5-123 Memorandum for General Handy, May 10, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 10, 1945

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Handy

May 10, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]



General Stilwell saw me this morning to find out if there is any possibility of his getting active service.1 I told him what the situation was as to MacArthur’s commanders and said that I did not think that as matters now stood there was any prospect of success in proposing him. However, I had been thinking of sending him out to the Pacific, ostensibly to check up on the requirements of infantry and artillery operations against the Japanese, to see if our training of replacements back here was just as it should be and also to carry the same information to the troops being retrained in Europe. I said that possibly if he went into the theater on that basis, to Okinawa and to the Philippines, it might be that he would make a place for himself in MacArthur’s command and that offhand I thought that I would immediately agree to any such proposal from MacArthur.2

Stilwell accepts the proposition and will probably suggest a date between the 15th and the 20th of the month. Meanwhile I think we should have a message prepared to MacArthur and to Nimitz stating what Stilwell’s function is and what I desire him to do, for the reasons stated above, and asking their acquiescence to his visit to the theater.3

Incidentally I am attaching some notes of his regarding fighting against the Japanese.4


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. General Joseph W. Stilwell, commander of Army Ground Forces since January, met with Marshall in the chief of staff’s office at 8:45 A.M. on May 10.

2. Stilwell noted in his diary that the chief of staff “had nothing to offer except that I could go and make my own arrangements. . . . Doug obviously out of control; W.D. [War Department] afraid of him. So I’ll go out and look around.” (Barbara W. Tuchman, Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 [New York: Macmillan Company, 1971], pp. 518-19.)

3. Stilwell departed on May 21 for his tour of the Pacific theater. He met with MacArthur, who “urged Stilwell to go everywhere, see everyone, talk to Krueger and Eichelberger, commanders of the Sixth and Eighth Armies, make suggestions and give him ideas.” Greeted cordially by MacArthur, Stilwell noted: “Says he wants a friend to speak up for him.” (Ibid., 519.)

On June 23 Stilwell took command of Tenth Army following the death of Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner on Okinawa. (Ibid.)

4. The attachment is not in the Marshall Papers.

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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 176-177.


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