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Memorandum for General Handy
August 9, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
The President saw me at 2:00 P.M. today. He put the following proposition to me, for which I shall have to have an answer in some form by 11:00 A.M. tomorrow:
Stating that the Planners were always conservative and saw all the difficulties, and that more could usually be done than they were willing to admit, he outlined the following as his desire:
That between OVERLORD AND PRICELESS he was insistent on OVERLORD but felt that we could do more than was now proposed for PRICELESS. His idea was that the seven battle-experienced divisions should be provided for OVERLORD but that an equal number of divisions from the U.S. should be routed to PRICELESS.
He stated that he did not wish to have anything to do with an operation into the Balkans, nor to agree to a British expedition which could cost us ships, landing craft, withdrawals, etc. But he did feel that we should secure a position in Italy to the north of Rome and that we should take over Sardinia and Corsica and thus set up a serious threat to southern France.
I told him I would not express an opinion at the moment other than to state that we had strained programmed resources well to the limit in the agreements now standing regarding OVERLORD and PRICELESS, that the movement of three divisions from PRICELESS forces to OVERLORD could be undertaken without expense in troop lift and with advantge to equipment of French divisions; that beyond this the movements to OVERLORD of veteran units would cost us troop lift and I very much feared that a corresponding movement from the U.S. to PRICELESS would impose just that much of a reduction on OVERLORD. However, I told the President I would have a critical review of the logistical involvements by tomorrow morning. Incidentally, he said he did not like my use of the word “critical” because he wanted assistance in carrying out his conception rather than difficulties placed in the way of it—all of this in humorous vein.
As I left he spoke of seeing me at noon tomorrow, and I judge from this that that hour will be proposed for the JCS to meet him. In that event I should have a critical analysis of the effect of his conception in my hands by 11:00 o’clock as I assume we would have the JCS meeting at least an hour before we went to the White House.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
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), p. 85-86.