While the situation on Bataan was never more favorable to the Allied cause than it was in mid-February, there was little hope in Washington that the Philippine garrison could withstand the Japanese assault for more than a few months. What would happen to General MacArthur then? Was he to be allowed to fall into Japanese hands or should he be saved for the Allied war effort still to come? The decision reached in Washington, presumably early in February, was that the general's services were too valuable to be sacrificed in a hopeless cause, that he must be rescued to lead other forces in the war against Japan.
But there were difficulties to this solution. MacArthur would undoubtedly raise objections to any orders which might affect his reputation. And he might show an understandable reluctance to desert his troops in the midst of battle. Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, former Secretary of War and an old friend of MacArthur's, summarized these difficulties when he told General Wavell during a trip to the Indies that MacArthur would not leave the Philippines until "both the public and the troops were assured that command had passed to competent leadership." He explained also "that it would be necessary for the President to definitely order MacArthur to relinquish command and proceed elsewhere, and that even if such orders were issued MacArthur might feel that he had destroyed himself by leaving his beleaguered command." MacArthur's departure from the Philippines, Hurley concluded, would have to be arranged in such a way that "his honor and his record as a soldier" would not be compromised.1 The settlement of these delicate questions formed the substance of the lengthy negotiations which preceded General MacArthur's departure from Corregidor on 12 March 1942.
The subject of MacArthur's evacuation from the Philippines and his future role in the war against Japan was first raised by the Chief of Staff in an oblique fashion on 2 February. The occasion was an inquiry about MacArthur's plans for his wife and young son who were on Corregidor with him.2 General Marshall followed up this inquiry two days later with the statement that "continuous consideration" was being given to the evacuation of officials from the Philippines. For the first time mention was made of the possibility of MacArthur's transfer to another command should Bataan fall, leaving only "the fortress defense of Corregidor" in American hands. "Under these conditions," Marshall explained, "the need for your services there might well be
less pressing than at other points in the Far East."3
Marshall outlined two possibilities for MacArthur's future employment. The first was his transfer to Mindanao. The length of his stay there would depend on the success of guerilla operations and the effectiveness of the program to bring in supplies from Australia. The second alternative was for MacArthur to go directly to Australia and there resume command of all Army forces in the Far East. After describing the situation in Australia and outlining what was being done to establish a strong base in that area, Marshall went on to say that his purpose in raising the question of MacArthur's evacuation from the Philippines was to secure from him a "highly confidential statement" of his views before a decision was made. "It is to be understood," he concluded, "that in case your withdrawal from immediate leadership of your beleaguered forces is to be carried out it will be by direct order of the President to you."
This request for MacArthur's views was not answered immediately, and when it did come was made in connection with an entirely different matter. On 8 February, four days after Marshall's inquiry, the War Department received a message for President Roosevelt from Manuel Quezon. In this message Quezon proposed that the United States immediately grant the Philippines their independence; that the Islands be neutralized; that American and Japanese forces be withdrawn by mutual consent; and that the Philippine Army be disbanded.
Quezon's disquieting proposal was accompanied by a supporting message from General MacArthur, couched in the form of a military estimate of the situation.4 From this estimate the War Department learned for the first time that the Philippine garrison had sustained a casualty rate of 50 percent, and that divisions were reduced to the size of regiments and regiments to battalions. Although morale was good the men were "badly battle worn" and "desperately in need of rest." "There is no denying the fact," MacArthur told Marshall, "that we are near done," and warned him to be prepared for "the complete destruction of this command" at any time. It was up to the United States to decide whether the time the Allies so badly needed could be attained better through Quezon's plan or by continuing the hopeless battle. After summarizing the attitude of the Filipinos as one of "almost violent resentment against the United States," MacArthur stated that, from the military point of view, "the problem presents itself as to whether the plan of President Quezon might offer the best possible solution of what is about to be a disastrous debacle." If the plan was accepted, he pointed out, "we lose no military advantage because we would still secure at least equal delay."
