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Memorandum for General Arnold1
July 12, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
The attached memorandum of July 10th from General Giraud was handed to me at Leesburg yesterday with a personal statement by the General as to the importance of a special convoy arriving in Africa the latter part of July with the needed equipment. He explained that he went into the details of his discussion of the matter with the President but did not indicate the President’s response.2
The following is a summary of my statements to General Giraud:
There was no complication that I knew of regarding the 100,000 sets of clothing as these were available and could be shipped on current convoys as filler cargo.
That except for certain shortages in engineer and signal equipment there was no serious complication regarding the availability of the materiel desired.
That General Somervell thought he could find some 28 cargo ships, not at one time, available for the shipment of the equipment.
That the limiting factors were the provision of the necessary escort vessels either for separate convoy or for the enlargement of scheduled convoys, and the congestion of ports in North Africa.
I stated to General Giraud that the decision, within the limits of escort availabilities, as to what should go in each convoy, must be made by General Eisenhower, that we could not on this side of the Atlantic determine priorities.
I stated that General Eisenhower was under direction to carry out certain operations and that we could not from this distance deny his requests for certain shipments in favor of some other shipments and at the same time hold him responsible for the operations. Therefore I stated to General Giraud that while we would take up these matters with General Eisenhower as rapidly as we had dependable data regarding the situation on this side, the determining course undoubtedly should be reached following a personal discussion of these matters by General Giraud with General Eisenhower.
I further stated to General Giraud that it was the urgent desire of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff to have General Eisenhower use French troops wherever possible rather than to import U.S. troops. Our desires in this matter were identical with those of General Giraud. I explained to him our present dilemma in meeting General Eisenhower’s requisitions for special troops and our recommendation to General Eisenhower that he endeavor to secure French troops to meet his requirements, as these special organizations would be required to round out French Army Corps organization. General Giraud made no comment on this last.
In the discussion the point was made that the shipment of the supplies would have a tremendous psychological effect on the DeGaulle influence. Also that the employment of French troops would be another positive curative. I expressed agreement in regard to this.
General Giraud made no final comments after my detailed outline of the situation. I told him that we would continue to search for ways and means and that any changes or developments would be communicated to him while he was en route in this country.3
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 memorandum was also addressed to Generals Brehon Somervell, Joseph McNarney, Thomas Handy (assistant chief of staff, Operations), and Raymond Moses (assistant chief of staff, G-4).
2. Concerning General Giraud’s visit and the implementation of Phase II of the United States’s efforts to supply the French army, see Marcel Vigneras, Rearming the French, a volume in the United States Army in World War II (Washington: GPO, 1957), pp. 82-84. For the chief of staff’s previous consideration of Giraud’s requests, see Marshall Memorandum for Admiral Leahy, July 9, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-039 [4: 47-48]. Giraud had met with Lieutenant General Somervell on July 9, and Somervell sent Marshall an analysis of the requests which described equipment availability, shipping, and North African port facilities. Giraud’s memorandum was primarily concerned with shipping priorities, the highest being that for “100,000 complete clothing outfits.” (Somervell Memorandum for General Marshall, July 10, 1943, and Giraud Memorandum, July 10, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
3. Marshall told Smith that the most promising method of shipping the supplies Giraud wanted was to add about nine ships to the convoys beginning in August. Could Smith give him “any prospect or hint as to what might be done beyond the pessimistic prospect” of no port capacity prior to November 1? (Marshall to Smith, Radio No. 2594, July 15, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-6217)].) Smith replied that revised plans would enable Casablanca to handle the proposed two hundred thousand extra tons and that the rate of nine ships per convoy could be accommodated. Marshall at once informed Giraud, who returned to Algiers on July 25. Eisenhower later reported greatly improved French troop morale as a result of the decision on supplies. (Vigneras, Rearming the French, pp. 84-86.)
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. 54-55.