Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, 92, who formulated the grand strategy adopted by the Allies to win World War II and later served as the American commander in China, died Dec. 17 at the Fairfax Retirement Center at Fort Belvoir. He had Alzheimer's disease. Gen. Wedemeyer's career took him into the highest and most rarefied circles of inter-Allied planning in the European and Pacific theaters. Although only a temporary lieutenant colonel when the United States entered the war with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, he had special qualifications for war on a global scale, and his superiors put them to full use. Apart from his intelligence, tact and charm -- qualities for which he was well known -- there was the fact that in the early 1930s he had served in China. Thus he had some firsthand experience with the people and conditions of that vast country before the war. Moreover, the China assignment -- one of the most coveted in the Army -- brought him to the attention of such men as Gen. George C. Marshall, the wartime Army chief of staff and himself a veteran of China service, and Army Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stillwell, the irascible and colorful old China hand who became the U.S. commander in the China-Burma-India theater. Even more important, perhaps, was the fact that in the late 1930s, Gen. Wedemeyer became the first American officer to go through the Kriegsakademie, the German general staff college. In effect, he had the unique experience of being trained by German military theorists to fight a war in which Germany was the principal enemy. Gen. Wedemeyer's first major assignment came in July 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked the War Department for a blueprint of how to win the war that seemed certain the United States would soon have to fight. The largest problem was deciding what should be done first and what could wait. Marshall gave the task to Gen. Wedemeyer, who was then a staff officer in the War Plans Division. The result became famous as the "Victory Program." Gen. Wedemeyer stated the heart of it in these words: "We must prepare to fight Germany by actually coming to grips with and defeating her ground forces and definitely breaking her will to combat . . . . Air and sea forces will make important contributions, but effective and adequate ground forces must be available to close with and destroy the enemy inside his citadel." If the first rule of strategy is choice, then it followed that the first priority would be the defeat of Germany. The war against Japan would play a distinctly secondary role. To do this, Gen. Wedemeyer said the United States must outbuild Germany in tanks, planes, ships and the other requirements of war. It would still be possible, he said, to raise an Army of 8.8 million men organized to conduct war in the fashion of the German blitzkrieg -- armor and air power to take objectives, infantry to hold the ground. This great force would be landed in Europe as close to the German heartland as possible, and there the decisive battles would be fought. The plan was presented to Roosevelt on Sept. 21, 1941. In his book "Six Armies in Normandy," the noted military historian John Keegan said of the "Victory Program": "Its conception and delivery was to be one of the decisive acts of the Second World War." Nowadays, the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 is such a familiar event that it seems to have been inevitable. But this was not so clear early in the war. In fact, a substantial body of allied opinion, particularly in Britain, wanted to find a way of defeating Germany without running the risk of another bloodbath on the scale of World War I. In this view an invasion of "Fortress Europe" was to be avoided if at all possible. Gen. Wedemeyer's work was used to help answer this question. It became the basis of the Marshall Memorandum, a refinement of the "Victory Program" by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the head of the War Plans Division at that time and the future allied commander in Europe. At the direction of Roosevelt, Marshall led a delegation that included Gen. Wedemeyer to London in April 1942, to present this refined plan to Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the British military leaders. After a week of intensive discussion, it was accepted, and the invasion of Northern Europe became the paramount goal of the Allied war effort. Gen. Wedemeyer remained in the War Department until October 1943, when he was made deputy chief of staff to Britain's Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten, the commander in chief of the Southeast Asia Command. This brought him into contact with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Chinese Nationalists, and Stillwell, the American commander who regarded Chiang as wholly corrupt and ineffective. In October 1944, Stillwell was recalled because of his dispute with Chiang. The China-Burma-India theater was broken into two parts, with China being reorganized as a separate theater. Gen. Wedemeyer was placed in command of it, becoming at the age of 47 the youngest theater commander of the war. He also became chief of staff to Chiang's forces. Through his patience and tact, he established a working relationship with the proud and difficult Chinese leader. Although he could not correct the underlying weaknesses of the Nationalist position, he was able to improve the training and operational performance of Chinese troops in the waning months of the war against the Japanese. With the surrender of Japan, there was still the problem of the Chinese communists. American policy was to support the Nationalists and negotiate a settlement between them and the communists under Mao Zedong. In the end, the issue was settled by civil war in which the communists triumphed and the Nationalists were driven to refuge in Taiwan. Gen. Wedemeyer remained in his post in China until the middle of 1946. Thus, he took part in the early stages of this drama. When he returned to this country, Gen. Wedemeyer was given command of the Second Army with headquarters in Baltimore. But he soon returned to the Far East on a fact-finding mission for President Harry S. Truman. He visited Korea and China. In later testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he said that "it doesn't matter an awful lot whether Chiang is a benevolent despot -- which he is -- or a democrat . . . . He is the logical leader of China today. He needs our help and he should get it." The general's subsequent career took him to the Pentagon and then San Francisco, where he commanded the Sixth Army. He retired in 1951 and was promoted to full general on the retired list in 1954. Albert Coady Wedemeyer was born on July 9, 1897, in Omaha. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1918 and was commissioned in the infantry. In addition to serving at various posts in this country and in China, he was assigned to the Philippines in the 1920s and again in the 1930s. He graduated from the Command and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. He was a student at the Kriegsakademie in Berlin from 1936 to 1938. Gen. Wedemeyer's military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation accompanying the Distinguished Service Medal he received for his work in the War Plans Division reads in part: "He contributed in large measure to the adoption by the U.S. and by the United Nations of sound strategical plans which have formed the basis for the successful prosecution of the war on all fronts." In retirement, Gen. Wedemyer was a director of several corporations, and he also published a book of memoirs, "Wedemeyer Reports." In 1960, he settled on a farm in Boyds, Md. He moved to the Fairfax Retirement Home this year. Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth D. Wedemeyer, daughter of an Army family, whom he married in 1925 on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay, of the Fairfax Retirement Home; two sons, Albert D. Wedemeyer of Boyds, and Robert D. Wedemeyer of Arivaca, Ariz.; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. SYLVIA SIMMONS HOUCK Lawyers' Spouses Group Leader Sylvia Simmons Houck, 62, president-elect of the Lawyers' Spouses of Maryland and a past president of the Lawyers' Wives of the Prince George's County Bar Association, died of cancer Dec. 17 at her home in Davidsonville, Md. Mrs. Houck, who had lived in Davidsonville since 1966, was a native of Washington. She was reared in Bethesda and graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. She attended the University of Maryland. She was a member of Historic Annapolis. Her hobbies included tennis, golf and gardening. Survivors include her husband, Fletcher LeRoy Houck Jr. of Davidsonville; two daughters, Fran Houck of Bowie and Jeanne Houck of New York City; two sons, John Houck of Clinton and Rob Roy Houck of Riva, Md.; her parents, Ralph and Bernice Simmons of Edenton, N.C.; a sister, Frances Bowman of Westport, Conn.; and two grandchildren.