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Memorandum for General McNair
October 6, 1942 Washington, D.C.
Personal and Confidential
McNarney is just back from the Desert Training Center. He told me that General Richardson presented difficulties during the maneuvers; that he seemed rather resentful of Gillem’s directing affairs and that he took exception to Gillem’s use of gas [gasoline] in accordance with your directive—which it developed Richardson had not read.
Richardson was to have had a Corps in Australia but this was not carried through because he insisted on coming back to Washington from New Caledonia to talk things over with me and to make his report on the trip and when he arrived here he was so averse to the detail, felt that it depreciated him when his status had been in Australia as my representative on this inspection trip and felt that it was intolerable to serve under Australian command, that we sent Eichelberger instead. Eichelberger, incidentally, is now at Moresby and it is his employment of U.S. troops that is providing the turning force which permits the Australians to advance almost unopposed.
I want your reaction on Richardson. All this accumulation of the sensitive business is causing me to lose confidence and certainly to be extremely reluctant to give him any advance command. We haven’t time for this sort of personal business. When you think of full Generals and full Admirals of the British Army and Navy placing themselves subordinate to Eisenhower and working in complete loyalty to him, this business of Richardson does not set well. But I do not want to do him an injustice and therefore want a confidential expression of your views.1
G. C. M.
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Headquarters, Army Ground Forces (RG 337), Headquarters Commanding General, General Correspondence 1940-44, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. Major General Alvan C. Gillem, Jr., who had previously held several armored unit commands, had been made commander of the Desert Training Center near Blythe, California, in August 1942. Between August and October he conducted the first U.S. Army maneuvers held solely for armored and mechanized troops. The Seventh Corps, under Richardson’s command, had participated. McNair replied to Marshall’s memorandum the next day, citing further examples of difficulties raised by Richardson and concluding: “General R is a West Point classmate of mine, and I long have respected and admired his ability. I still feel that he has much command ability. However, the recent succession of unfortunate incidents all reflecting on his soldierly qualities, force me to the conclusion that he should be relieved from command, returned to his permanent grade, and either assigned to duty other than with the field forces or retired.” (McNair Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, October 7, 1942, NA/RG 337 [Headquarters Commanding General, General Correspondence 1940-44].) Richardson continued to command the Seventh Corps through May 1943, when he was promoted to lieutenant general and made commanding general of the Hawaiian Department.
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 388-389.