The reaction from Washington was prompt and emphatic. On 9 February, one day later, President Roosevelt in a personal message to Quezon repudiated the scheme and declared that the United States Government would never agree to such a solution to the war in the Philippines.5 At the
same time he expressed his sympathy for Quezon and the Philippine people and pledged American support "whatever happens to the present American garrison." "So long as the flag of the United States flies on Filipino soil," Roosevelt assured Quezon, ". . . it will be defended by our own men to the death ... we shall not relax our efforts until the forces which are now marshalling outside the Philippine Islands return to the Philippines and drive the last remnant of the invaders from your soil." To General MacArthur, Roosevelt sent a personal message authorizing the surrender of the Filipino troops if necessary, but forbidding the surrender of American troops, "so long as there remains any possibility of resistance."6 The President then went on to express his belief in the importance of the fight in the Philippines and the role of that garrison in the war against the Axis.
Both Quezon and MacArthur accepted the President's decision without question. Quezon wrote that he fully appreciated the reasons upon which the decision was based and that he was "abiding by it."7 It was in his reply to the President's "no surrender" order that MacArthur answered Marshall's inquiry of a week earlier for his confidential views about evacuation. He and his family, MacArthur declared, had decided to remain in the Philippines and "share the fate of the garrison."8 He planned, he said, to fight "to destruction" on Bataan and then do the same of Corregidor. "I have not the slightest intention in the world," he told the President, "of surrendering or capitulating the Filipino element of my command. . . . There has never been the slightest wavering among the troops."
General Marshall immediately expressed personal concern over MacArthur's decision to "share the fate of the garrison." He urged the former Chief of Staff to consider the possibility of an assignment that would force him to become separated from his family "under circumstances of greatly increased peril" and "poignant embarrassment."9 In the same message Marshall made an official inquiry about antiaircraft ammunition. The reply from Corregidor
answered the inquiry about the ammunition but pointedly omitted any reference to the personal aspects of Marshall's message.10
MacArthur's message was penned on 15 February, the same day that the supposedly impregnable fortress at Singapore, key to the British position in the Far East, surrendered. Already the Japanese had taken Malaya, Borneo, and the Celebes. The early loss of Sumatra and Java and the split of the ABDA area was virtually certain. Again MacArthur called for an attack against the Japanese line of communications, declaring with characteristic optimism that "the opportunities still exist for a complete reversal of the situation."11
To the United States and British planners in Washington the possibility of successful flank attack against the Japanese positions appeared even more remote than before. ABDA Command was clearly doomed, and there were numerous meetings held in Washington during the two weeks following the fall of Singapore to consider the effects on Allied strategy of the new Japanese victories and the imminent collapse of Wavell's command. Gradually there emerged a scheme by which the United States would accept responsibility for the eastern portion of the ABDA area, including Australia and the Netherlands Indies; the British, the western portion. It was evident by the last week in February that the broad outlines of such an agreement were mutually satisfactory and that only the details- important as they were-remained to be worked out. The American planners considered it a wise precaution, then, to select in advance a senior officer qualified to command a large Allied headquarters in the Southwest Pacific. Inevitably the choice fell upon MacArthur.12 On 27 February the Combined Chiefs of Staff finally ordered Wavell to dissolve his headquarters and turn command of operations in the area over to the Netherlands authorities before leaving for India. This move placed MacArthur technically under the Dutch, but he had already been told that "because of your special situation all procedures in your case remain as heretofore. You will continue to communicate directly with the War Department."13
Such reassurances were by now entirely unnecessary for on 22 February the President had directed MacArthur to leave the Philippines. His intention to do so had been made clear on the 21st when the Chief of Staff had told the Far East commander that the President was considering the advisability of ordering him to Mindanao to conduct the defense of the Philippines from there.14
There were numerous advantages to such a move. MacArthur himself had repeatedly pointed out the possibility of continuing resistance from Mindanao by means of guerrilla warfare and had already taken measures to strengthen Brig. Gen. William F. Sharp's command. If the Allies mounted an
air and naval counterattack through the Netherlands Indies, as MacArthur had urged, Mindanao would be the first objective in the Philippines and the base for an invasion of Luzon. Communication with other areas in the Far East would also be more practical from Mindanao than Corregidor. "The foregoing considerations underlie the tentative decision of the President," Marshall told MacArthur, "but we are not sufficiently informed as to the situation and circumstances to be certain that the proposal meets the actual situation."
