War in the Pacific
On july 7, 1941, Sumner Welles wrote the following prescient letter to Hopkins:
I know that you are keenly interested in seeing that the assistance we are rendering China under authorization of the Lease and Lend Act of March 11, 1941, shall be as prompt and effective as possible. It is also clear that numerous causes over which you can have no control, including imperative needs in other parts of the world, are constantly operating to obstruct the shipment of supplies to China.
Nevertheless, the situation in the Far East is causing us anxiety, and I venture to suggest that if anything further can be done to increase the speed and the volume of munitions and supplies going to China it would appear highly advisable to make additional effort to that end.
The fact is that the German invasion of Russia may very possibly serve to cause Japan to take some further aggressive action. Among the obvious possibilities are: (1) invasion of Siberia; (2) expansion to the southward; and (3) intensification of Japanese military operations in China.
It seems to me that German successes against Russia and the opportunity which Japan may consider is afforded her by those successes to take further aggressive action constitute a factor which increases the importance of this country's rendering effective aid to China in the shortest possible time. It is essential that this country take all practicable steps to avert a possible serious weakening of the morale of the Chinese Government. The surest means of averting such a possible development is to do all we can to make available to China urgently needed supplies and to see that those supplies reach China promptly.
I am sending copies of this letter to General Marshall and to Admiral Stark and I am sure that all of you will do your utmost in reference to this very important aspect of our self-defensive effort.