at this stage, should only equip troops which would actually take part in the present battle and that tonnage designed to equip or maintain the remainder must be foregone until the battle had been won.

General Marshall pointed out that the present campaign was designed to open the Burma Road, for which the Chinese had asked, and that the opening of the Road was for the purpose of equipping the Chinese Army. The Chinese must either fight the battle for opening the Road or else call for more American planes to increase the airlift over the “hump.” Any further increase in those American planes, at this time, he was opposed to. There must be no misunderstanding about this. The battle was to be fought to open the Burma Road. Unless this road were opened there could be no increase in supplies to China at this time since no further aircraft or equipment could be provided from the United States due to commitments elsewhere to meet serious shortages.

General Shang said that all were agreed that the Burma Road should be opened but in spite of that he felt that 10,000 tons per month was necessary for the China area. These supplies would not be hoarded or sold but would be used against the enemy. All the 10,000 tons was required for the Yunnan force and for the Chinese Air Force.

Admiral Mountbatten said that the requirements for the campaign had been calculated in consultation with General Stilwell and General Chennault. These requirements were met by the reduced tonnages he had suggested. The figure of 10,000 tons was a purely arbitrary one whereas his own were based on exact calculations. The Generalissimo had promised him that he would regard minor reductions sympathetically, and he, Mountbatten, hoped that he would now do so.

General Shang said that he was not in a position to give any decision with regard to a reduction in the tonnage over the “hump” but would report the points which had been made.

General Stilwell said that he had been instructed by the Generalissimo to put forward four points which the Generalissimo considered essential: Firstly, naval and amphibious operations to be synchronized with the land campaign; secondly, that the Indaw and Imphal advances should continue as far as Mandalay; thirdly, that the Yunnan force should advance to Lashio; and lastly, that the needs of the Chinese Air Force should be met.

General Chennault outlined the present and projected strengths of the 14th Air Force and the Chinese Air Force, together with the additional monthly tonnages required to maintain these forces. The present role of the Chinese Air Force was to defend the Szechwan basin, but the Generalissimo considered it must be equipped and trained to undertake an offensive role. The tonnages required by this plan for the two air forces in China amounted to some 10,000 tons per month.

General Arnold asked how it was proposed to use this 10,000 tons which, if all diverted to the air, would leave no lift for the ground forces.

General Chennault said that it was proposed to build up the Chinese and United States Air Forces equally. The figures he had given were the requirements to meet the plan. He was not putting forward any recommendations.

General Marshall suggested that the Chinese Representatives should arrange for Admiral Mountbatten to wait on the Generalissimo to explain his operations and the considerations with regard to the airlift to China.

Sir Alan Brooke said that he had believed that the Generalissimo earnestly desired that the Burma Road should be opened. This could only be done if the airlift to China was reduced.

General Shang undertook to arrange a meeting between Admiral Mountbatten and the Generalissimo.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note with interest of the discussion between the Chinese military representatives and Admiral Mountbatten on the subject of the operations planned in Burma in the Southeast Asia Command.

b. Noted that the Chinese military representatives undertook to arrange a meeting between Admiral Mountbatten and the Generalissimo at which details of the plan, the reasons underlying it, and the considerable effort involved, could be explained to the Generalissimo as well as the implications on the airlift to China.

Roosevelt conversations with various callers, afternoon

The following foreign persons called on the President:

EGYPTIAN: Cabinet Chief Hassanayn and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nahas.

GREEK: King George II, Prince Paul, and Prime Minister Tsouderos.

BRITISH: Ambassador to Egypt Killearn, Generals Wilson and Stone, Admiral Willis, and Air Chief Marshal Douglas.

YUGOSLAV: King Peter II and Prime Minister Purić.

The President also had brief talks on the same afternoon with Turkish Prime Minister Saraçoğlu, British Ambassador to Turkey Knatchbull-Hugessen, and Egyptian heir apparent Mohammad Ali.

The calls were apparently of brief duration and were primarily of a courtesy nature. There was possible discussion of a trusteeship for Indochina with the Turks and the Egyptians in the course of this trip. In the President’s conversation with King Peter, the subjects discussed included the reconciling of Commander Tito and General Mihailović, the advisability of Allied landings on the Dalmatian or the French coast and the development of a joint Allied offensive against Germany on a fixed date.