The next day, without waiting for a reply from Corregidor, the President made up his mind about MacArthur's evacuation. The USAFFE commander was to leave Fort Mills as quickly as possible and proceed to Mindanao where he would remain long enough "to insure a prolonged defense."15 From there he was to go on to Australia. In this message MacArthur was told definitely for the first time of the President's plans for his future role in the war and of arrangements then in progress to secure Australian and British acceptance of his command in the southwest Pacific. He was urged to make all haste in his preparations, "because of the vital importance of your assuming command in Australia at an early date," and directed not to "delay in Mindanao" longer than one week and to leave sooner if transportation became available. Obviously, by this time, his movement to Mindanao was secondary to his assumption of command in Australia. Air and submarine transportation from Corregidor would be provided by Washington and he was authorized to take with him his chief of staff.
The message reached Corregidor at noon on the 23d. According to Frazier Hunt, one of General MacArthur's biographers, MacArthur first decided to refuse to leave and actually drafted a blunt refusal note. When he called in the senior members of his staff to tell them of the President's orders and his decision, they all argued that he would have to obey the orders ultimately and that he ought not to send the message already drafted. If he persisted in his refusal, they pointed out, he would face court-martial charges. He had been selected to lead a rescue force back to the Philippines and he owed it to his men to accept the assignment. There was enough food and ammunition, they declared, to last into June and the Bataan force might well hold out until his return.16
Thus advised, says Frazier Hunt, MacArthur tore up his first message and accepted his orders, with reservations. In his reply, dated 24 February, he expressed his appreciation of the confidence "implied" in the President's orders and agreement with the objectives desired. Pointing out that the failure to send support to the Philippines had "created a very difficult situation which I have been able to meet only through the peculiar confidence placed in me by the Filipino people and Army," and that his abrupt departure might result "in collapse in the Philippine area," he asked for permission to delay his departure until the "psychological time." "Please be guided by me in this matter," he urged the Chief of Staff. "I know the
situation here in the Philippines and unless the right moment is chosen for this delicate operation, a sudden collapse might occur. . . . These people are depending upon me now . . . and any idea that might develop in their minds that I was being withdrawn for any other purpose than to bring them immediate relief could not be explained. . . ."17
Authority to leave at a time he considered appropriate was received immediately. "Your No. 358," Marshall told him the next day, "has been carefully considered by the President. He has directed that full decision as to timing of your departure and details of method be left in your hands."18 Since his date of departure was indefinite, he was given authority to call on the Army and Navy commands in Australia for a submarine to take him to Mindanao and B-17's for the trip to Australia.
These arrangements, MacArthur told Marshall, were entirely satisfactory, and he added that he expected to leave about 15 March.19 Lt. Gen. George H. Brett and Rear Adm. William A. Glassford, the Army and Navy commanders in Australia, though not given the reason, were directed to place three heavy bombers and a submarine at MacArthur's disposal. The submarine was to move to Corregidor, the planes to Mindanao. Brett and Glassford were also told to expect such a call about 15 March and enjoined to keep the entire matter "highly secret."20 The only urging MacArthur received from Washington to hasten his departure came on 6 March when Marshall told him, at the end of a message dealing with other matters, that the situation in Australia "indicates desirability of your early arrival there."21
The "psychological time" for MacArthur's departure came six days later. On 24 February, when he had asked permission to delay his departure, he had pointed out that he wished to remain in the Philippines until such time as the situation on Bataan became stabilized. The enemy's intentions were not then clear, he had said, and it was entirely possible that he might soon make a major effort. MacArthur was confident that he could defeat the Japanese and "restabilize the situation." If such an attack did not materialize, his estimate was that "we may be approaching the stalemate of positional warfare."22 By 10 March MacArthur evidently felt such a condition had been reached and that his departure would not result in a collapse.23 Arrangements for transportation were quickly made by Rear
