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Memorandum for Admiral Leahy
July 9, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
Attached is a summary of General Giraud’s requests as they came to Somervell last night.1 In brief our situation in regard to these requests is this:
We can obtain almost all of the equipment, assuming the British will turn back to us .30 caliber rifles in the hands of civilians there, I believe, which we gave them to arm the populace; the cargo vessels can be made available but instead of going in a separate convoy, for reasons of escort economy should be distributed through several convoys; the port situation is the limiting factor and one regarding which we must not allow Giraud to go over Eisenhower’s head because we are incapable of judging that on this side of the Atlantic. Therefore I regard it as highly important that we either have Giraud take this up personally with Eisenhower in Africa, which is the preferable course or we take it up by radio. Quite evidently a reply cannot be obtained at this particular moment as Eisenhower is in Malta and Smith is at Tunis and everybody is heavily engaged.2
Please read again Eisenhower’s radiogram on this subject.
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. Giraud had arrived in the United States on July 7. (Concerning Marshall’s role during the visit, see Marshall to Winn, July 13, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-047 [4: 57-58].) The next day the Combined Chiefs of Staff held a special meeting to hear Giraud’s views on equipping a second French corps (a second armored division, two more infantry divisions, plus support troops). Giraud wanted the materiel in North Africa by August 1. Marshall replied that the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff were “in full harmony” with Giraud’s wishes and that the War Department had already decided to delay the activation of certain U.S. divisions scheduled for the second half of 1943 in order to make the equipment available for the French, He warned the French leader, however, that North African port capacity, already strained by the Sicilian operation (HUSKY), would be a limiting factor. (Minutes of the Special Combined Chiefs of Staff Meeting, July 8, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, CCS 334, CCS Minutes].) Marshall’s warning was based upon a telegram from Eisenhower’s headquarters stating that November 1 was the earliest date that North African ports could handle increased shipments for French rearmament. (Eisenhower to Marshall, Radio No. W-4173, July 5, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. For further developments on Giraud’s request, see Marshall Memorandum for General Arnold, July 12, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-045 [4: 54-55].
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. 47-48.