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Memorandum for Admiral Leahy
April 19, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
The following message arrived yesterday from General Smith, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, addressed to General Handy of the Operations Division in the War Department:1
“From 8th Army (Montgomery): `Work of myself and my staff is being seriously inconvenienced by flood of visitors who come to my Headquarters and to my Army Corps and divisional generals are complaining bitterly. Very grateful if you will stop all visitors so that we can get on with the fighting. Have myself refused to see any visitors.’
“From the Commander of the French and American Army Corps (18th Army Group): `Please take every possible step within your power to head off visitors not only to 8th Army but to all other operational headquarters.’”
General Smith further states:
“We are in a very embarrassing position in connection with the above as nine-tenths of all official visitors are American. I am sending this to you personally in the hope that you can do something to help us out.”
We have a Mexican group just about to depart. A Chinese group is being turned over to General Eisenhower from Cairo. The Minister of War and General Monteiro are being invited from Brazil for diplomatic reasons, and so forth.2
I am sending this note to you to solicit your help whenever opportunity presents.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. Major Generals Walter B. Smith and Thomas T. Handy.
2. General Eisenhower wrote to General Marshall on April 19, echoing Smith’s complaint, informing the chief of staff that British commanders were distressed by the number of visitors arriving at operational headquarters. Eisenhower stated that visiting delegations were a “burdensome problem” and personally “embarrassing” as the forward areas were controlled by the Eighteenth Army Group headquarters. He asked Marshall if something might not be done about this problem at the chief of staff’s office. (Papers of DDE. 2: 1095-96.)
3. Marshall sent copies of this memorandum to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Director of the Office of War Information Elmer Davis, and Director of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations for the Department of State Herbert H. Lehman.
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), pp. 652-653.