Adm. Francis W. Rockwell and General Sutherland, and the officers to accompany him carefully selected. Instead of waiting for the submarine which the Navy had placed at his disposal and which could not reach Corregidor until 15 March-by which time the Japanese might have established an effective blockade-MacArthur decided to go to Mindanao by PT boat. Rockwell assigned four of these small craft to the operation and rushed preparations for the journey. Lieutenant Bulkeley, aboard the boat carrying the general, was in tactical command of the group, but Rockwell assumed personal command of the operation.24
During the negotiations leading to MacArthur's reassignment no mention had been made of the size or character of the staff he would take with him. It was assumed that his family would go, and Marshall had inquired specifically about them. Only two officers had been mentioned by name as being included in the official transfer: General Sutherland and General George, the latter asked for specifically by the Air Forces who were "anxious to profit by [his] experience."25 The group finally selected to make the trip from Corregidor to Australia via Mindanao numbered twenty-one persons. In addition to his wife, young son, and the nurse for the child, MacArthur selected from his staff seventeen officers to accompany him. They included his chief and deputy chief of staff, the G-1 and G-2, the signal, engineer, antiaircraft artillery, and air officers, a public relations officer, Sutherland's assistant, an aide, a medical officer, and a secretary. In addition to Admiral Rockwell one other naval officer accompanied the general.26
On 12 March, as darkness settled down over Manila Bay, the party embarked from Corregidor. Two hours later, at 2115, the four PT boats cleared the mine fields and sped south. Sailing all that night, they put in next morning at a small uninhabited island in the Cuyo group in the central Philippines. The small craft had broken formation during the night and become separated, one of them dumping its spare fuel when it mistook Bulkeley's boat for an enemy vessel. The passengers on this boat were taken aboard the others and the group continued south through the Mindanao Sea the next night, reaching the north central shore of Mindanao at daybreak of the 14th.
They were met by General Sharp and taken to Del Monte airfield where MacArthur found only one of the B-17's Brett had sent up from Australia. Two had failed to arrive and the third had crashed. The remaining bomber MacArthur considered unfit to carry passengers. Incensed, he requested Brett to send other planes and asked Marshall to make suitable planes available if Brett did not have them. "The best three planes in the United States or Hawaii should be made available," he radioed the Chief of Staff, "with completely adequate and experienced crews. To attempt such a desperate and important trip with inadequate equipment would amount to consigning the whole party to death and I could not accept such a responsibility."27
Three B-17's were dispatched from Australia immediately, two of them reaching Del Monte safely by midnight of the 16th. The entire group took off shortly after and arrived at Darwin at 0900 the next morning. "This hazardous trip by a commanding general and key members of his staff through enemy controlled territory undoubtedly is unique in military annals," MacArthur reported to the Chief of Staff on his arrival. "I wish to commend the courage and coolness of the officers and men . . . who were engaged in this hazardous enterprise. It was due entirely to their invincible resolution and determination that the mission was successfully accomplished."28
As early as 4 March, a week before his departure, General MacArthur had begun to formulate a plan for the organization and command of the forces remaining behind. On that day the composite Visayan-Mindanao Force under General Sharp was split and the islands in the Visayas transferred to the command of Brig. Gen. Bradford G. Chynoweth. Sharp continued on as commander of the forces on Mindanao, the only island south of Luzon on which a major Japanese force had landed.29 This move was probably designed to permit General Sharp to devote all his energies to the defense of Mindanao, the base from which MacArthur still hoped to mount a counteroffensive against the Japanese.
The reorganization of the Visayan- Mindanao Force was only a part of General MacArthur's plan. He intended also, as he told General Moore at that time, to make some changes in command on Bataan and Corregidor.30 These intentions were a closely guarded secret and the news only began to leak out to the general staff on the 10th.31 General Wainwright was the first to learn of it officially. On the evening of the 9th he received a telephone call from Sutherland to come to Corregidor the next morning to see General MacArthur on a matter of importance. When he arrived the USAFFE chief of staff told him that MacArthur was leaving for Mindanao and Australia the next day. "The general," Sutherland explained, "plans a number of
changes."32 These changes, it appeared, did not include the appointment of another commander for the forces in the Philippines. MacArthur would continue to exercise this control from Australia through his G-4, Colonel Beebe, who would be given a star and designated deputy chief of staff of USAFFE.
