Roosevelt and Hopkins, an Intimate History

By Robert E. Sherwood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIII
The Decision to Attack

The first meeting of the Pacific War Council was held on the morning of April 1, against the background of seemingly unmitigated disaster in the Far East. That was a Wednesd`ay. After lunch that day, the President met with Secretaries Stimson and Knox, Generals Marshall and Arnold, Admiral King, and Hopkins. That night and the next night the President and Hopkins dined together, and the next day they lunched with General Marshall, then went for a drive to see how the construction on the new Naval Hospital (Roosevelt's pride) was getting along out in Bethesda, Maryland. That night they dined together alone again, and at 4:30 the next morning (Saturday, April 4) Hopkins and Marshall took off for London to propose the invasion of the Continent of Europe.

In his long cable to Churchill of March 9, Roosevelt had spoken of "plans for establishment of a new front on the European Continent," adding, "I am becoming more and more interested in the establishment of the new front this summer."

On March 14, Hopkins wrote the following memorandum to the President:


MATTERS OF IMMEDIATE MILITARY CONCERN
1. Australia. To be sure we have enough forces there to hold Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji and New Zealand. Believe Army should be pressed on this point, particularly as to air. We must not underrate the Japs' air strength.
2. China. We must keep that line to China open and get it going. Believe Army needs to be jogged on this regularly.

The second phase of the Chinese business is to get a springboard

-518-

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