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3-306 Memorandum for General McNair, October 22, 1942

1942
   
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: October 22, 1942

Subject: World War II


Memorandum for General McNair

October 22, 1942 Washington, D.C

Confidential

I wish you would have the record examined regarding two men, with a view to their possible advancement.

Colonel Frederick S. Matthews, Infantry

He is in command of our Detachment in British Guiana. I have not been associated with him since he was a Major but he displayed then strong characteristics of calm, forcible and sound leadership as well as administrative capacity. Later I was told by General Moseley that Matthews as a Lieutenant Colonel had displayed high efficiency.1 I do not know what has occurred in British Guiana but apparently the command has been well handled, and also quite evidently he is isolated from consideration. Noting some of the names put forth by you for promotion it occurred to me that they were not up to the standard of what I suppose Matthews to be. Besides, I am always interested in these men who have been sent to distant points because of our dependence on their judgment.

Colonel John C. Newton, Infantry

He was with me in China and again at Benning. The last time I heard of him he was commanding, with conspicuous success, a battalion of negroes in one of the first training centers.2 He is unprepossessing in appearance but a “doer” of the first class. If he was highly successful with colored troops I think he should be considered for advancement.

Please understand that nothing has come from either of these men to me or by any other devious approach.

I do not know where Newton is and I can only place Matthews by reason of the fact of my recollection of his first assignment a year or more ago; so there is nothing personal in this matter, merely my desire to dig out the leaders.3

G. C. M.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Headquarters, Army Ground Forces (RG 337), Adjutant General’s Section, General McNair’s Personal File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. Matthews had been Marshall’s assistant in establishing Civilian Conservation Corps camps in 1933 and a battalion commander at Fort Screven, Georgia. He subsequently served in the Inspector General’s Department in the Fourth Corps Area, which was commanded by Major General George Van Horn Moseley. Matthews had been promoted to colonel on December 11, 1941.

2. Newton had been promoted to colonel on June 16, 1942, and was commanding a regiment at the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Croft, South Carolina.

3. McNair replied that Matthews’s “record to date does not show outstanding leadership, although he may have it,” and that Newton’s “record is below the standards of current promotions.” (McNair Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, October 26, 1942, NA/RG 337 [Adjutant General’s Section, General McNair’s Personal File].) Neither man was promoted to brigadier general.

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. 406-407.

#3-378

Memorandum for Mr. Paul V. McNutt

October 23, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]

Subject: Deferment of Agricultural Workers1

1. Present situation

a. Because of shortages of men we have already deferred the organization of units totaling 115,000 men into 1943 that were intended for the fall of 1942. Nevertheless, we are still confronted with a shortage of 35,000 men.

b. If a further deferment of 50,000 men for agriculture is made this will necessitate the deferment into 1943 of 1 Armored Division, 2 Infantry Divisions, and 20 Military Police Battalions.

c. You are already familiar with the under strength of existing divisions. There are listed below 9 with a total strength of 45,700, instead of a full strength of 135,000 men. Even if the agriculture deferment is not made these divisions will still be short 35,000 men on December 31, and their training development correspondingly delayed. So as a matter of fact we have to consider not only the 1 Armored and 2 Infantry Divisions referred to above, the organization of which will have to be delayed, but added to that 9 others whose effective development is more or less suspended, and whose readiness for shipment overseas will be further delayed by the period required to train the men after they report for duty.

30th Division3,000been in service 26 months

31st Division9,400 “ “ “ 26 “

33rd Division8,200 “ “ “ 20 “

78th Division1,500activated August 1942

83rd Division1,600 “ “ “

88th Division9,900 “ July 1942

89th Division8,700 “ “ “

91st Division1,400 “ August 1942

84th Division2,000 “ October 1942

d. There is a further limiting factor in this matter, very important to consider. Our reception centers have a certain capacity and when we get behind, as we are now, there is no way to catch up without building new reception centers and setting up new organizations to handle them and this would be a matter of a number of months as well as a very wasteful procedure. The deferment in November could not be made good in January or later.

e. The seriousness of the present situation is indicated by the fact that the last two divisions to be sent overseas were so under strength that in one case, the division going as a reinforcement to the Solomon Islands campaign, we had to build it up as it embarked in San Francisco with men stripped from other divisions. The other division had to sail for the British Isles short of approximately 3,000 men.