The entire force, Sutherland told Wainwright, would be organized into four commands. In addition to the two already created in the south and General Moore's Harbor Defenses, a new command would be established for the troops on Bataan and those still holding out in the mountains of Luzon. This command, to be known as Luzon Force, would be led by General Wainwright. General Jones, who had demonstrated his ability in guiding the South Luzon Force during its withdrawal to Bataan and in the pocket fight, was to be promoted and given Wainwright's old command, I Corps.33 These arrangements, Sutherland concluded, would become effective the day after MacArthur's departure.
The briefing completed, Sutherland took Wainwright in to see General MacArthur. After outlining the organization to be established on his departure and asserting his determination to "come back as soon as I can with as much as I can," MacArthur cautioned Wainwright to defend Bataan "in as great depth as you can." "You're an old cavalryman, Jonathan," he said, "and your training has been along thin, light, quick hitting lines. The defense of Bataan must be deep." "And be sure," he continued, "to give them everything you've got with your artillery. That's the best arm you have." Before the cavalryman returned to Bataan, MacArthur promised him his third star "if you're still on Bataan." "I'll be on Bataan," Wainwright pledged, "if I'm alive."34 It was a promise that he would be unable to keep.
In his instructions to General Moore, MacArthur explained more fully the purpose behind the reorganization. The principal function of the staff he was leaving with Colonel Beebe, he declared, would be "to try to get supplies into Corregidor and Bataan,"35 The advance command post of USAFFE at Corregidor, therefore, would be a supply not a tactical headquarters. MacArthur apparently intended to retain control of operations in the Philippines in his own headquarters in Australia.
Moore, as commander of the Corregidor garrison, was specifically enjoined to defend that island to the last. Some time earlier MacArthur had ordered Moore to set aside enough food to last 20,000 men on half rations until 30 June 1942, in the expectation that if Bataan fell the Philippine Division would be brought to Corregidor for its final stand. Moore had made preparations for such a move and MacArthur's final warning to him was to maintain this level of supply against encroachment by the commanders of his other forces. His "last instructions to me before departing," Moore wrote, "were to hold Corregidor until he returned." If that proved impossible, "I was to make sure that the armament was destroyed to such an extent that it could not be used against an American effort to recapture the Philippines."36
Promptly on the morning after the four PT boats sped out of Manila Bay, General
Wainwright "lined up" the general officers in his I Corps and told them what MacArthur had said to him. "They realized as well as I," he noted, "what the score was."37 He then turned over command of the corps to General Jones and left for his new headquarters which would control both the corps on Bataan. Two days later a general order announced the creation of Luzon Force, General Wainwright commanding.38
Although the War Department was fully informed about MacArthur's movements from 12 March on, it was completely ignorant of the command arrangements which went into effect on his departure. Whatever the reason, MacArthur neglected to inform the War Department of his plans to control operations in the Philippines from Australia. It was therefore assumed in Washington that Wainwright, the senior officer in the islands, was now in command. All correspondence was addressed to him as commander and dispatches spoke of him as the successor to MacArthur.39
The War Department's ignorance of the organization of forces in the Philippines placed Colonel Beebe, promoted to brigadier general on 17 March, in a difficult situation. His own orders from General MacArthur made Wainwright a subordinate commander to USAFFE. As deputy chief of staff of USAFFE and MacArthur's representative on Corregidor he was superior to Wainwright. But higher headquarters was now directing its correspondence and orders to Wainwright as commander. His position was an embarrassing one. Belatedly, on the 16th, a general order was published announcing his appointment as deputy chief of staff, USAFFE.40 This did not solve the difficulty for the War Department was still unaware of the situation. Beebe thereupon told MacArthur that it was imperative the War Department be informed of the change in order to preserve morale.41
