19. MacArthur pushed for an invasion of the Philippines in July 1944
By mid-1944 MacArthur’s campaign in the Southwest Pacific had established only one base within bomber range of the Southern Philippines. By contrast, the US Navy and Marines campaign in the Central Pacific had seized the Gilberts, Marshalls, and Marianas, and carrier raids on Japanese bases in the Philippines were underway. FDR met with Admiral Nimitz, who commanded the Central Pacific Campaign, and General MacArthur at Pearl Harbor in July. MacArthur at first demurred, explaining that operations demanded that he remain in the theater of operations.
When MacArthur learned of Nimitz’s proposal for an invasion of Formosa, he changed his mind and attended the conference. He argued against the invasion of Formosa and stressed to Roosevelt the moral obligation of the United States to liberate the Philippines. Roosevelt was persuaded. MacArthur planned to land first at the southernmost island of the archipelago – Mindanao. When Admiral William Halsey’s carrier planes raided Leyte in September they reported minimal resistance, and the first landings in the Philippines were moved to that island, and scheduled for October, 1944. MacArthur was offered two Australian divisions, but he refused them unless they served as part of a corps under American command.