3-540 Memorandum for General Somervell, March 1, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 1, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Somervell

March 1, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]


Recommendations in your paragraph 2 are approved, and attached is a copy of the message I am sending directly to General Andrews.1

In addition to the factors covered in General Osborn’s basic memorandum, I wish to emphasize again the importance of sending one or two people to various theaters and isolated points. I have in mind their use as follows, sending a man who understands how to organize things from the existing facilities of men and material. I once suggested Billy Rose for this purpose.2 The other purpose would be to send teams of about two entertainers, preferably a man and woman. A small number such as this can find transportation, even the use of transport planes, say to Tebessa, whereas a larger group immediately encounters limitations which defeat the prime purpose, which is to get to the men in the field. The team of entertainers that happened to be in Africa when I was there, made a great success but it was a group of four and possibly a manager, and it was closely scheduled and therefore could not be sent to the forward zone at all. Whereas two people might have been sent forward and a single jeep would have sufficed for the purpose of taking them to various ground units.

The presence of an attractive woman is important, and a team which combines both beauty and humor is the ultimate to be desired.

The larger organizations are excellent units but their usefulness will always be curtailed by limited transportation, both boat and air, in moving to overseas theaters, and even greater limitations once they reach the theatre, unless their efforts are confined to the large towns.

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), 353.8, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. Lieutenant General Brehon B. Somervell wrote to Marshall that the Special Services Division, which was created to provide recreational facilities for American overseas troops, had been hindered by “the lack of appreciation on the part of theater commanders concerning their importance, and the dissipation of Special Service units and their equipment to other duties.” He requested that theater commanders be notified of this. (Somervell to the Chief of Staff, February 27, 1943, attached to this document.) On March 1 Marshall notified Lieutenant General Frank M. Andrews in London that he was sending Major Halleck Lefferts to his headquarters temporarily to formulate a program to fulfill the work of the Special Services. A similar letter was sent to General Douglas MacArthur notifying him that Major Harry A. Berk would be sent to his headquarters for the same purpose. (Marshall to Andrews, March 1, 1943, and Marshall to MacArthur, March 1, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) See Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-541 [3: 576].

2. The editors have not located Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn’s memorandum. For Marshall’s reference to Billy Rose, see Marshall Memorandum for General Osborn, October 9, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-362 [3: 390-91].

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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 575-576.

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