Events soon overwhelmed General Beebe. On the 18th (Washington time) he received a message from the Chief of Staff addressed to the commanding general of USAFFE at Fort Mills but obviously meant for Wainwright. In it General Marshall defined MacArthur's new area of responsibility as including the Philippines and explained that "he [MacArthur] retains supervisory control of you and your forces." The "CG USAFFE" was instructed to communicate directly with the War Department and to submit daily reports. "Nothing in these instructions," the message concluded, "will be construed as altering in any way your subordination to MacArthur."42
General Beebe was in a quandary. The message was addressed to "CG USAFFE," who he knew was MacArthur, but it was evidently meant for Wainwright. Was he authorized to deliver it to him? On his own initiative he decided to withhold the message from Wainwright and to acknowledge its receipt himself in a message to the War Department sent in MacArthur's name. To his chief he explained what he had done, declaring, "It is not clear to me who the Chief of Staff had in mind when
the message was written." Again he urged that General Marshall be informed of the command in the Philippines and asked for instructions on what to do about the Chief of Staff's order for a daily report.43
The next day the situation became even more confused. First came a message from President Roosevelt for General Wainwright. The President was obviously addressing Wainwright as commander of the forces in the Philippines. He told him that he had been nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general "because of the confidence I have in your leadership and in the superb gallantry of the devoted band of American and Filipino soldiers under your command." There was no mistaking the President's belief that he was addressing MacArthur's successor when he told Wainwright that the whole nation realized the "extreme difficulty" and "vast importance" of his task and pledged "every possible means and method" to send him help.44
Later in the day Beebe received two messages from the Chief of Staff for "CG USAFFE" but clearly intended for Wainwright. In the first, Marshall told Wainwright that the Senate had confirmed his nomination to lieutenant general.45 The second message made it clear that the War Department considered Wainwright the successor to MacArthur. No confusion was possible in the wording of this message. "Upon the departure of General MacArthur," Marshall wrote, "you became commander of U.S. forces in the Philippines. You are to communicate directly with the War Department in rendering daily operational reports." These reports, he told Wainwright, "are to be dispatched over your name."46
Beebe had no choice now but to turn over command to Wainwright.47 Late on the night of the 20th he telephoned the Luzon Force commander at his headquarters on Bataan and informed him of his promotion and designation as commander of U.S. forces in the Philippines. The next morning Wainwright pinned the third star on his shoulders and moved to Corregidor where Beebe turned over to him the messages from General Marshall and the President.48
Wainwright's first official act was to assume command of U.S. Forces in the Philippines (USFIP), the name of his new headquarters, and to make Beebe his chief of staff.49 His command, like MacArthur's, included Navy as well as Army elements. Under Admiral Hart and for a time under his successor, Admiral Rockwell, naval forces in the Philippines had been organized as an independent command, not subject to orders from USAFFE. Joint operations had been conducted on the basis of co-ordination between the two headquarters. At the end of January General Mac-
Arthur had asked that naval forces, including the marines, be placed under his command "due to restricted area of combat and the intimacy of liaison that is required." Army and Navy authorities in Washington quickly agreed to this request and on 30 January all naval forces in the Philippines had been put under MacArthur's control. Unity of command had thus been established for the first time in the campaign.50 Wainwright inherited this arrangement, with Capt. Kenneth M. Hoeffel as naval commander.
