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3-048 Memorandum for Assistant Chief of Staff, War Plans Division [Gerow], G-3 [Twaddle], and G-4 [Somervell]
Memorandum for Assistant Chief of Staff, War Plans Division [Gerow], G-3 [Twaddle], and G-4 [Somervell]
January 13, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
At a meeting at the White House late yesterday afternoon in which the Prime Minister, the British Chiefs of Staff and Lord Beaverbrook participated, and at which U. S. Chiefs of Staff and Mr. Harry Hopkins also were present, the President and the Prime Minister approved the attached proposal for the reduction of the troops scheduled for Iceland and Ireland on January 15th and for the rearrangement of shipping to permit the sailing of a convoy from New York on January 20th of some 21,000 troops for the Far East.1
Regarding the collection of the necessary shipping to provide 228,000 ship cargo tons for this expedition and for the pursuit, medium and light bombardment planes set up for the expedition, it was decided that this should be done, but that other shipping would have to be found to permit the continued flow of materiel to Russia and pursuit, “Baltimore” planes2 and tanks to Cairo.
I explained at this meeting that Admiral Land and his principal assistants had informed me that to collect the necessary cargo ships—some 20-odd—would force the reduction of shipments to Russia by something like 30%, though he stated that it was impossible to rate the reduction on a percentage basis without elaborate calculation as to involved turn-arounds, delays in unloading at Murmansk and Archangel, etc. Mr. Hopkins stated that he felt that the reservoir of shipping had not been exhausted and that the necessary vessels could be secured. Lord Beaverbrook presented difficulties in connection with maintaining vital shipments to England, which at the present time were delayed.
The President and the Prime Minister felt that it was highly important that there be no indication of reductions in the shipments to Russia.
Regarding the use of the “Queen Mary” and our suggested employment of the three U. S. Naval transports now in the Far East, the British requested an opportunity to confer with the Home Government. However, this phase of the matter would have no effect on the organization of the U. S. convoy for the Far East. It might involve a delay in the movement of U. S. troops to Ireland.
General Somervell was personally directed by me last night immediately to start on the rearrangement of shipping at the Port of Embarkation in New York.
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. This document, the minutes of the meeting to which it refers, and the attached proposal mentioned are printed in Foreign Relations, Conferences at Washington and Casablanca, pp. 194-95, 185-91, 229-30. On January 1 the president and the prime minister had approved the dispatch, on or about January 15, of 14,000 men to Northern Ireland and 6,000 to Iceland. The new arrangements were for 4,100 men for Northern Ireland and 2,500 for Iceland, with more to follow as shipping allowed. (Ibid., pp. 251, 229.) These troop movements were known by their code names: MAGNET (Northern Ireland) and INDIGO (Iceland).
2. This was a twin-engine light bomber developed for the Royal Air Force by the Glenn L. Martin Company of Baltimore, Maryland.
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. 59-60.