The Pittsburgh Press (November 24, 1943)

Victory won in mid-Pacific, admiral says

Marines capture Makin; Japs still fighting on Tarawa
By William F. Tyree, United Press staff writer

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii –
Powerful U.S. forces secured victory in the Gilbert Islands today and defied the Japs to stop their rolling offensive on the mid-Pacific sea route toward Tokyo.

Only 80 hours after troops stormed islets in the coral chain on Japan’s outer line of empire defenses, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, Pacific Fleet commander, announced that the Gilberts were in the firm grip of the United States.

He said:

While it isn’t a rosy road to Tokyo, we face the future with complete confidence. We went prepared to meet attacks. There will not be surprises.

Ready to meet fleet

U.S. attack units will consolidate their positions for further operations, he said, adding they were ready to meet the Jap fleet anytime.

Tokyo radio quoted a Jap naval spokesman as acknowledging that the islands were in Japan’s main defense line across the vast Pacific, adding that the chance for a naval “showdown” was welcomed. The spokesman predicted “tremendous” sea battles.

Adm. Nimitz spoke to newspapermen yesterday evening shortly after his daily communiqué reported that 27th Army Division’s troops from New York had captured Makin Atoll, that Marines slowly but surely were cleaning out Tarawa and that the situation on Apamama was “well in hand.”

Raid Marshalls

The communiqué also disclosed that carrier-borne aircraft from the big fleet, which accompanied the invasion forces, were teaming with Army Liberators from the South Pacific in continuous blows against the Marshalls to the north of the Gilberts. The Marshalls may be the next invasion objective.

The offensive so far, Adm. Nimitz said, cost only light casualties on Makin and somewhat heavier casualties on Tarawa. Not a U.S. ship had been lost up to the time of his report. The Japs had tried nothing but intermittent air attacks.

To get airfields

When newspapermen asked him to expand on the long-range aspects of the offensive begun 3,100 miles southeast of Tokyo – to answer the question “where do we go from here?” – Adm. Nimitz replied with a confident smile:

Wherever the Japs are. The object of the Gilberts offensive was to establish contact with the enemy. We expect to have some airfields, probably one on Makin as well as Tarawa. We have got to have places to roost when we start working on these people. We must be prepared to meet the Jap fleet.

Adm. Nimitz and his spokesman gave the first detailed reports on the Gilberts attacks which started with the invasion of Makin, northernmost of the islands, and Tarawa, to the south almost on the equator, on Saturday morning.

Very few enemy prisoners were taken and the Jap defenders suffered “very heavy casualties,” Adm. Nimitz said. There were only 1,000 enemy troops on Makin but some 4,000-5,000 on Tarawa and adjacent islands, which were attacked by Marine veterans of the Solomons.

On Makin, the Americans gained extensive military installations, a radio station, munitions dumps, barracks, a seaplane ramp and several piers into the lagoon. Some enemy planes were destroyed. Snipers were still being cleared out.

At Tarawa, the Marines landed on the western end of the 4,000-yard-long Betio Island, sweeping across to the eastern end where the Japs were cornered and being “rooted out.”

Put up barbed wire

The Japs had erected a barbed-wire entanglement off the narrow sandy beaches of Betio on a coral reef some 500 yards from the shore. It was believed the airstrip in the center of the island – bombed out by days of attack – was in Marine hands. Some bitter fighting was still in progress, but the communiqué said the island’s capture was assured.

The remainder of the Japs in the Gilberts “will be taken care of,” Adm. Nimitz said. The islands include 16 major coral reefs having a total area of only 166 square miles. Makin is within 200 miles of the nearest islands in the Marshall group. The Gilberts are 1,300 miles east of the big enemy naval base at Truk in the Carolines.

Five carriers in action

Adm. Nimitz expected strong counteraction from the Japs when they recover from the initial staggering blow, but new reports showed the U.S. Fleet sent to the mid-Pacific was a strong one. At least five U.S. aircraft carriers were believed participating.

Adm. Nimitz, expressing belief that at some point in the progress across the Pacific the enemy will throw his powerful units into action, said:

So long as the Japanese main fleet is intact, it behooves us to maintain sufficient forces to be sure the engagement comes out in our favor.

