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Memorandum for General Arnold
January 22, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
General Brett telephoned me at 7:10 A.M. today.1 He understood that I had been trying to get him on the phone. Maybe you had been endeavoring to reach him.
I asked him to give me any information that was safe to pass over the telephone, and to make known his desires. Brett renews energetically his request for personnel for the entire Far East. He states that experienced Air Corps people available in addition to himself are one major general, one colonel and three lieutenant colonels.
Brett desires two experienced men on his staff, one for operations and one for maintenance. He reiterates his view that through lack of personnel the staff is building up with representatives of other nationalities, to our future disadvantage.
He stated that he would like two men of the type of Colonel John M. Clark for Operations and Colonel Earl Naiden or Colonel George for Operations or Maintenance.2
In discussing Brereton’s requirements, he stated he needed immediately men of the type of Duncan, George and Naiden;3 that the few available were heavily over-worked, which could not continue with efficiency, and that many tasks were not being attended to at all. He particularly spoke of the definite needs for G-2 work, that information was pouring in and there was no one available to collate and interpret it in time for its effective use.
All of this reminds me from both the War Department and the Far East sides of the question of exactly what took place between General Pershing and the War Department in 1917. I think we shall have to send Brett and Brereton more people of experience, reinforced by able civilians or reserve officers.
Brett stated that General Wavell was very much pleased with the operations that were being carried out by our small air complement, that they were doing a fine job.
Disguising our references, we discussed the delay in the movement of planes from Bangalore to the N.E.I. He stated that he had done everything in his power to find out what the trouble was and that they were ready to receive the planes in the N.E.I., but he had been unable to get a satisfactory reason for the delay at Bangalore. I told him that we would endeavor to ferret out the trouble at this end. I think we should propose a message for the British to send to their Army authorities in India to give us an immediate response in that channel as to specifically what is the trouble at Bangalore.
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. George H. Brett had briefly commanded the U.S. Army Forces in Australia (January 5-12). He was promoted to lieutenant general (January 7) and designated deputy commander of the ABDA Command. He reported for duty in Batavia, Netherlands Indies, on January 12.
2. Clark was then stationed at McClellan Field, California. Earl L. Naiden (U.S.M.A., 1915) and Harold L. George were on the staff at Army Air Forces headquarters in Washington, D.C.
3. Major General Lewis H. Brereton had assumed command of the U.S. Army Forces in Australia on January 12. He relinquished that post on January 27, however, when he was designated commander of U.S. Air Forces in the ABDA Command. Lieutenant Colonel Claude E. Duncan was on the staff at Army Air Forces headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 76-78.