Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
Opened November, 1989
Oral History Interview with
September 19, 1988
by Niel M. Johnson
Topics discussed include the building of airfields in the China-Burma-India theater during World War II; operations over the "Hump" to China; the Ledo road; the Flying Tigers; the bombing of Tokyo; the Marshall mission to China; Soviet dismantling in Manchuria; the Berlin airlift; postwar occupation of Austria and Germany; the issue of German unification; German rearmament; the Plevin Plan; the Schuman Plan; French-German relations; European economic integration; China and the Korea war; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; U.S.-German relations; Zionism; Arab-Israeli relations; U.S. policy toward the Middle East; U.S. policy toward Iran; oil nationalization in Iran; U.S.-Egyptian relations; Suez crisis; apartheid in South Africa; U.S.-Afghanistani relations; U.S.-Burmese relations; U.S.-Filippino relations; and U.S.-Pakistani relations.
Names mentioned include Generals Caleb V. Haynes, Raymond A. Wheeler, Edward Alexander, Albert C. Wedemeyer, Claire Chennault, Joseph W. Stilwell, Curtis LeMay, Ed Hull, George C. Marshall, Clayton Bissell, Thomas Timberman, Lucius Clay, William Draper, and Omar Bradley, Chou En-lai, Mao Tse-Tung, Walter Robertson, Chiang Kai-shek, John Davies, John J. McCloy, Til Durdin, Charles Bohlen, Kenneth Royall, Dean Acheson, Robert Murphy, Tom Connally, James Webb, Harry S. Truman, Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman, Douglas Mac Arthur II, Theodore Achilles, Alfred Gruenther, Kurt Schumacher, Perry Laukhuff, Edwin Locke, Edwin Wright, Nathan Goldman, Sam Kramer, Abe Finnan, Loy Henderson, John Foster Dulles, Ben-Gurion, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mohammed Mossadegh, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Herbert Hoover, Jr., Ali Bhutto, Gam al Abdul Nasser, Abba Eban, Mohammed Daud, Ne Win, Dean Rusk, Lyndon Johnson, Ferdinand Marcos, and Benigno Aquino.
Donor: Henry Byroade
JOHNSON: Would you begin by telling me when and where you were born, and what your parents' names are?
BYROADE: I was born in Maumee Township in Indiana in 1913, the son of Ernest C. and Carrie Byroade. We lived on a farm. It was Depression days. I couldn't afford to go to college. I tried for a scholarship at Yale and missed it by a tenth of one percent, which I've always been grateful for. Then I managed to get an appointment, competitive appointment, to West Point. I went there and graduated in the class of 1937.
JOHNSON: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
BYROADE: I had one brother, who unfortunately drowned in a boating accident when he was about 45 years old. My
sister died when she was about 55 years old, of cancer.
JOHNSON: You had one brother and one . . .
BYROADE: One brother and one sister, yes.
JOHNSON: Do you have any children?
BYROADE: I have three boys from a previous marriage.
JOHNSON: What are their names?
BYROADE: Alan, who lives here is in Washington and works for the GAO; John who is running his own environmental firm here in Washington; and Gene, the oldest, is in Jacksonville, Florida, where he's a civilian with the Naval Department. I have one daughter, from my present marriage, who is now 23. She just graduated from the University of Maryland and she's under management training at Garfinkel's here in Washington.
JOHNSON: And your wife's name?
BYROADE: My wife's name is Jitka, but pronounced Yitka, as though it were a Y. It's a Czech name; she was of Czech nationality.
JOHNSON: So you went to West Point in about '34?
BYROADE: In '33.
JOHNSON: And got your commission . . .
BYROADE: Second Lieutenant, and bachelor of science, from West Point in 1937. Then I went to the Hawaiian Islands as my first post. I was there from '37 to '39. Since I was in the Corps of Engineers, the Corps sent me--as they do all of their young officers--back here to engineering college. I got my master's degree in civil engineering at Cornell in 1940. I was then stationed at Langley Field, Virginia, helping to form the first aviation engineer regiment. I was there at the time of Pearl Harbor.
