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Memorandum for General MacArthur
June 6, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
This will be handed to you by Arnold who leaves here today. He can discuss the details and various ramifications of the matter with you in person.
In connection with the command arrangements in the Pacific, Admiral King is very much interested in a special command set-up from the communication point of view, particularly during the preliminary period of OLYMPIC.1 He hopes that you will agree to have established on Guam three or four months before D-day at least a skeleton set-up so far as personnel is concerned but complete so far as communications are concerned. Then he is strongly in favor of your being personally established on Guam during the lead-up phase of the operations, if I can term it that, meaning the period of the gradual concentration of the naval and convoy forces.
He feels that in that manner during the period when the movements are almost purely naval, and Nimitz therefore must be at the center of his communication system, it would tend to smooth coordination if Nimitz were in immediate personal touch with you.
I assume that as the convoys approach Kyushu preparatory to the landings, you would feel it necessary to be present which would terminate your personal contact with Nimitz, as I also assume he would probably have to remain at Guam for the better coordination of the various naval forces.
Arnold has listened to most of the discussions and can supply the details that may be lacking in the foregoing outline.2
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. After a lengthy struggle, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had issued a directive on April 3 reorganizing the U.S. command in the Pacific. MacArthur was designated Commander in Chief, U.S. Army Forces, Pacific—thus controlling all U.S. Army and Air Forces resources except those in Alaska, the southeast Pacific, and the Twentieth Air Force. Nimitz was named Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, controlling nearly all the navy’s resources in the Pacific. The gradual transition to this new system was to be “by mutual agreement” between the commanders and to begin after the current operations in the Philippines and Ryukyu Islands. Nimitz’s headquarters was directed to work on the naval and amphibious phases of the assault on Japan; MacArthur’s on the ground attack. Dividing up the logistical responsibilities—particularly control over shipping—proved to be more intractable, so the J.C.S. “shuttled” the issue “out of Washington to the theaters.” From April on, consequently, sharp disagreements were common between the two headquarters over the transfer of resources between them. (Robert W. Coakley and Richard M. Leighton, Global Logistics and Strategy, 1943-1945, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1968], pp. 581-84, 609-10. See also D. Clayton James, The Years of MacArthur, 3 vols. [Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970-85], 2: 724-26.)
2. Arnold visited Manila between June 16 and 19. On the seventeenth, he had a lengthy meeting with MacArthur. Arnold noted in his diary MacArthur’s response to the Marshall memorandum he delivered: “As far as moving his Headquarters to Guam for coordination and cooperation are concerned, the lid blew off—there was every reason why it should not be done, not one good reason for doing it.” (Quoted in James, MacArthur, 2: 729-30. See also Arnold, Global Mission, p. 569.)
MacArthur replied to Marshall’s memorandum that Admiral King’s suggestion “is impracticable of accomplishment,” as Guam was fifteen hundred miles from the location of the proposed landings. In the preparatory phase of the landings, he would be with his air commander on Okinawa; in the assault phase, “I shall be afloat. It is no more possible for me to separate myself from my command that it would be for Admiral Nimitz to do so.” (MacArthur Memorandum for Marshall, June 19, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 215-216.