• Share
  • Read Later

Highlights of MacArthur's statement on Formosa:

IN view of misconceptions currently being voiced concerning the relationship of Formosa to our strategic potential in the Pacific, I believe it in the public interest to avail myself of this opportunity to state my views thereon ... Prior [to the past war] the Western strategic frontier of the U.S. lay on the littoral line of the Americas, with an exposed island salient extending out through Hawaii, Midway and Guam to the Philippines. That salient was not an outpost of strength, but an avenue of weakness along which the enemy could and did attack us ..."

A Protective Shield. "All of this was changed by our Pacific victory. Our strategic frontier then shifted to embrace the entire Pacific Ocean, which has become a vast moat to protect us as long as we hold it. We control it to the shores of Asia by a chain of islands, extending in an arc from the Aleutians to the Marianas, held by us and our free allies. From this island chain we can dominate with air power every Asiatic port from Vladivostok to Singapore, and prevent any hostile movement into the Pacific . . .

"Under such conditions the Pacific assumes . . . the friendly aspect of a peaceful lake. Our line of defense is a natural one, and can be maintained with a minimum of military effort and expense. It envisions no attack against any one . . . but properly maintained would be an invincible defense against aggression. If we hold this line we may have peace—lose it, and war is inevitable."

A Critical Salient. "The geographic location of Formosa is such that, in the hands of a power unfriendly to the U.S., it constitutes an enemy salient in the very center of this defensive perimeter, 100 to 150 miles closer to the adjacent friendly segments—Okinawa and the Philippines—than any point in continental Asia. An enemy force utilizing installations currently available could increase by 100% the air effort which could be directed against Okinawa, as compared to operations based on the mainland, and at the same time could direct damaging air attacks with fighter-type aircraft against friendly installations in the Philippines . . .

". . . Utilization of Formosa by a military power hostile to the U.S. may either counterbalance or overshadow the strategic importance of the central and southern flank of the U.S. frontline positions. Formosa in the hands of such a hostile power could be com pared to an unsinkable aircraft carrier and submarine tender, ideally located to accomplish offensive strategy, and at the same time checkmate defensive or counteroffensive operations by friendly forces based on Okinawa and the Philippines . . .

"Historically, Formosa has been used as a springboard for just such military aggression directed against areas to the south. At the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941, it played an important part as a staging area and supporting base for the various Japanese invasion convoys. The supporting air forces of Japan's army and navy were based on fields situated along southern Formosa . . .

"Should Formosa fall into the hands of a hostile power, [it] would again be fully exploited as the means to breach and neutralize our Western Pacific defense system, and mount a war of conquest against the free nations of the Pacific basin."

  1. Previous Page
  2. 1
  3. 2