JOHNSON: After Pearl Harbor, what happened?
BYROADE: Although I was a very junior officer, I was in command of a battalion. The next morning, after Pearl Harbor, I was told to take my battalion to Mitchell-Field, Long Island, and help convert that into a wartime base. It was unbelievable, looking back on it; there was a great scare along the East Coast that something was
going to happen. We built revetments for the aircraft, slit trenches, and that sort of thing.
JOHNSON: They thought German submarines were going to launch commandos onto Long Island?
BYROADE: Apparently, that's what the brass thought. I was only there about three months. I was called to Washington in the middle of the night, and they said, "Come right now, tonight." I got there after midnight and was told to go wake up [Brigadier] General [Stuart C.] Godfrey; he told me that I was going to go on a very unusual mission to Asia. I could pick any thirteen men in the Army that didn't rank me-- I was only a captain--and they were going to give me $10 million to start with to do whatever I was supposed to do. I was to report to General [Caleb V.] Haynes in Washington, and that's all he knew. He didn't know where we were going.
The next morning I found General Haynes and it was being kept secret, but it was obvious in a few hours that we were on a bomb Tokyo mission. It explains really the degree of chaos there was in Washington right after Pearl Harbor. Now, we were supposed to take
seventeen B-17s and about thirty DC-3s, which right after Pearl Harbor was a sizeable force. We were going through South America, Natal, across to Roberts Field in Africa. Ascension Islands at that time had no airfield. It was a perilous flight. It was thirty-three hours in the DC-3s, non-stop, of course.
My first job was to take out the bucket seats in the DC-3s and lash ordinary 50 gallon gas drums in their place. We lost about eight or nine [of the DC-3s]. We lost three of our B-17s, but the rest of us made it across.
JOHNSON: You mean they were lost over the ocean, over the jungle, or . . .
BYROADE: Over the ocean.
Now, we went on through Africa and arrived in Karachi [India]. There was chaos and confusion; we were going to hit Tokyo from just south of Shanghai, but it took us about three months in Florida to get organized, and underway, and by the time we got to Karachi, the Japanese had that area. The second plan was to use the Northern Philippines, but that was gone too. I was left in Karachi. General Brereton came in from Java, and he
outranked our General. He took all the bombers away from us. We were left with the DC-3s and they said, "Go start a Hump run to China."
So I was on the first DC-3 that went up to Assam, India.
JOHNSON: Where were you stationed at this time?
BYROADE: Well, I was around Karachi, trying to decide now to get in the war. My orders were to report to the senior aviation engineer in the China-Burma-India theater. The people that wrote the order knew that I was it, that I was the only one. I was picked up by General Wheeler.
JOHNSON: What was his first name?
BYROADE: Raymond A. Wheeler; he was head of the Service of Supply Command in CBI; it then consisted of General Wheeler, an aide, and a secretary.
JOHNSON: What was your rank at this time?
BYROADE: Either a captain or a major, I'm not sure. I guess I had been promoted to major. We got up to
Assam, India; Dinjan had half of one runway. The job was to build however many airfields it took to transport lend-lease supplies to China. There were lots of river boats there, full of lend-lease for China that had been in Rangoon. They thought that was going to fall, so they sent it all to Calcutta, and they thought that was going to fall, so they just sent it up the Brahmaputra River, as far as they could go, up towards Assam, waiting for us to get airfields, and airplanes to fly it across the Hump [Himalaya Mountains].
Am I going into too much detail?
JOHNSON: No, that's fine.
BYROADE: Well, we had to work through the British, of course. I was the American in charge of not only supplying our own forces, but building airfields and handling the air freight. We used a lot of labor, Indian coolies, breaking rocks by hand. We were to build, I think, seven freight fields, and three or four fighter fields for protection. Well, when I got there, there were two Pan-Am planes running the Hump, and two pilots; one was in bed with malaria and the other one was in the hospital. They had had a fight over some girls.
