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Draft Memorandum for Admiral King
February 16, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Proposed visit of Secretary of Navy and Admiral Nimitz to Brisbane, Australia.
On February 15th I communicated with General MacArthur the substance of Navy message 130445 dated January 13, 1943, from CINCPAC to COMSOWESPACFOR, which stated that the Secretary of the Navy and party, including Admirals Nimitz and McCain, would depart from Hawaii for Brisbane on January 14th with certain stops en route and spend two nights at Brisbane. I told him of the report that I had received here that there had been no acknowledgment from him and further, that he had stated that “he saw no useful purpose in such a conference.”
Today I received a message from MacArthur to the effect that he had never received a dispatch from the Secretary of the Navy, from Admiral Nimitz or from the War Department with reference to such a trip to Australia; that the Australian Government knew nothing of the trip; that his only knowledge of it was by hearsay from indirect sources. He stated that he would have been delighted to have the party come to his area and would have given it only the warmest possible welcome and believed that much benefit would have resulted from such a visit.
The message above referred to from CINCPAC was addressed to General MacArthur’s Naval subordinate and did not contain the usual expression “Pass to MacArthur”. Possibly the absence of this last expression explains the reason why General MacArthur was not informed, but even so it appears rather unusual that he would not have been notified by Admiral Carpender.1 Furthermore, it seems to me that Admiral Nimitz should have communicated with the theater commander, General MacArthur, rather than with Admiral Carpender. In any event I think it is most unfortunate that this incident should have occurred, which does not help Army-Navy relationships or coordination of command in the South and Southwest Pacific.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Vice Admiral Arthur S. Carpender had been commander of MacArthur’s naval forces since September 1942.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), p. 552.