2. Situation in 1943

a. Our deepest concern relates to the effect of this shortage on our plans for operations in 1943. The delays indicated in paragraph 1. c. cannot be overcome by a sudden increase at some later date.

For these reasons it is requested that the War Manpower Commission reconsider their action in deferring certain agricultural workers from military service.2

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Office of the Secretary of War (RG 107), Secretary of War Safe, Selective Service-Deferments, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. The United States had no unified manpower allocation organization during 1942; consequently there was no coordinated policy regarding draft deferments for workers with critical skills. On April 18, 1942, the president had established the War Manpower Commission under Federal Security Administrator McNutt, but it was a policy forum, not an operating agency. During the autumn, however, McNutt had begun to press Roosevelt to vest him with authority over civilian manpower, including control of the Selective Service System. (Bureau of the Budget, The United States at War: Development and Administration of the War Program by the Federal Government [Washington: GPO, 1946], pp. 184-89.) During October the War Manpower Commission had sought authorization to defer men in the labor-short dairy, livestock, and poultry industries, so long as the deferred remained in their jobs. Such “freezing” of employees in jobs had already been done in certain mining and lumber industries in western states.

2. McNutt announced the agricultural worker deferment on October 27. (New York Times, October 28, 1942, pp. 1, 12.)

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. 407-409.

#3-379

Memorandum to the Secretary to the President

October 23, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]

Super-Secret

Request the following message be transmitted to The President this evening:

“General Marshall to The President:

“Admiral King gave Admiral Leahy and me your message regarding air reinforcements to the South Pacific. Message has been sent to Hawaii to divert one squadron of B-24s, now leaving there for Australia, to New Caledonia.

“As to P-38s, we find none are today actually en route either to South Pacific or Southwest Pacific. MacArthur has two squadrons, about fifty-odd, of these planes in Moresby and none in Australia. They are a vital part of MacArthur’s defense of his concentration of Fortresses at Moresby to operate against Rabaul and Bougainville Island region. He had previously been unwilling to hazard Fortresses at Moresby.

“The U. S. Chiefs of Staff question advisability of this transfer of P-38s under existing conditions. South Pacific now has 15 of these planes drawn from MacArthur and a total of 149 P-39s, with one squadron of 25 P-40s en route from Hawaii.”1

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), Project Decimal File 1941-43, 452.1 South Pacific Area, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. Leahy and Arnold approved this message, but when King was later contacted, he desired a slightly different version which added the following final paragraph: “In view of the capability of the enemy to switch his attack to New Guinea and the necessity to be able to continue operations for Fortresses from Moresby for effective attacks on Rabaul and Bougainville, it seems to us inadvisable for MacArthur to have to transfer more than 15 more P-38s to the South Pacific at this time.” (Undated and unaddressed memorandum marked “Adm King’s version” in NA/RG 165 [OCS, Project Decimal File 1941-43, 452.1 South Pacific Area].) The next day the president replied: “My anxiety about the Southwest Pacific is to make sure that every possible weapon gets into that area to hold Guadalcanal, and that having held it in this crisis that munitions and planes and crews are on the way to take advantage of our success. We will soon find ourselves engaged on two active fronts and we must have adequate air support in both places even though it means delay in our other commitments, particularly to England. Our long range plans could be set back for months if we fail to throw our full strength in our immediate and impending conflicts. I wish therefore, you would canvass over the week-end every possible temporary diversion of munitions which you will require for our active fronts and let me know what they are. Please also review the number and use of all combat planes now in the continental United States.” ([Roosevelt Memorandum] for Leahy, King, Marshall and Arnold only, October 24, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) The air reinforcements for Guadalcanal during late October and November are discussed in Miller, Guadalcanal, pp. 173-74.

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. 409-410.

#3-380

To General Douglas MacArthur

October 25, 1942 Radio No. 3039 Washington, D.C.

Secret

For your personal information, Admiral Halsey COMSOPAC1 reports 3 Japanese Naval Forces estimated to include 3 carriers 300 miles to east of Solomon Islands moving South on Espiritu Santo on October 24. An additional Force including battleships and transports located North of Santa Isabel on October 25. Heavy attack being pressed by Japanese along Matanikau River western limit of our Guadalcanal position.