At that time that was the Hump run to China. So we started from absolutely nothing, and none of us had any idea that that would build up to a couple hundred thousand tons a month.
JOHNSON: Do you recall about when that started, that operation?
BYROADE: Well, we left Florida, I think, in March. I was around Karachi a couple months. It would be the middle of the summer in '42, July or August.
JOHNSON: Now, the raid on Tokyo, I believe, came in the spring of '42.
BYROADE: You're talking about Doolittle.
BYROADE: Well, we had just passed the point of no return in the Atlantic. I remember the navigator on the loudspeaker said, "We have now passed the point of no return," which means it was more dangerous to go back than it was to go on. Then he also announced that Doolittle had hit Tokyo. And we were rather chagrined.
JOHNSON: That was April I think.
BYROADE: I think so. We were rather chagrined. We wanted to do that, but he beat us to it. To digress, it wasn't for almost three years, I think, that I got back to my original mission which was to build the fields to bomb Tokyo. I did that up at Chengtu for the B-29s, but we can get back to that.
JOHNSON: On the other side of the Hump in China.
BYROADE: Yes. The Hump run was a tremendous feat because, where the Japs were then, we had to go over the northern part of the Himalayas, which were quite high. Well, we had every problem in the book.. You didn't have good communications equipment; we didn't have enough spare parts; we didn't really have good enough airfields, but that wasn't the bottleneck.. The DC-3s won't carry very much. We finally got the C-46, which was a lot bigger, but it had just rolled off the production line, and it was all full of bugs and we lost dozens of them going across the Hump.
JOHNSON: That was still a two-engine plane?
BYROADE: A two-engine, yes. It got so bad we wouldn't allow any people, any passengers, to go on these freight runs. Finally, of course, they got the bugs out of the C-46.
JOHNSON: But there was no way to bail out of them, was there?
BYROADE: It was possible to bail out but we still lost a lot of people. And then we got C-54s, and the tonnage started to mount. By then we had not only the left-over China defense supplies that we'd picked up when we arrived, but streams of new material, which mostly came across India by rail, or again, by river from Calcutta.
JOHNSON: While I'm thinking about it, you got involved in the Berlin airlift too.
JOHNSON: Was there experience from the Hump that was used in the Berlin airlift, and were some of the same persons involved in that one?
BYROADE: Well, you asked for my favorite story in this world, and that's to point out that if we hadn't had the experience of the Hump run into China, I don't think we would have attempted to supply Berlin by air. If
we hadn't saved Berlin, my feeling is the whole map of Europe would be changed today. When we got into the Berlin situation, there were enough of us in Washington--now I still was only a colonel--but there were enough of us and some generals, who had gone through the Hump experience, that said, "Wait a minute, we'll supply Berlin by air." Everybody--almost everybody--said, "You're crazy; they need things like coal." We said, "So what, they need coal--we'll fly coal." From Frankfurt to Berlin was just a twenty-minute milk run compared to the hazardous Hump run.
JOHNSON: There were no mountains in between either. You flew coal over the Hump?
BYROADE: Yes, of course, we flew coal and all kinds of necessary consumer items. I think, I really think, we would have probably lost Berlin, except for supplying the city by air. So that may be the greatest contribution that came out of the whole thing, because keeping China in the war didn't in the end accomplish very much, on the Hump run.
JOHNSON: Who were some of the other persons that were involved that were closely involved with the Hump, the
airlift, besides yourself? Could you name maybe even just two or three of these individuals?
BYROADE: Well, General [Edward] Alexander was in charge of the aircraft. I had been transferred from the Air Corps; I was then commanding Advance Section No. 2 of the Services of Supply, which was from Calcutta to Darjeeling and across the Burma border. We were the only two commanders there in the beginning.
JOHNSON: But you're saying that some of the same personnel that were involved with that airlift became involved with the Berlin airlift too?
