4-178 Memorandum for General Osborn, December 24, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: December 24, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Osborn1

December 24, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]


I was much disturbed in the Southwest Pacific to see apparently how little had been accomplished by your activities. I was told that you had had five or six surveys made but still I found the men lacking the things that had been on issue here for a long time. General MacArthur himself seemed almost entirely unaware of what your activities were.

Before I left I spoke to you about going to the Pacific. Now I think it is urgently necessary that you do so in the immediate future. I want you to go direct to Australia and see General MacArthur personally and explain to him what your activities are and what can be done, and endeavor to find out for yourself why it has not been done.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. Frederick H. Osborn, who had been promoted to major general in October, was head of the Morale Services Division, which had been created when a November reorganization of the Army Service Forces split the former Special Services Division into two independent components.

2. Osborn spent several weeks in the Southwest Pacific Area, the South Pacific Area, and the Central Pacific Area, holding conferences with numerous commanders and officials in charge of morale-related operations. In his February 14, 1944, report to Marshall, Osborn stated that he had “four to five hours of conversations” with MacArthur, who “became first convinced of the integrity of our purpose, and then enthusiastic about the value of our work.” When the theater and division commanders understood his division’s programs of information, education, and orientation, Osborn noted, they heartily endorsed it. But official instructions were needed authorizing the manpower to prepare and direct the programs; Osborn asked Marshall to direct the Operations Division to issue such instructions. Marshall sent Osborn’s report to the deputy chief of staff with the following handwritten note on the cover sheet: “Gen. McNarney: I sent Osborne to the Pacific to leave a few days after my return. He had been headed for Italy. This report indicates the state of affairs—most unnecessarily unsatisfactory—I had found. See that the necessary Officers are provided. We must put this business over immediately. G. C. M.” (Osborn Memorandum to the Chief of Staff, February 14, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 330.11].)

Later Marshall sent MacArthur a letter concerning Osborn and his visit to the Pacific: “He gave me a most favorable report of your interest in this field and the tremendous assistance you afforded him during his stay in the Southwest Pacific. This was very encouraging to me, for I feel that Osborn and his organization have filled a very definite need of our troops overseas and have done a most creditable job in view of the limits on personnel and shipping which have been imposed on him.” (Marshall to MacArthur, March 1, 1944, 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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 207.

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