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Memorandum for General Surles
February 22, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
There is a matter I should like you to consider.
There continues to be an insidious business of stirring up ill-feeling between the British and us; this is receiving a new build-up in connection with post-war air matters. I think we should take more positive measures to offset this. Merely disputing the justifications for this or that attack gets us nowhere because the poison spreads.
It occurred to me that if you could arrange to have a short article written on the subject of, say “Courage and Sacrifice”, along the following lines it might make a profound impression to offset the littleness of irritations and jealousies which destroy teamwork between the two nations:
A very brief summary of the British ordeal from Dunkirk through the Battle of Britain, the fall of Singapore and the disaster in Libya of last June.
Follow this with a generalization on the sacrifices that have been made by the high, the middle, and the low, particularly the families of the dock workers who were subjected to terrific bombing in London.
Then work in a summary of the losses of the British in high positions commencing with the Duke of Kent, elaborating on the case of Lord and Lady Halifax who had one son killed some time ago, another killed in the successful fighting on the Alamain line—where Lord Halifax had to appear at a dinner on the same day he received the news of the loss of his son and Lady Halifax also had to subject herself to official meetings within a few days of this tragic news. More recently a third son has lost both legs in an explosion of a mine during the pursuit of Rommel. Again you find Lord and Lady Halifax quietly doing their duty without a word, at the same time these attacks on Great Britain are in progress, and American soldiers in this country are being stirred to a contempt for the British.
Air Marshal Tedder who has just been put in charge of the Mediterranean Air Force under Eisenhower has lost a son and within the past three months lost his wife in an air crash at Bengasi—she had flown there from Cairo to organize relief work.
I feel certain that the British could give you other examples of losses suffered by families in high places, and the whole certainly would make a most impressive story without the necessity of any reference to the critical attitude in this country towards the British and their fighting capacities.
Please think this over.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
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. 560-561.