Generalissimo's answer to President Roosevelt arrived on 9 December:
I have received your telegram of December Sixth. Upon my return I asked Madame Chiang to inform you of the gratifying effect the communique of the Cairo Conference has had on the Chinese army and people in uplifting their morale to continue active resistance against Japan. This letter is on the way and is being brought to you by the pilot, Captain Shelton.
First, prior to the Cairo Conference there had been disturbing elements voicing their discontent and uncertainty of America and Great Britain's attitude in waging a global war and at the same time leaving China to shift as best she could against our common enemy. At one stroke the Cairo communique decisively swept away this suspicion in that we three had jointly and publicly pledged to launch a joint all-out offensive in the Pacific.
Second, if it should now be known to the Chinese army and people that a radical change of policy and strategy is being contemplated, the repercussions would be so disheartening that I fear of the consequences of China's inability to hold out much longer.
Third, I am aware and appreciate your being influenced by the probable tremendous advantages to be reaped by China as well as by the United Nations as a whole in speedily defeating Germany first. For the victory of one theater of war necessarily affects all other theaters; on the other hand, the collapse of the China theater would have equally grave consequences on the global war. I have therefore come to this conclusion that in order to save this grave situation, I am inclined to accept your recommendation. You will doubtless realize that in so doing my task in rallying the nation to continue resistance is being made infinitely more difficult.
- 1. Because the danger to the China theater lies not only in the inferiority of our military strength, but also, and more especially, in our critical economic condition which may seriously affect the morale of the army and people, and cause at any moment a sudden collapse of the entire front. Judging from the present critical situation, military as well as economic, it would be impossible for us to hold on for six months, and a fortiori to wait till November 1944. In my last conversation with you I stated that China's economic situation was more critical than the military. The only seeming solution is to assure the Chinese people and army of your sincere concern in the China theater of war by assisting China to hold on with a billion gold dollar loan to strengthen her economic front and relieve her dire economic needs. Simultaneously, in order to prove our resolute determination to bring relentless pressure on Japan, the Chinese air force and the American air force stationed in China should be increased, as from next spring, by at least double the number of aircraft already agreed upon, and the total of air transportation should be increased, as from February of next year, to at least 20,000 tons a month to make effective the operation of the additional planes.
2. In this way it might be possible to bring relief to our economic condition for the coming year, and to maintain the morale of the army and the people who would be greatly encouraged by America's timely assistance. What I have suggested is, I believe, the only way of remedying the drawbacks of the strategy concerning the China and Pacific theaters. I am sure you will appreciate my difficult position and give me the necessary assistance. I have instructed General Stilwell to return immediately to Chungking and I shall discuss with him regarding the details of the proposed changed plan and shall let you know of my decision as to which one of your suggestions is the more feasible.
From the declaration of the Teheran Conference Japan will rightly deduce that practically the entire weight of the United Nations' forces will be applied to the European front thus abandoning the China theater to the mercy of Japan's mechanized air and land forces. It would be strategic on Japan's part to (3) liquidate the China Affair during the coming year. It may therefore be expected that the Japanese will before long launch an all-out offensive against China so as to remove the threat to their rear, and thus re-capture the militarists' waning popularity and bolster their fighting morale in the Pacific. This is the problem which I have to face. Knowing that you are a realist, and as your loyal colleague, I feel constrained to acquaint you with the above facts. Awaiting an early reply,