BYROADE: Well, General [Albert C.] Wedemeyer was on our side; he hadn't participated actually in the Hump run, but he was there and he knew all about it. Hap Arnold was another one.
JOHNSON: He had direct experience with the airlift over there too?
BYROADE: That's right, yes. I can't think of any more names.
JOHNSON: How long did that go on, that lifting supplies over the Himalayas?
BYROADE: Oh, about three years. We were trying to build a road, the Ledo road, at the same time, and run a pipeline along the road, which would have been a great project if the war had lasted another couple of years. But by the time we got the road, and the pipeline into China, it was only a matter of months until the war was over.
JOHNSON: That was used, and that still is used, that road and that pipeline?
BYROADE: It was used some, not enough really to make any big difference. The road is no longer there, most of it isn't, because even while we were building it, the jungle would start taking it over again.
JOHNSON: It was a lot harder to build than the Alcan Highway I suppose.
BYROADE: It was a real bitch, and our troops really struggled through that.
JOHNSON: What were your exact duties, or functions, there with that airlift during those three years?
BYROADE: I was in charge of building the airfields--in charge of supplies for our own troops and lend-lease in China.
JOHNSON: Where were you stationed, mainly, in India?
BYROADE: I moved up to Chabua in Assam. I built a little headquarters at Chabua and we started with elephants pulling out trees and built our first field at Chabua.
JOHNSON: So you're in Assam. When did you get into China? I mean you didn't fly yourself.
BYROADE: Well, not legally, but our Air Force friends let me get in lots of flying hours. I guess I could have got my service wings if I'd stayed one more week, but I couldn't do that.
I was in the India end of the Hump, I've forgotten, but I guess for maybe a year and a half. Then I was transferred to the Advance Section No. 4 of the Services of Supply, which was the eastern half of China, in support of the forward echelon of Chennault's 14th Air Force, and old AVG. It was a prewar outfit . . .
JOHNSON: The Flying Tigers?
BYROADE: The Flying Tigers had become the 14th Air Force, with General Claire Chennault in command. It was quite a show in Eastern China. I again was in charge of supplies and construction. I was a colonel, about thirty [years of age]. The head of the Air Force was Casey Vincent, who was a brigadier general at 29. They added an Air Service Command. I can't remember the Commander's name at the moment; he was an old guy about 35 years old. Bruce Holloway, a classmate of mine at West Point, was in command of the fighters. He was 29.
JOHNSON: So now you're stationed in China?
BYROADE: In Kweilin. I got there as one of the first Americans. It was supposed to be the Paris of China, but there wasn't a fork to eat with within a hundred miles.
JOHNSON: Where was that respective to Chungking?
BYROADE: Oh, several hundred miles southeast of Chungking. It's the southeastern-central part of China.
JOHNSON: How far was that from the Japanese occupied territory?
BYROADE: When I first got to Kweilin, I guess I was part of a cover plan; I didn't know it at the time. Along with a native, I took a jeep and went from Kweilin up to just outside of Shanghai; went down along the Jap lines from Shanghai to Canton. We were looking for bomber sites. Whether Washington had decided they weren't going to use the mainland of China for major forces, and we were merely a decoy, I never knew. We did our survey, and we were ready to go to build fields, but we never got the orders to build them. I stayed on in Kewilin. It was an exciting adventure in east China with Chennault's P-40s; their ratio was about 13 to 1 to the Japs.
JOHNSON: You mean in the Japanese favor?
BYROADE: No, in our favor.
JOHNSON: Thirteen to one.
BYROADE: Well, one reason was that Chennault was a tremendous man to command fighters. He had an intelligence net that was unbelievable, and he was smart enough to not have any American at all in that intelligence net. Normally, it might take three days to place a long-distance telephone call in China. But when the Japanese fighters started
their motors wherever they were, the Chinese took over the phone system, and it worked. We were, of course, short of gasoline; we were flying our gasoline across the Hump. So Chennault would sit there in his cave in Kweilin and watch the Chinese plot where the Japanese were. He wasn't going to waste any gas, and when the time came, Chennault would give the okay. Our fighters would go up and get on top of the Japs, and bingo.
