He reminisces with an American counterpart about the international conferences they had attended during the war, which included Casablanca, Cairo and Tehran.
Early in World War II, Mountbatten was Chief of Combined Operations, in which position he was in charge of planning raids against Nazi forces in Europe. In October 1943, Churchill appointed him Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command, a post he held until war’s end. He oversaw the recapture...
Early in World War II, Mountbatten was Chief of Combined Operations, in which position he was in charge of planning raids against Nazi forces in Europe. In October 1943, Churchill appointed him Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command, a post he held until war’s end. He oversaw the recapture of Burma and Singapore from the Japanese, and masterfully handled relations with his American and Chinese counterparts in Pacific command. After the war, he served brilliantly as the last Viceroy of India, in which post he pushed through the partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan in August 1947. At that point he became the Governor-General of the independent Union of India, and in 1948 was managing the considerable violence and massive population displacement that resulted from the partition. He was also very involved in the defense of Malaysia, and with Britain’s nuclear policy and construction of its first nuclear submarine.
U.S. Navy Admiral Charles M. Cooke was the principal planning officer for Admiral Ernest J. King, who was both Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations in the Pacific. Cooke played such a planning vital role in the U.S. Navy that he accompanied President Roosevelt to every major international conference during World War II, including those at Casablanca, Cairo and Tehran. There he met and worked with Churchill, Mountbatten (who was also involved in planning), and other British leaders. He met with Mountbatten again after Bhamo, Burma fell to the Allies in December 1944; they expected to cooperate again in assaulting Malaya in 1945, but the atomic bomb ended the war and made that unnecessary. Cooke finished the war as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. After the war he was commander of U.S. Naval Forces in the Western Pacific. He retired in May 1948, and just beforehand he wrote to Mountbatten to inform him that he was leaving the service.
Typed Letter Signed on Government House, New Delhi letterhead, New Delhi, April 9, 1948, to Admiral Cooke, whom he addresses familiarly as “My dear Savvy.” “I was delighted to receive your letter of 16 February, though sad to read the news which it contains. You were always so full of vigor at all the meetings that the idea of your being 15 years older than me never entered my mind, and it was quite a shock to hear that you had reached 62 years. I shall always remember with gratitude the friendly advice you gave me over the question of amphibious resources. I remember our last meeting at Bhamo very vividly, and only regret that the atom bomb robbed me of the chance of taking your advice about amphibious assaults on Malaya.” He signs “Dickie Mountbatten.”
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