Wainwright's assumption of command brought from General MacArthur an inquiry for the basis of the action. Wainwright explained that he had received a message from the President and instructions from the Chief of Staff, and had had no choice but to assume command. "I trust you will understand and appreciate my position in this matter," he wrote. "The appointment came as a surprise to me without any previous intimation that I was to be selected for this command."51
Now, on 21 March, General MacArthur for the first time informed General Marshall about his own arrangements for four separate commands and his intention to control operations in the Philippines from his headquarters in Australia through a deputy chief of staff on Corregidor.52 This arrangement, he explained, was based upon "special problems" and "deemed most advantageous" because of "the intangibles of the situation in Philippines." As Sutherland later explained, it was never MacArthur's intention that Wainwright should command all the forces in the Philippines.53
General Marshall's comments on MacArthur's plan were made to the President on 22 March. The four separate commands, Marshall pointed out, would have to report to MacArthur in Melbourne, 4,000 miles away. In the Manila Bay area alone there would be two separate commanders, and it was Marshall's opinion that MacArthur would have to arbitrate matters between these two from Australia.54 Although the Chief of Staff did not know it, the disadvantages of the arrangements had already been noted by Wainwright, who, on the 15th, had gone to Corregidor to try to get more supplies for his Luzon Force. In this effort he had been unsuccessful. "I had no control over it [supplies]," he noted, "which irked me a bit. MacArthur had left the matter of Bataan supplies in the hands of ... Beebe, over on Corregidor."55
General Marshall found MacArthur's arrangements for command in the Philippines unsatisfactory and told the President so. He was "fearful," he said, that they would have "a very depressing effect" on General Wainwright, "on whom we must now depend for the successful continuance of the fight on Bataan."56 These arrangements, Marshall observed, were also contrary to the principle
of combined command. As a supreme commander of Allied forces in Australia, MacArthur was no longer eligible to command directly U.S. forces any more than he could command those of other nations. Such command would properly be exercised through a U.S. Army headquarters.57 Marshall therefore recommended to the President that MacArthur be informed that his plan was unsatisfactory and that Wainwright should continue in command of the Philippines. The President agreed and that day, 22 March, a conciliatory message went out to Melbourne. Refraining from specific criticism of the earlier arrangements, the message nevertheless made it clear that unless there were strenuous objections Wainwright would remain in command.58
MacArthur expressed no objections. He replied that he understood thoroughly the difficulties of the Chief of Staff and would accommodate himself to the arrangements already made. "Heartily in accord with Wainwright's promotion to lieutenant general," he said. "His assignment to Philippine command is appropriate."59 Thus ended the uncertainty and confusion. General Wainwright was now confirmed as the commander of all forces in the Philippine Islands, with the large authority and heavy responsibilities formerly possessed by General MacArthur. He remained in a subordinate position to MacArthur, however, whose new command, officially sanctioned on 18 April, included the Philippine Islands as well as Australia, New Guinea, and most of the Solomon Islands and the Netherlands Indies.60
Wainwright's elevation to the highest command in the Philippines left vacant the post of commander of the Luzon Force, created only ten days earlier. To fill this vacancy Wainwright selected Maj. Gen. Edward P. King, Jr.61 He could instead have left the post vacant and dissolved Luzon Force altogether. Such a step could easily have been justified after the creation of USFIP. No such organization had existed on Bataan during MacArthur's regime and no headquarters had ever been interposed between the high command on Corregidor and the combat forces on Bataan. Instead, MacArthur had established an echelon of USAFFE on Bataan and through the officers assigned had exercised close supervision over combat elements.
Wainwright's decision to retain Luzon Force created what was in effect an Army headquarters controlling the two corps on the peninsula. This decision, MacArthur's chief of staff thought, was a serious mistake because it removed Wainwright from direct contact with the forces in front of the enemy. "Actually, there was no necessity for King's headquarters," Sutherland declared. "That headquarters had been established by MacArthur to compensate for the absence of a commander on Corregidor and to leave Wainwright free to conduct operations on Bataan. When the War Department created a command on Corregidor,
that headquarters [Luzon Force] should have been dissolved."62
The man chosen to lead Luzon Force, General King, was an artilleryman of wide experience with a distinguished career in the Army. After receiving a law degree from the University of Georgia he had entered the service through the National Guard in 1908. In addition to tours of duty with troops, he had been assigned to the Artillery School as student and instructor, served in the Office of the Chief of Field Artillery at three separate times, attended the Command and General Staff School, where he later taught, and the Army War College. After attendance at the Naval War College he was appointed director of the War Plans Section of the Army War College, a post he held for three years. On 14 September 1940 he was ordered to the Philippine Islands, where he had served from 1915 to 1917, to command Fort Stotsenburg. Appointed brigadier general on his arrival, he later supervised the artillery training of the Philippine Army, commanded the North Luzon Force for a short time before the war, and served as MacArthur's artillery officer with the rank of major general. When Luzon Force was first created he had been assigned artillery officer of that command.
Soft-spoken, modest, innately courteous to all ranks, King had achieved a reputation as an extremely able soldier of high intellectual caliber. His assignment to command the Luzon Force, while a recognition of his ability and reputation, was destined to end tragically. On him fell the terrible responsibility for making the hard decision less than three weeks later to surrender his starved and defeated troops to the enemy.63
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