Our Naval Forces preparing to intercept these Japanese Forces.2

In this situation heavy attrition due to losses and fatigues is to be expected in both our fighter and bomber aircraft working from fields in Guadalcanal Espiritu Santo and Efate. It is desired that you make plans to meet possible necessity for quick reenforcement of Halsey with Bomber Squadrons and especially with attrition replacements for his 15 P-38 planes.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Top Secret Message File CM-OUT-08583, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., had replaced Robert L. Ghormley as commander, South Pacific Forces on October 18. He was promoted to full admiral a month later.

2. The ground phase of the Japanese October counteroffensive in Guadalcanal ended in defeat by United States forces on the night of October 25-26. The naval phase was concluded with the battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, a battle in which both sides were damaged, but United States forces gained time to reinforce Guadalcanal. The naval forces engaged in the battle are listed in Morison, Struggle for Guadalcanal, pp. 204-7.

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), p. 410.

#3-381

Memorandum for General Osborn

October 25, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]

I have just read your memorandum of October 24 outlining the development of special films. I have no comments to make regarding the program except to say that it seems admirably adopted to the general purpose we have in mind.1

With reference to “Prelude to War,” I wish you would express to Capra my admiration for the superb job he and his associates have done. It seems to me that in the making of that film they have evolved a practical process for the education of the citizens of a democracy, certainly for the teaching of history in our schools, which may have the most far reaching effects. I suppose in time of peace, particularly as relates to public schools, there would be oppositions of the same character as those which affected our attitude in the period depicted in “Prelude to War.” However, that is a mere detail.

While I believe it is outside of your responsibility, I am deeply interested in the development of training films, because I do not think we have achieved anything like the progress we should be making in utilizing the screen for the expeditious instruction of soldiers—and on a much higher standard of efficiency than can possibly be attained by the use of thousands of officers of varying degrees of ability as instructors. The trouble in this has been the insistence of the military mind on a precision, or rather military, method of presenting the technique of weapons, etc., without utilizing to a sufficient degree the skill of directors in holding the attention of an audience and presenting matters in the impressive manner which they have developed for the entertainment of the public.

Altogether, I believe the directing and technical talent of the moving picture industry can make a tremendously important contribution to our war effort, and certainly the leaders of the industry seem only too willing to do their part.

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. Marshall had viewed the film “Prelude to War” on October 22. Osborn had sent the chief of staff a memorandum listing the films his Special Services Branch had in production in the “Why We Fight,” “Strategic Battles,” and “Know Your Enemy/Know Your Ally” series. He observed that director Frank Capra “believes that some of these films will be the most moving he has ever made, and will be enormously effective as a force for unity with our Allies.” (Osborn Memorandum for General Marshall, October 24, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 004.5 (10-25-42)].) Capra’s recollections of the beginning of his army documentary film career and his relations with Marshall are in The Name Above the Title: An Autobiography (New York: Macmillan Company, 1971), pp. 317-42.

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), p. 411.

#3-382

Memorandum for Operations Division

October 25, 1942 Washington, D.C.

In looking over the Daily Summary of War Department Operations Decisions and Actions, Number 391, October 24-25, I notice that the second echelon of the 3d Armored Division from Camp Young, California, is being moved to Camp Pickett, Virginia, for shipment overseas.

I assume this transcontinental shift has been unavoidable, but at the same time I would like a careful survey made by Operations, with Army Ground Forces, to see if we can plan far enough in advance to avoid these tremendous rail movements. I know that sudden demands, state of training, deficiencies in equipment, etc. have forced such moves on us a number of times in the past, but I believe we may be able to cut down on this transcontinental shifting.

Just recently the 43d Division moved from Florida to San Francisco; the 29th Division, formerly in the northeast, moved from the south to the northeast; and now an armored division on the west coast is moving to the east coast. I think I recall the reason the 3d Division was sent to California, being cleared out of Knox to make way for a new division with a special mission. However, if the prospects were that it would move to the east, apparently it should have replaced some other less developed unit, which in turn should have been sent to the west coast.

Please look into this because the railroads are taxed to the limit, and we have already been involved in a large number of transcontinental shifts.1

G. C. Marshall

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), 370.05, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. Operations Division chief Thomas Handy replied that the desert-trained Third Armored Division had been assigned to Patton’s task force for the Moroccan landings, requiring that it be shipped from the Desert Training Center in California to the port of embarkation on the East Coast. The necessity of picking the best units available for changing operational plans required much of the shifting of units. McNair wrote to Handy two weeks later: “In general, troop movements overseas are made as economically as circumstances permit. It can be assumed that the rail transportation in connection with such movements is habitually reduced to the minimum.” The chief reason for shifting units was to give them specialized training. (Handy Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, October 29, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 370.05]; McNair Memorandum for the Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations Division, November 13, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OPD, 370.5 Task Force, Sec. IV, Case 101].)