While saying he thought the Japs will finally be defeated from China, he added “we will not neglect any roads to Tokyo” and that the mid-Pacific route would be only one cut open when resources are available.

8th Army drives 6 miles, seizes key road junction

Rain still hampers operations; 5th Army silences German batteries near Venafro

Patton probe demanded by Senate group

Military committee votes for full report by Stimson

Washington (UP) –
The Senate Military Affairs Committee today voted to ask Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson for a “full report” on the slapping of a shell-shocked American soldier by Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. in Sicily last August.

One committee member, Senator Edwin C. Johnson (D-CO), said the committee itself would make a full investigation unless the War Department “cleaned up the mess.”

The committee’s request to Mr. Stimson was the first positive Congressional action on the long-hushed incident. Gen. Patton’s recent nomination by President Roosevelt for promotion from the permanent rank of colonel to major general is pending before the Senate group.

Wants all facts

Asked if the action called for a committee investigation at this time, spokesmen said it did not.

They added:

But if Secretary Stimson is to present all the facts in a report to the committee, he undoubtedly will have to make some sort of investigation. The committee merely wants all the facts.

Earlier, Senator Styles Bridges (R-NH), a member of the committee, had proposed that the committee inquire whether generals, too, might not fall victim to “battle fatigue.” He suggested that Gen. Patton might have been so suffering when he struck the soldier.

Demands House probe

In the House, Rep. Charles B. Hoeven (R-IA) demanded that the House Military Affairs Committee investigate the incident. Chairman Andrew J. May (D-KY) of the House group had indicated, however, that his committee would probably not conduct an inquiry.

Mr. Hoeven told the House:

The fathers and mothers of America having boys in the service are already weighed down by concern for the welfare of their sons. Now they will have the added anxiety of wondering whether or not their sons are being abused by hardboiled officers.

Perhaps we have too much “blood and guts” now. I feel that the entire matter should be investigated by our Committee on Military Affairs. Apparently, Gen. Patton is getting off with an apology. If the soldier had struck the general, it would have been a different story.

Gets Legion post letter

Mr. Hoeven told reporters later that a Veterans’ Preference Committee of an American Legion post in his district had sent him a message which read:

Respectfully request that you demand a full investigation of the Gen. Patton incident with AEF. These are American soldiers and not Germans. If our boys are to be mistreated, let’s import Hitler and do it up right.

Inclined to drop case

War Department spokesmen said military authorities were inclined to do nothing more about the incident “unless there should develop a great public clamor,” pointing out that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, had rebuked Gen. Patton “mercilessly” and that Gen. Patton himself had apologized to the soldier and others involved.

Senator Bridges said:

It occurs to me that a general himself, long and frequently exhausted due to the rigors of actual battle as he personally leads his troops into combat, might be a victim of battle fatigue without realizing it. After all, the condition is a human affliction and is not visited according to rank; a general as well as a private can be its victims for our generals “don’t die in bed.”

To ask probe

If this is true, a more serious case is presented. Are our line-fighting generals themselves kept under fire too long, so that, suffering battle fatigue, their ability as leaders of the men – our boys – is impaired? I shall ask the Military Affairs Committee, of which I am a member, to make inquiry into this phase of the Patton incident.

Mr. Johnson said that America was “terribly shocked by the Patton brutality story,” and that as a disciplinary measure, “a slap on the wrist will not suffice.”

Senator Claude Pepper (D-FL) declared Gen. Patton should have been court-martialed. Official reports from North Africa said the general had been called down severely by Gen. Eisenhower, but had received no official reprimand or punishment because of his record.

Identity withheld

The soldier in the case was not officially identified, but it was revealed that Pvt. Charles Herman Kuhl of Mishawaka, Indiana, wrote to his family from Sicily last August saying he had been slapped and kicked by Gen. Patton. The letter, dated Aug. 4, said:

Gen. Patton slapped my face yesterday and kicked me in the pants and cussed me. This probably won’t go through…

It did.

The Army has revealed that the soldier in its official case – possibly Pvt. Kuhl – twice refused to leave the battlefront and was finally hospitalized under orders. A week after the incident with Gen. Patton, he was back at the front.

