Finding a Way To Advise and Assist
Since the Japanese forces that threatened Kunming in December 1944 had not been part of a Japanese design to take that city, the American arrangements to defend it had not been subjected to the test of battle. Such a test in December would have fallen on Chinese troops which lack of time had prevented Wedemeyer from improving and about whose quality, save for the 14th and 22d Divisions, he had the most serious doubts. But the storm passed by. So there was to be a chance to reorganize and train thirty-six Chinese divisions, and give them some measure of logistical support.
Among the directives that Wedemeyer issued to his major U.S. commands in mid-December was an interim directive to the officers who were to work with the Chinese ALPHA forces.1 It ordered them to advise the Chinese and also keep theater headquarters promptly informed of the local situation. The problem lay in making this intention operative in the face of Chinese practices and attitudes that had created difficulties in the past.
Believing he had to have some assurance that the Chinese commander would accept advice once it had been offered, and being anxious to avoid what he described as "polite agreement and Chinese niceties followed by vacillation or no agreement," Wedemeyer told the War Department on 1 January 1945 he had arranged a liaison system with the Chinese to which the Generalissimo had agreed.2 Wedemeyer planned ultimately to have a U.S. officer advising every Chinese ALPHA force commander from the regiment right up through army and group army headquarters to General Ho Yingchin himself. If a Chinese commander were to refuse to accept the suggestions offered by the American working with him, the matter would be referred____________________