As MacArthur's chief of staff, Sutherland anticipated, understood, and executed exactly what his chief wanted. MacArthur decided policy, and Sutherland supplied the details. Sutherland confronted MacArthur's verbal eloquence with sharp, unemotional logic. Promoted to major general in December 1941, Sutherland supervised the 1941–1942 Philippines Campaign, planned President Manuel Quezon's evacuation, and convinced MacArthur to comply with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's orders sending him to Australia. Once they were in Australia, MacArthur sent Sutherland to New Guinea with the authority, if necessary, to relieve Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger. Had Sutherland done so, he would have assumed command of I Corps, a step toward command of an army. Sutherland placed the good of the service above his own ambitions, and Eichelberger remained in command.
Beginning in January 1943, MacArthur employed Sutherland in a strategic planning and liaison role with Washington. That March, Sutherland represented MacArthur at a conference in Washington regarding 1943–1944 Pacific Theater operations. By October 1943, Sutherland was the de facto deputy commander to MacArthur, and he won promotion to lieutenant general in February 1944. Intelligent and yet imperious, Sutherland worked very poorly with the navy staff and, indeed, with the army staff in Washington.
Sutherland incurred MacArthur's displeasure when he ignored his chief's orders not to bring his Australian officer-mistress to the Philippines in 1944. Sutherland had hoped for army command, but MacArthur now snubbed him. By February 1945, a depressed Sutherland was performing his duties by rote. He took leave in the United States in the summer but returned to the Pacific on the Japanese surrender to restore order to MacArthur's headquarters.
Sutherland remained in Japan for three months and then returned to the United States and retired in November 1946 as a lieutenant general. Sutherland died at Washington, D.C., on 25 June 1966.
John W. Whitman
James, D. Clayton. The Years of MacArthur. 3 vols. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1970–1985.; Mellnik, Steve. Philippine War Diary, 1939–1945. Rev. ed. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1981.; Rogers, Paul P. The Good Years: MacArthur and Sutherland. New York: Praeger, 1990.; Rogers, Paul P. The Bitter Years: MacArthur and Sutherland. New York: Praeger, 1991.