Why would it have to be an American Army general? Why not Australian or British? Particularly if the JCS was determined to stick to the tenets of the old WP Orange, which would have relegated the SWPA an inactive theater after the Japanese offensive there had been contained in 1942? The US suggested a British commander for the CBI theater, the same or an Australian officer, would have been reasonable for the SWPA. When Mac arrived in Australia in March, 1942, he expected to take command of a combat-ready American Army. But, in fact, there were just a handful of American troops in Australia. There were a number of American Generals who could have been named to command such a small force including Wedemeyer, or Eisenhower (who had been Chief of Staff to MacArthur in the PI), or even an Air Force General, since the SWPA could be expected to become an air theater. Or Roosevelt and the JCS could have reached down the chain of command and picked a promising junior staff officer to command what was essentially an administrative command. MacArthur only got the bid because he was there, and Roosevelt wanted to keep him there, and out of the US where he feared Mac and his Republican political supporters might create a political problem in the next election. Mac, of course, set about creating a situation where the SWPA became a major focus of the Pacific War in the first year. He was helped immensely by Republican papers in the US which demanded an immediate offensive against the Japanese. Public opinion, inflamed by the Pearl Harbor attack supported this. The decision to keep Mac in command in Australia had more to do with domestic politics than the JCS confidence in Mac.