Relatives uncertain Kuhl was victim

Pvt. Kuhl

Mishawaka, Indiana (UP) –
The father of Pvt. Herman Kuhl, 27, said today that if his son was the soldier abused by Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr., the general’s attack may have been justified by Pvt. Kuhl’s “quick temper.”

Relatives of the soldiers were not so certain today that Pvt. Kuhl was the private who became the cause célèbre of Sicily after he was attacked by Gen. Patton.

The father, Herman F. Kuhl, a casket maker, said when he first read published accounts of the incident, he was certain that his son was the soldier involved, but could now see certain discrepancies between newspaper stories and a letter which he received from his son.

He had received a letter from Pvt. Kuhl on Sicily last August, he said, disclosing that the soldier had been slapped and kicked by Gen. Patton at a hospital on the island.

Reports differ

He said the general descriptions of the incident were the same, but that the published reports said Gen. Patton slapped the soldier in his bed at the hospital, while Pvt. Kuhl’s letter said he was in the superintendent’s office when the incident occurred.

The letter was dated Aug. 4, the father said, and while reports have not been clear about the date of the incident, it is believed to have taken place a few days later.

The soldier’s wife, Loretta Kuhl, said she was angered on receiving the letter but did not mention it because she was afraid her husband, through his “quick temper,” might get in further trouble.

‘Good mixer’

The father added:

Charles was a good mixer, but he was quick to temper, although he got over it quickly, too.

In his letter, Mrs. Kuhl said, the soldier said he was shell-shocked and sent to a hospital after the initial landing on Sicily. Kuhl said hospital attendants apparently did not believe he was seriously injured and ordered him to appear at the superintendent’s office for examination. He was slapped by Gen. Patton while he was at the office, Pvt. Kuhl said.

The letter said:

Gen. Patton slapped my face yesterday and kicked me in the pants and cussed me.

New tax bill is due today

Rejection of administration measure defended

House rejects subsidies plan by 2–1 vote

Foes of measure confident it will suffer same fate in Senate

Give them time!

By Florence Fisher Parry

Chips are down in state’s trial of Bioff gang

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9 die as snows hit Northeast

Upper New York covered; food and fuel short
By the United Press

Yank-British invasion plans in last stages

‘Big Three’ meeting will deal with peace terms, say London observers
By Ned Russell

London, England –
Competent observers said today that Anglo-American plans for an invasion of Western Europe were in the final stages with little prospect that any Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin conference will alter or speed them.

The date for the opening of a second front was fixed long ago and at that time Premier Stalin accepted it was the earliest possible moment at which the Allies can move across the English Channel or North Sea, these sources said.

Meanwhile, troops, arms, food and other supplies are pouring across the Atlantic in a steady stream for the “zero hour,” they said.

Military informants believed that the prospective conference – which Axis broadcasts have said may take place this week – of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Stalin will concentrate on peace terms for the Axis and post-war collaborator.

Allied fliers blast Japs on Rabaul route

Waves of planes attack southern New Britain for third day
By Brydon C. Taves, United Press staff writer

How long will enemy last?
Far East peoples remain Jap foes despite promises

Bullying tactics of conquerors and dire economic straits of territories keep Asiatics pro-Allied
By A. T. Steele

U.S., British air leaders aim at victory by spring

Bomb tonnage this winter will ‘Hamburgize’ one Nazi production center after another
By Walter Cronkite, United Press staff writer

Atolls of Gilbert Islands make sinister battlefields

Complicated land structure is like nothing our forces have tackled, war reporter says
By George Weller

Editorial: The Patton incident

There are two things about the Patton incident which could create even more harm than the incident itself.

Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, a picturesque military leader of obvious ability who had been built up to heroic proportions, struck a shell-shocked soldier twice.

When the story leaked, Allied headquarters in Africa first gave out what is now admitted to have been a “half-truth.” There is a tendency among Army, Navy and other government officials to follow this practice too often and it has frequently gotten them into trouble and undermined public confidence.

A second auxiliary angle is the threat in Congress to launch a Congressional investigation. Congress can do a lot of good by formal, well-directed inquiries. But this is a military matter. Gen. Eisenhower, who is in possession of the full facts, has taken the action he deemed wisest.

Gen. Patton’s conduct was inexcusable, but it is not a matter for civilian interference.