JOHNSON: They had cave headquarters there?
BYROADE: Yes, natural caves. There were a lot of caves; it's a cave country. It was a beautiful country with upside-down ice cream cone mountains, with lots of caves. I built a headquarters there. There was a tremendous cave fifty feet behind my headquarters. We had desks in there and when the Japs came over, my secretary would just take her typewriter and we'd move into the cave.
JOHNSON: Did they bomb our airfields, the Japanese, or did they try to bomb them?
BYROADE: Oh, yes, a lot. Of course, eventually we lost many of those airfields. I had built about 30. When I say "I," of course, the Chinese did the labor. Some of
them were good fields; some of them were just fighter strips.
JOHNSON: When was this? When were you building these?
BYROADE: Well, this would have been '43 or '44. Eventually, of course, the Japanese came through and we had to abandon some of the fields. I'll never forget abandoning Sezchwan, which was in eastern China. We put bombs in the runway and ran the fuses to piles of oil barrels and waste. The last man off fired tracer bullets into the dump and up went the runway, but the trouble was that the Japanese would fill in the holes in three or four days. When I was building that field, [General Joseph W.] Stilwell came through, and he said, "What are you building a field here for?" I said, "Because General Chennault wants it."
Well, he said, "Who's going to protect it?" I said, "My job is to build airfields." That was the great dispute between Chennault and Stilwell. Chennault thought he could hold up the Japanese and really win the war by air power alone, and of course, it didn't work. Stilwell kept saying it would not work, and this was the big bone of contention between them--other than having personalities that just didn't jibe at all.
JOHNSON: Chennault--did he speak Chinese?
BYROADE: Oh yes.
JOHNSON: Married a Chinese woman, didn't he?
BYROADE: He did after I left. Anna Chennault is now a very good friend of ours here in Washington, but I never met her in China. Chennault's family was in Louisiana. He was married and had several children, but after I left China in '44, he married Anna.
JOHNSON: You say Stilwell and Chennault had rather conflicting personalities?
BYROADE: Oh, very much so. On one of my first jobs in China, I received verbal orders from my commanding general, Raymond Wheeler. He said, "In spite of everything else you're supposed to do, see if you can't get Stilwell and Chennault talking to each other." Well, I got them together once, under the wing of an airplane on Kunming airfield, and I rather wished I hadn't because it didn't work.
JOHNSON: We're talking about 1944?
BYROADE: Probably late '43.
JOHNSON: You're in Chengtu?
BYROADE: I left Kweilin and eastern China very suddenly. The Air Force took over all construction in China and I was transferred back to the Air Force, a little chagrined at the idea, because I was building things for them and I still could, in my own mind, sort out what made sense and what didn't. Suddenly I was back in the Air Force and told to go to Chengtu, and build fields for our B-29s, which were just coming into being, to hit Tokyo. Chengtu was in northwestern China, too far from Tokyo really. You could use a slide rule and figure out that you couldn't carry very much weight in bombs at that distance. I took about fifteen people with me and we quite secretly designed and laid out four or five, I've forgotten, of the big fields, for the B-29s, and seven fighter fields for protection. I say secretly, because when we moved into an area in China and started construction, the prices of everything went sky high. Pipe was $1 a foot. Incidentally, we almost set our watches, and everybody went over the area and bought all the pipe all at once. But that was an unbelievable project.
The Generalissimo, of course, drafted the work
force, coolies. They would arrive there in groups, walking from as far as a hundred miles away, all organized in groups with their own cook, etc. We had 496,000 laborers on that job. We located the big fields along rivers, as a source of rock, and they would carry the rock on their shoulders and heads up to seven miles in each direction; break the rock by hand. We had no concrete, no cement, in China; we had no asphalt. We had to build these runways for the biggest planes any of us had ever seen; the runways were 24 inches thick, with crushed rock, and then clay and sand on top.
