[Senator HICKENLOOPER Question No.5]
Isn’t your proposal for sea and air blockade of Red China the same strategy by which Americans achieved victory over the Japanese in the Pacific?
Yes sir. In the Pacific we by-passed them. We closed in. You must understand that Japan had an enormous population of nearly 80 million people, crowded into 4 islands. It was about half a farm population. The other half was engaged in industry.
Potentially the labor pool in Japan, both in quantity and quality, is as good as anything that I have ever known. Some place down the line they have discovered what you might call the dignity of labor, that men are happier when they are working and constructing than when they are idling.
This enormous capacity for work meant that they had to have something to work on. They built the factories, they had the labor, but they didn’t have the basic materials.
There is practically nothing indigenous to Japan except the silk worm. They lack cotton, they lack wool, they lack petroleum products, they lack tin, they lack rubber, they lack a great many other things, all of which was in the Asiatic basin.
They feared that if those supplies were cut off, there would be 10 to 12 million people unoccupied in Japan. Their purpose, therefore, in going to war was largely dictated by security.
The raw materials―those countries which furnished raw materials for their manufacture―each countries as Malaya, Indonesia, the Philippines, and so on―they, with the advantage of preparedness and surprise, seized all those bases, and their general strategic concept was to hold those outlying bastions, the islands of the Pacific, so that we would bleed ourselves white in trying to reconquer them, and that the losses would be so tremendous that we would ultimately acquiesce in a treaty which would allow them to control the basic products of the places they had captured.
In meeting that, we evolved an entirely new strategy. They held certain bastion points, and what we did was to evade those points, and go around them.
We came in behind them, and we crept up and crept up, and crept up, always approaching the lanes of communication which led from those countries, conquered countries, to Japan.
By the time we had seized the Philippines, and Okinawa, we were enabled to lay down a sea and Navy blockade so that the supplies for the maintenance of the Japanese armed forces ceased to reach Japan.
The minute we applied that blockade, the defeat of Japan was a certainty.
The ultimate result was that when Japan surrendered, they had at least 3,000,000 of as fine ground troops as I have ever known, that laid down their arms because they didn’t have the materials to fight with, and they didn’t have the potential to gather them at the points of importance where we would attack. We hit them where they weren’t; and, as a result, that magnificent army of theirs, very wisely surrendered.
The ground forces that were available in the Pacific were probably at no time more than one-third of the ground forces that Japan had available; but, as I say, when we blockaded that way, when we disrupted their entire economic system, they could not supply the sinews to their troops that were necessary to keep them in active combat and, therefore, they surrendered.
Now, the problem with China is quite similar, only China has not got anything like the resource the Japanese Empire had.
It would be easier to blockade them. A blockade along their coasts would be very simple problem if all the nations of the United Nations joined in.
The only other way in which China can get logistical support is from the Soviet. As I explained this morning, that railroad that runs from the great industrial centers of Russia, which are in European Russia, is already strained to the utmost to maintain the garrisons they have there now; to place them in a position―the increase of traffic that would be necessary to place them as a predatory expeditionary army would be too great.
There is a very definite limit to what they can give to Communist China. That, in my opinion, is why Communist China does not turn up with an adequate air force and an adequate navy. She can’t build it herself, and the Soviet can’t get it out to her.
It is for that reason that, in my own professional opinion, Communist China, its power to wage modern war, has been tremendously exaggerated: and I believe when we place the pressure, the blockade pressure, and the disruptive pressure of the air, on its distributive systems, that she would be forced to yield within a reasonable period of time.
You must understand that in China itself, they have the greatest difficulty in merely supplying their present civil population. I don’t suppose there is a year in China that from 5 to 10 million people don’t die either of starvation or of the results of malnutrition. It is an economy of poverty, and the minute you disrupt it, you will turn great segments of its population into disorder and discontent, and the internal strains would help to blow up her potential for war.