[ Brigadier General Charles Willoughby ]

Brigadier General Charles Willoughby, McClelland Barclay, U.S. Navy, Chief of G-2, Military Intelligence, in the U.S. occupation force in Japan after WW2

Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby is General MacArthur’s chief intelligence officer. Criticism is being heaped upon General Willoughby because his intelligence service failed to foresee the Chinese Communist attack that stopped the “win the war” offensive. One result was that United Nations forces were routed. Another is the growth of much public curiosity concerning General Willoughby, his background and career. In total it is an unusual story.

General Willoughby is a professional fighting man of 58 who was born at Heidelberg, Germany, the son of a Prussian baron, T. von Tscheppe-Weidenbach, and an American mother, Emma Willoughby. The future general migrated to the U.S. in his teens, assumed his mother’s family name and in 1910 became a naturalized American citizen.

The Army attracted him. Young Willoughby enlisted, rose to the grade of sergeant but resigned to obtain more schooling. He was graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania in 1914 and did graduate work at the University of Kansas, then returned to the Army in 1915 as a second lieutenant.

Service on the Mexican border followed and then in France. Between wars, he had the usual variety of assignments in the Army and also went through its more important schools—the Infantry School, the Command and Staff School and the War College. But his career was really only beginning when, in 1941, he was assigned to the Philippines with General MacArthur. He has been with MacArthur as intelligence officer ever since.

They fought the battles of Bataan and Corregidor together. Together, on orders from Washington, they fled to Australia. And, together, they fought their way from island to island until Japan was beaten. On Aug. 15, 1945, General Willoughby represented General MacArthur in receiving the Japanese delegation for surrender negotiations.

In Japan. When General MacArthur became top officer of the Japanese occupation, General Willoughby settled down with him, still as chief intelligence officer. Along with the job of watching military developments throughout the Far Eastern Command, General Willoughby was given the task of policing Japan.

He and his agents kept watch for the development of anti-American sentiment, for the organization of militarist, fascist or Communist groups. Mail was opened and read. Numerous reports were made to General MacArthur on the state of Japanese public opinion.

General Willoughby is a burly 6-foot-2. He tends, like General MacArthur, to be aloof, remote. […]

With the rest of the group in Tokyo headquarters, Willoughby idolizes the Supreme Commander. When visiting dignitaries arrive from Washington, General Willoughby has been known to expound to them the MacArthur thesis on the importance of the Orient as a defense area for the U. S.

Before the North Koreans attacked last June, he, with many other military men, had dismissed that peninsula as less important than other areas. That attack also was a surprise, but General Willoughby asserts that his intelligence system gave Washington advance warning of the impending invasion. Some, however, dispute the adequacy of his information.

After the recent setback near the Yalu River, General Willoughby called a press conference, which is a rarity with him. It had been known, he said, that Chinese Communist armies had been moving into Manchuria, but this was not regarded as an indication of aggression. After the “win the war” assault was begun and prisoners, maps and orders fell into Allied hands, the pattern of Chinese intervention was realized. But he thought the U. N. assault worth while because it had blunted the Chinese attack and made Chinese intentions clear.

The argument over the point, and over General Willoughby, however, apparently has only just begun.

Source: No author, "Willoughby's Troubles," U.S. News & World Report, December 15, 1950

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