JOHNSON: This is limestone, this rock?
BYROADE: Yes, for the most part it was limestone. It was almost unbelievable what was accomplished. Ninety days after we started that project, the first B-29 came in. If we had had all the equipment America ever invented, I don't think we could have done it that fast. While I was originally an aviation engineer, we had designed all kinds of airborne engineering equipment--little bulldozers, little rollers, everything that could be airborne. I had a real row with Washington because
I didn't want it. We were making the rollers, as an example, out of concrete. Five-ton rollers took 500 people to pull; ten-ton rollers, for some reason or another, we pulled with 750 people. But as the B-29s came in, they brought little dollies to pull their airplanes around one of my young lieutenants got enthusiastic and he used one of these to pull a roller all night. The next day the Chinese wouldn't pull the big rollers. So, no more of that.
We finally finished the fields and General Curt LeMay came in to command the bombing raids on Tokyo. He was extremely disappointed with the airfields. And I couldn't blame him, because they were dusty. Curt LeMay had been running hundred-bomber missions over Europe, and of course, he wanted to run that kind of mission over Tokyo. But the dust was so bad that they couldn't take off that fast, and we had to fly in all the gasoline, so they couldn't circle waiting for all of them to get off the ground. He said, "Well, we've got to pave them." I said, "Well, there's nothing here to pave them with; we've tried tung oil and we've tried everything to solve the dust problem. The only way I can keep down the dust is salt, and that will wreck your airplanes." He
said, "Yes, we can't use that, because salt will cause aluminum to corrode." So in utter disgust he decided he had to fly single-mission B-29s over Tokyo.
JOHNSON: One at a time.
BYROADE: One at a time.
JOHNSON: And how much time between?
BYROADE: Oh, a minute or two.
It, of course, gave a psychological boost for our troops everywhere around the world; we were hitting Tokyo, and we did some damage, but not a great deal because the payload was not very great.
JOHNSON: This was before they started using Saipan wasn't it?
BYROADE: Yes. At that time we were the only force hitting Tokyo. But looking back on it all, it did something else that was very important; it got the bugs out of the B-29s. It was the first time they had been used. So later on when we could get close enough to really use them, the B-29 was a marvelous machine.
JOHNSON: There were accidents taking off, especially, I guess.
BYROADE: Well, not like the C-46, no; it was a good airplane, except any airplane new has got bugs in it. We were able to get those out. Once the operation was running smoothly, I was transferred back to Kunming, and placed in charge of all construction in China. I've just told you we had 496,000 laborers on the Chengtu project. In all of China we had about 950,000 laborers, on Chengtu and all of these other fields for Chennault. So it was a tremendous force. Our problems in Chengtu weren't normal engineering problems. Our biggest problems were rice and paper money. We paid all of these laborers as much as we could in rice, about half their salary, and the rest we paid with Chinese paper money. The inflation was such that it wasn't worth very much, and we needed small denominations. So a truckload a day of Chinese paper money would leave Chungking, the printing presses, straight to Chengtu, to pay the workers, and we just didn't have enough. Finally, we arranged, with Chinese Government approval, for the American Bank Note Company here in America to print Chinese money. We flew that out, straight to Chengtu, and
one of the airplanes over Kunming blew up in the air, literally blew up, and there was money floating over Kunming for a time.
JOHNSON: Did you ever meet Chaing Kai-shek personally?
BYROADE: I saw a lot of Chiang Kai-shek, and Mme. Chiang Kai-shek, but mostly it was after the war when I went back to China with General Marshall on his mission. I met him a time or two in the war, but nothing extensive.
JOHNSON: On April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died and Truman became President, I suppose you remember that day. Where were you and what did you think when you heard the news?
BYROADE: I was back in Washington.
