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Memorandum for Admiral King
September 25, 1944 Washington, D.C.
Attached is the draft of a letter which I feel it advisable to send to Governor Dewey.1 It may be that you do not care to be involved in the matter and, if so, I can strike out the reference to you. In any event, I would like your opinion.
A recent speech in Congress had deadly implications and I now understand much more is to be said, possibly by Governor Dewey himself.2 This letter of course puts him on the spot, and I hate to do it but see no other way of avoiding what might well be a catastrophe to us.
Just what he can do in the matter without giving reasons I do not know, but at least he will understand what a deadly affair it really is. I had in the back of my mind the possibility, without telling him, that if he responds favorably I would secretly, here in my office, tell Republican Floor Leader Martin the dangers of the business so that he, on the Washington side of the fence, would understand something of Governor Dewey’s attitude, without being informed that Governor Dewey had the same facts in his possession that I was giving Martin.3
The whole thing is loaded with dynamite but I very much feel that something has to be done or the fat will be in the fire to our great loss in the Pacific, and possibly also in Europe.4
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. The draft of the letter to Thomas E. Dewey concerning the breaking of Japanese codes was dated September 21. Dewey, who had first gained national attention in the mid-I930s for his successful prosecution of criminals in New York, had been elected governor of that state in 1942. In the summer of 1944, he became the nominee of the Republican party for the office of president.
2. Marshall later wrote that it had been reported to him “that it was the purpose of the Republican party, in the campaign that was then in progress, to launch a detailed attack on the Administration in connection with the Pearl Harbor incident.” Such a debate, he believed, would inevitably have disclosed that the U.S. military had succeeded in breaking certain high-level Japanese and German codes. (Marshall Memorandum for the President, September 22, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
3. Joseph W. Martin, Jr., of Massachusetts.
4. Admiral King indicated five minor changes and returned the memorandum with his concurrence. See the following document (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-526 [4: 605]).
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), p. 604.