3-103 Memorandum for Admiral Stark, Admiral King, February 13, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 13, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for Admiral Stark, Admiral King

February 13, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]


The Public Health Service completely evacuates their building across the street on Monday, and we will be free to go ahead with the set-up of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

I understand that both of you have arranged to have personal offices in the building, and I think it may be a convenience for all four of us to have such offices.

What I am especially interested in, however, is the development of this set-up as a genuine combined command post. I believe the stronger we make it the less difficulty we are going to have with outside influences. I have on my hands now the organization, developed by Mr. Welles at Rio, of a Military Council of all Latin-American countries. General Embick is to be the War Department representative of this and we are tying to locate it in the Pan-American Building.1 It seems to me very important to handle this so that it does not in any way infiltrate on the procedure of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. We are also involved in a Brazilian-United States Defense Commission, which Mr. Welles urges. This will line up alongside similar commissions which we now have with Canada and Mexico. Just how these commissions will impinge on the Combined Chiefs of Staff set-up I do not know. This, I suppose, will be a matter of evolution. There is also the problem of the Chinese, Dutch and British Colonials with which we have been struggling the past few weeks.

In view of the foregoing, I think it is very important that our combined British-United States set-up be formally established on a very broad basis. To this end I urge the immediate location of our Joint Intelligence Committee and the Joint Strategical Committee in the Public Health Service Building. I think it is important that they be removed from the turmoil of the War and Navy Departments, and equally important that they be brought into intimate physical contact with their opposites of the British service.2

If you are not now in agreement with my proposal in the last paragraph I suggest that we have a meeting to discuss this today or tomorrow.

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. Concerning the army’s opinion of the Inter-American Defense Board, see the notes Marshall prepared for the Standing Liaison Committee meeting of January 3, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-037 [3: 46-48].

2. The Joint Strategic Committee was a subordinate part of the Joint Board; it had been created in May 1941 to study and prepare joint war and operations plans. After Marshall told Secretary of War Stimson about the committee’s new location, the secretary commented in his diary that the chief of staff “hoped for great improvement from it and I think he is right. At all events it gets it out of the power of [Rear] Admiral [Richmond K.] Turner to block and influence with his narrow and obstructive views every decision that is taken by the two services.” (February 17, 1942, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 37: 135].) At this time the Joint Board’s various functions were rapidly being assumed by the new Joint Chiefs of Staff and its subcommittees, although the board continued to meet occasionally during the war. The Joint Strategic Committee’s work was soon taken over by the Joint Staff Planners Committee and by its subcommittee the Joint United States Strategic Committee. (See Cline, Washington Command Post, pp. 46, 103.)

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. 104-105.

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Holding ID: 3-103

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