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Memorandum for General Hull
November 30, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Atlantic Coast Defense.1
I am rather uncertain regarding the advisibility of the letter to Admiral King in its present form.2 It seems to me it would be better if we stated the matter in more concise terms:
1. What the present situation is.
2. What the trouble was.
3. What should be done.
It seems to me in this particular matter that the whole correspondence, particularly if signed by me as suggested, presents a very poor picture of efficiency, particularly the hiatus between the War and Navy Departments which neither of our operational groups checked up or followed through on regarding each other. Discussing this is one thing, committing it all to paper is another.
I also question seemingly accepting as being satisfactory the statement that the Army Air Forces had directed the C.G., First Air Force to render all possible support to C.E.S.F. [Commander Eastern Sea Frontier], etc. It seems to me that divided command here was being accentuated in a most unfortunate manner.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. On November 1, the commanders of the navy’s Eastern Sea Frontier (Vice Admiral Herbert F. Leary) and the army’s Eastern Defense Command (Lieutenant General George Grunert) were notified that the Germans might be planning an attack on New York City by V-1 rockets fired from a new type of submarine. On November 3 Leary was told that an attack might occur in the very near future. On November 7 the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed that a high-level (Condition 2) alert be initiated, but this was removed on the tenth. The whole affair “proved to be a very valuable exercise,” Leary noted, pointing up not only the “paucity of forces” but numerous command and coordination weaknesses within and among the local navy, army, and air force commands and the Army and Navy departments in Washington. (Leary to Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, November 17, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 471.94]. Grunert made similar observations.) King, noting that the army and navy had been “criticized because of alleged lack of close cooperation at Pearl Harbor in 1941,” asked Marshall to “suggest for discussion a scheme that you consider suitable for integrating defense measures on the seabord of the United States.” (King to Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, November 20, 1944, ibid.) Concerning the settlement of a similar problem in mid-1942, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-227 [3: 241-42].
2. This Operations Division draft is not in the Marshall papers.
3. Marshall first clarified the conditions under which the commanding general of the Defense Commands could, in the event of an emergency, assume command of all army forces physically located within the boundaries of his command. (During the November emergency, Grunert’s authority to assume tactical control of the First Air Force had been unclear.) Marshall then wrote to King that “the confusion incident to the recent robot bombing threat appears principally to have been due to the lack of a coordinated procedure here in the War and Navy Departments for placing the existing joint plans in effect.” He suggested that the Joint Staff Planners be directed immediately to study the existing command organizations and current plans and make recommendations. King suggested that the army and navy operations and intelligence divisions should cooperate in drafting a joint directive, and Marshall agreed. (Colonel P. W. Edwards to The Adjutant General, December 1, 1944; Marshall to Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, December 4, 1944; King Memorandum for Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, December 13, 1944; and Marshall Memorandum for Admiral King, December 22, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 471.94].)
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. 680-681.