JOHNSON: You got transferred back to Washington. When was that?
BYROADE: Somewhere near the end of '44.
JOHNSON: Where did they station you here then?
BYROADE: I was in the Pentagon, on the General Staff, in the Asiatic Theatre Section of OPD. That was Marshall's
sort of command post, Operations Division.
JOHNSON: So your immediate superior then was whom, in the Pentagon?
BYROADE: My immediate superior in the beginning was General Ed Hull.
JOHNSON: How long were you in that position?
BYROADE: I was in that position until I went back to China with General Marshall.
JOHNSON: Well, he was appointed in November of '45 by Truman to go on this special mission. In the meantime you were in the Pentagon, on April 12, 1945. What was your immediate reaction upon hearing that we had a new President, Harry Truman?
BYROADE: Well, my reaction was, I guess, like any other American when an American President dies; you know, being so close to things in Washington, it's a shock. I don't remember much more about that.
JOHNSON: But you had heard of Truman and his committee?
BYROADE: Well, I didn't, know much about Truman, about the
same, I guess, as any other American.
JOHNSON: It wasn't long before V-E Day.
JOHNSON: Which happened also to be Truman's birthday. It would have been a real day to celebrate. So you're still in the Pentagon now in the spring and summer of '45 after Truman takes over as President.
BYROADE: That's right.
JOHNSON: Did we get your title there and position?
BYROADE: I was head of the Asiatic Theater Division of the General Staff in the Operations Division in the Pentagon.
JOHNSON: Well, we have the Marshall mission that we need to deal with. It's apparent that you had experience over in China, but do you recall how and when you were selected to be part of that Marshall mission, and what kind of function you served?
BYROADE: Well, I remember when I was selected by General [George C.] Marshall to go with him to China, it was a
great shock. I didn't know General Marshall. I had briefed him a few times. I was having lunch in the Pentagon with some other officers and there was a newspaperman at the table; I couldn't remember his name. I didn't introduce myself. In the conversation he said to everybody at the table, "The deal on Byroade firmed up this morning." And I said, "I'm Byroade; what are you talking about?" He said, "Well, you're going to China with General Marshall." Well, I said, "No way, I just got back.." I went back to my desk and sat there thinking about this. I had been gone for forty months; left a family back here. Went on a bomb-Tokyo mission with one suitcase thinking I'd be home in a hurry and forty months later I got back; and here he was taking me back with him. I just sat there and looked out the window for a half an hour.
A man came running down the hall and said that General Marshall wanted to see me. I walked in and saluted. He said, "Do you want to go back to China?" I said, "No sir." And he said, "Why not?" Well, what do you say? So he said, "Well, I want you to go with me." "Yes sir," I said. "You have to have a title,"
he said. "I guess you had better be military attaché to China. You go tell General [Clayton] Bissell, who is head of G-2, you're military attaché to China."
I knew Bissell from the war, and I walked in and told him I was the new military attaché to China, and he just about went through the ceiling. He finally calmed down and said, "All right, we'll put you through a six-weeks school." And I said, "I'm sorry; we're leaving in three days."
Well, I was in the attaché office out there maybe an hour total, but it was a good cover.
JOHNSON: You say you had briefed Marshall prior to this?
BYROADE: Only once or twice. He didn't know me.
JOHNSON: That was on the China operation that you were involved in?
JOHNSON: Had he paid much attention to China, do you think, before he got appointed to this mission?
BYROADE: Well, in a way, of course, his primary concern and
working hours were on Europe and the Pacific up to that point. But, yes, he had been very much involved in the problems of Stilwell and the Generalissimo, and Lord Louis Mountbatten and so on.
JOHNSON: So you think he got feedback from these people, Mountbatten, Stilwell, maybe even Chennault?
BYROADE: As far as my selection's concerned, I think it was somewhat Stilwell, probably more Wedemeyer, at that point.
JOHNSON: Had you become pretty well acquainted with Genera