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), p. 412.

#3-383

Memorandum for General Surles

October 28, 1942 Washington, D.C.

Super-Secret

I would like you to think over the following and give me your view as to issuing it:

“With relation to the criticisms appearing in the Press of the Naval decision to launch an operation in the Solomons last August, the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Marshall, when questioned in the matter stated that the decision to launch the Solomons operation was made by the Joint U.S. Chiefs of Staff in accordance with agreed upon plans and was not a purely Naval decision.”1

G. C. M.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), 381 Solomon Islands, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. On this subject, Secretary Stimson observed in his diary: “Under the impact of the setbacks and defeats and losses in the southwestern Pacific of the Navy, criticism of the Navy is growing to an extent which is unfair and dangerous. While they have brought it on themselves, it cannot be allowed to go on without damaging the united war effort. Now it seems that the Patterson newspapers which are the Fifth Column of this war are stirring up a beautiful story of how MacArthur has been kept out of the supreme command of these operations down in the southwestern Pacific in order to squash his Presidential aspirations and that the President has joined in this by dividing the jurisdiction so that the Navy would have the command in regard to the Solomon action.” (October 29, 1942, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 40: 182].)

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. 412-413.

#3-384

Memorandum for the Secretary of War

October 29, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]

Secret

With reference to your press conference this morning and the recent and present Press controversy as to MacArthur and his New Guinea operation, and Ghormley and the Solomons operation:

General Surles has a statement I would like you to make as to the decision for the Solomons operation.1

The messages of the past few weeks, and particularly those of the last two days, would indicate clearly that MacArthur has cooperated in every conceivable way with Ghormley and Halsey. The messages of this morning are proof positive of this cooperation. On his own initiative, MacArthur releases 155 guns to Harmon. He has proceeded at top speed with plans to reinforce Halsey with P-38 planes under conditions that are highly dangerous to the pilots. In turn Halsey proposes sending his B-24’s on to MacArthur, and MacArthur instead of accepting gives Halsey a frank statement of how long it will be before they can be placed in operation from New Guinea.

Certainly in the air operations against Rabaul and the Shortlands—both difficult operations to carry out, involving long flights and no fighter coverage—MacArthur’s command has “shot the works” so far as it is possible to manage.

While details as stated above could not be given to the Press, nevertheless I think MacArthur and Halsey should be given credit for genuine coordination as distinguished from mere cooperation.

One further fact is involved, but I am doubtful as to whether or not it would be wise for you to comment on it. I refer to the boundary set between MacArthur’s area and Ghormley’s or Halsey’s. The initial decision last spring, which divorced New Caledonia and New Zealand from the Australian area, was made on the urgent recommendation of Admiral King and the delay in defining MacArthur’s area came through the necessity of getting agreements from the Australian Government as to the character of MacArthur’s command and also agreements from the New Zealand and Australian Governments as to the division line—they having previously acted together in proposing an American overall command. As I recall, most of the delay came from negotiations to secure Australian agreement to the limiting terms of MacArthur’s command.

The more recent Press and radio debate relates to the Solomons operation with regard to boundaries, the implication being that the President, fearing MacArthur’s political future, decided to limit his sphere of activity. Whether or not this should be commented on by you you can judge much better than I can, but I doubt if the President even knew of the subdivision as made, at the time it was made.2

The Navy wanted the three operations, of which the Tulagi landing was to be the first, all by Ghormley. I declined to accept this proposal as the basis for the directive. I was in agreement with the Navy that the Tulagi should be the first to be undertaken. As a matter of fact we pressed the Navy to do this immediately after Midway and urged them to start it at an earlier date than they did. There was no proposition by us to launch the New Guinea operation first. We thought it much more important to prevent the Japanese from getting into air operations from the Guadalcanal field. Once that field was captured and our position in that region consolidated, command passed to MacArthur and the New Guinea operation would have followed.

As we know, the consolidation did not follow, instead matters were allowed to drift until the Japanese had time to concentrate their forces, during which period we suffered serious attritions from submarine activiti

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