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Memorandum for General Arnold
July 16, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
With reference to the proposition that some of our Army pursuit planes we turned over to Russia:1
Please make it perfectly clear that as Chief of Staff I am unalterably opposed to the release of any U.S. pursuit planes and light and medium bombers until we have first established units of these types in the Philippines for the security of the Fleet anchorage, and the defense of the Islands. We have been trying for six months to meet the Navy’s demands, and that of our Army Commander in the Philippines, that the obsolescent planes be replaced at the earliest possible moment with modern types. At the present moment, with Japan’s known preparations to move South, the Philippines become of great strategic importance, as they constitute both a Naval and Air Base upon the immediate flank of the Japanese southern movement.
Furthermore, up to the present time we have been unable to provide either pursuit planes or light bombers to cooperate in any way with our troops during these large maneuvers. This represents a complete deficiency in air-ground training, and we must not continue further with that state of affairs. The development of the Army demands that this be corrected, and the public reaction presents a very serious consideration.
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. At his June 24 press conference, President Roosevelt had declared that the United States was prepared to extend military aid to the Soviet Union, but nothing could be done until the Soviets presented a list of needed materials. (New York Times, June 25, 1941, p. 1.) Ambassador Constantine A. Oumansky had presented a memorandum of general requirements to the State Department on June 30 and two detailed materiel lists on July 7. (Foreign Relations, 1941, 1: 779-81, 788.) The Soviet government requested nearly $2,000,000,000 worth of materiel, including three thousand bombers and an equal number of pursuit planes. (W. Averell Harriman and Elie Abel, Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin, 1941-1946 [New York: Random House, 1975], p. 74.)
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 567-568.