President Ma Ying-jeou met on the afternoon of September 1 with descendants of heads of state and generals from WWII Allied forces, and ROC generals from the War of Resistance and their descendants. In addition to recalling the deeds of their forebearers, fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with ROC troops against Japanese aggression, the president thanked the US for providing numerous forms of assistance to the ROC during the war.
The president presented medals and certificates commemorating victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan to international friends who came to the ROC’s aid, and the ROC generals who made remarkable war contributions. Company Commander Meng Qing-lin (孟慶麟) of the Chinese Expeditionary Force was on hand to receive his medal in person, and the other medals were accepted by family members. Among those family members were David B. Roosevelt, the grandson of former US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Clifton Truman Daniel, the grandson of former US President Harry S. Truman; Mary Jean Eisenhower, the granddaughter of former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower; William Wedemeyer, the grandson of Chief of Staff of the Allied Forces in the China Theatre Albert Coady Wedemeyer; Charles H. Miles, the son of Vice Admiral Milton E. Miles, Chief of the Office of Strategic Services for the Far East and Shannon Schaupp, the daughter of Flying Tigers Brigadier General David "Tex" Hill. Retired British Army captain Gerald Fitzpatrick, who participated in the Battle of Yenangyaung in 1942, was also awarded the Medal of the Armed Forces, B-Second Class.
After the award ceremony, David B. Roosevelt presented President Ma with valuable reproductions of historical documents to commemorate this significant occasion. They included a copy of a confidential memo signed by President Roosevelt consenting to send 100 pilots to China to operate P-40 warplanes, photos taken at the Honolulu Conference convened by President Roosevelt, and a copy of the original Cairo Declaration.
In remarks, President Ma stated that this year is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the ROC's victory in the War of Resistance, and Taiwan's retrocession. He went on to say that as the visitors or their ancestors fought side by side with the ROC in this historical period marked by blood and tears, it was extremely significant to gather together that day.
The eight-year War of Resistance was “the most extensive, protracted, and far-reaching” war against foreign aggression in the Chinese history. ROC forces, with outdated weapons and equipment, engaged sophisticated, well-trained Japanese troops in a war that included 22 major battles, over 1,100 large-scale campaigns, and over 38,000 smaller engagements. About 3.22 million ROC troops, including 268 commanding officers, lost their lives, along with more than 20 million civilians.
During the War of Resistance and after the end of World War II, the US provided the ROC with numerous forms of assistance, showing its staunch friendship. In April of 1941 before the Pearl Harbor attack, President Roosevelt decided to consign 100 P-40 warplanes to help the ROC in the War of Resistance, and allowed US troops to join the American Volunteer Group (AVG) organized by General Claire Chennault, also known as the Flying Tigers.
President Ma then recalled President Roosevelt’s contributions to Taiwan’s retrocession after World War II, saying that Mr. Roosevelt told Madame Chiang Kai-shek (aka Chiang Soong May-ling, 蔣宋美齡) during her visit to the US in February of 1943 that Taiwan should be returned to the ROC. After the Cairo Conference held in November of that same year, the Cairo Declaration was issued, stipulating that, "All the territories Japan has stolen from China, such as Manchuria, Taiwan, and the Penghu islands shall be restored to the Republic of China." Unfortunately, President Roosevelt passed away during his term of office, but Vice President Truman succeeded to the presidency, and continued leading the Allied forces to victory in World War II. President Truman also took the initiative to convene a conference with other nations in San Francisco, resolving to establish the United Nations. In July of 1945, President Truman convened the Potsdam Conference, discussing the reconstruction of the post-war global order and emphasizing that "the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out." After the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, President Truman sent the U.S. Seventh Fleet to patrol the Taiwan Strait to defend Taiwan, thus preventing a widening of the Korean conflict and laying the foundation for post-war peace in the Asia-Pacific region.
President Ma also noted that US President Eisenhower played a crucial role in leading the Allied counterattack in the European theater of World War II, and made remarkable contributions to the ROC’s stability and prosperity. President Eisenhower signed the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty of 1954, and asked the US Congress to pass the Formosa Resolution in 1955, extending the US forces’ commitment to defending Taiwan and the Penghu Islands to include Kinmen and Matsu. During the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis President Eisenhower also dispatched US naval personnel to provide logistics and convoy services for ROC forces stationed on offshore islands. The US thus continued to help the ROC militarily while also providing economic assistance. During his eight-year term of office, economic aid reached about US$1billion, the equivalent of about US$8 billion today. That assistance enabled the ROC government to actively invest in development and lay a foundation for becoming one of the Four Little Tigers. President Eisenhower personally visited the ROC in June 1960, issued a joint communique with President Chiang Kai-shek, and delivered a public speech. His steadfast and friendly policy toward the ROC made indelible contributions to our current security, prosperity and development.
President Ma said that in recognition of the ROC’s contributions to peace in the East China Sea, he was awarded the Eisenhower Medallion by the US-based People to People International (PTPI) in September of 2014. At the award ceremony, he said he accepted the medallion not only because of the honor itself, but also in gratitude to President Eisenhower for his profound friendship and contributions to the ROC.
President Ma then said that during World War II while the ROC received assistance from many nations, it also actively contributed to the Allied victory. After the ROC formed an alliance with the UK and the US in the war against Japan, ROC expeditionary forces were sent to participate in the war abroad. The most prominent feat was in April of 1942 in Burma when Regiment Commander Liu Fang-wu (劉放吾) led the 113th Regiment of the New 38th Division to defeat a Japanese force several times its size, rescuing British troops, journalists and missionaries in a battle known domestically and internationally as the "Victory at Yenangyaung." That was the first time ROC forces won a victory outside its own borders. Former British Army captain Gerald Fitzpatrick participated in that battle and witnessed the sacrifices and contributions of the ROC expeditionary forces, and wrote about it in three books. Those works highlight the fact that although ROC forces were involved in a bloody and bitter struggle during that period, they still managed to defeat a formidable enemy.
In closing, President Ma expressed sincere thanks to the visitors and their forebearers for their contributions to the War of Resistance Against Japan. He also said he hopes that the attendees will carry the ROC’s profound thanks back to their home countries, and assured them that the ROC will always be grateful and remember their contributions.
David B. Roosevelt then made remarks on behalf of the visiting delegation, thanking the ROC for offering this opportunity to get together in recognition of their forbearers’ contributions in World War II, and that their selfless efforts and sacrifices allowed the Allied forces to win and bring an end to the war, thus creating a prosperous future for future generations. Mr. Roosevelt also said he sincerely hopes that we will continue to work together and devote our efforts to building a better world.