4-338 Memorandum for Admiral King, April 10, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: April 10, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for Admiral King

April 10, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]

Top Secret

Your memorandum dated 1 April 1944 raises the subject of staff organization in various theaters.1 I agree that our staff organization could be improved in the Mediterranean and European Theaters, and that naval interests may not be, probably are not, adequately provided for in the Southwest Pacific Theater.

I agree that improvement in the Mediterranean staff organization is hardly practicable at this late date. As to OVERLORD, I am informally advised that the U. S. Naval representation on the OVERLORD staff is not adequate. The best initial step in this matter would be for me to communicate personally with General Eisenhower. Please let me have your comments on the U. S. Naval representation on his staff for use in preparing a message. With reference to the Pacific, in my memorandum dated 13 July 1943, it was recommended that Admiral Nimitz be replaced as commander of the Pacific Fleet and be established as theater commander in accordance with the provisions of J.C.S. 263/2/D.2 I am still convinced that this is desirable since it would improve the relationship between separate Army and Navy staffs as well as joint staffs in the Pacific Ocean Area.

As for the Southwest Pacific Theater, it would be desirable for General MacArthur to have as balanced a joint staff as practicable. The problem of an integrated staff in this theater, as a practical proposition, differs materially from the problem in the Pacific Ocean Areas in that U. S., Australian, and Dutch forces are now involved and British forces may be engaged later, and coupled with the pressure of Australian interests and heavy involvement in the actual fighting goes, I am informed, a serious limitation on availability of competently trained general staff officers, with the added complication of high rank. At the present time there are twelve U. S. Naval and two Marine officers on duty with GHQ, SW Pacific Area with two more being selected to go from the next ANSCOL [Army and Navy Staff College] class. General MacArthur has stated that an increase in U. S. Naval representation would be welcome and would be used to good advantage. In this regard, I believe an acceptable solution would be worked out if we turn over this matter to our operations people for study and report.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. After providing a history of the discussions regarding joint or combined staffs for the various theaters, Admiral King concluded: “I feel that I must again raise the question as to a complete joint or combined staff organization (as insisted upon by you for the Pacific Ocean Areas—and thoroughly agreed to by me), for the SOUTHWEST PACIFIC Area, and for the OVERLORD command. The same consideration should apply, of course, to the MEDITERRANEAN command, but I am doubtful that any effort toward improving staff conditions in that Area offers much promise of success.” (King Memorandum for General Marshall, April 1, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 210.31].)

2. Operations Division had prepared the July 13, 1943, Memorandum to King (NA/RG 165 [OPD, 370.5, Case 240].) Admiral King replied that he was “exploring the practical aspects of making changes in the PACIF1C.” (King Memorandum for General Marshall, July 19, 1943, ibid.) For further discussion of this issue, see Louis Morton, Strategy and Command: The First Two Years, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1962], pp. 476-79.)

3. Admiral King replied that the present command setup in the Pacific was “producing excellent results and is making the best use of the command and staff talent available, Army and Navy. I prefer not to disturb this fine working arrangement.” King felt that naval participation on General Eisenhower’s staff should be similar to the joint staff established for the Pacific. “With the increase in U.S. Naval participation in OVERLORD, in which approximately one-half of the amphibious operations are being carried out under U.S. Naval officers, the urgency has increased,” wrote King. “Specifically, U.S. Naval representation on the Supreme Commander’s Staff should be such as to give effective participation in staff work concerned with planning, operations, intelligence, and logistics.” (King Memorandum for General Marshall, April 14, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 322.01].)

On April 20 General Marshall sent King’s recommendation to Eisenhower. The chief of staff informed Eisenhower that Nimitz’s joint staff had army officers in the plans, intelligence, operations, and logistics sections, and the chiefs of plans and operations were naval officers while the chiefs of intelligence and logistics were army officers. (Marshall to Eisenhower, Radio No. WARX-25590, April 20, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-25590)].) For further discussion, see Marshall Memorandum for Admiral King, April 27, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-374 [4: 438].

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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 393-394.

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