5-278 From the British Chiefs of Staff, November 26, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 26, 1945

Subject: Postwar

From the British Chiefs of Staff1

November 26, 1945 London, England

On your retirement after six years as Chief of Staff of the United States Army we, your British colleagues in the Combined Chiefs of Staff, send you this message of farewell.

We regret that Field Marshal Sir John Dill and Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley Pound, two of your greatest friends and admirers, are not alive today to add their names to ours.2

As architect and builder of the finest and most powerful Army in American history, your name will be honoured among those of the greatest soldiers of your own or any other country.

Throughout your association with us in the higher direction of the armed forces of America and Britain, your unfailing wisdom, high principles and breadth of view have commanded the deepest respect and admiration of us all. Always you have honoured us by your frankness, charmed us by your courtesy and inspired us by your singleness of purpose and your selfless devotion to our common cause.

Above all would we record our thankfulness to you for the leading part which you have always taken in forging and strengthening the bond of mutual trust and co-operation between the armed forces of our two countries which has contributed so much to final victory and will, we believe, endure to the benefit of civilization in the years to come.

In bidding farewell to you who have earned our personal affection no less than our professional respect, we would address to you a tribute written more than 200 years ago:-

“…….. Friend to truth! of soul sincere,

In action faithful, and in honour clear;

Who broke no promise, served no private end,

Who gained no title, and who lost no friend.”3

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. Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson delivered this message on November 26. It was signed by Alanbrooke of Brookeborough, Portal of Hungerford, and Cunningham of Hyndhope.

2. Dill had died on November 4, 1944, and Pound on October 21, 1943.

3. Marshall’s friend John McAuley Palmer had ascertained that the omitted words in the first line were “Statesman, yet,” that the lines were from a 1720 poetic epistle from Alexander Pope to Joseph Addison (d. 1719), and that they referred to Addison’s friend, James Craggs, Britain’s secretary of state. Palmer thought that the British Chiefs of Staff erred in omitting the words. (Palmer to Marshall, December 7, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 363-364.

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