3-314 Memorandum for General Surles, September 4, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 4, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Surles

September 4, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]


In my hurriedly dictated review of the Fortune article on unity of command I overlooked a very important point, which it may be too late now for you to correct.1

Somewhere in the article the point was made that China and Russia were barred from the Combined Chiefs of Staff and could only speak through American officers. While the statement should not be made in the article, the fact is that the Russians do not desire a place as they proceed more or less independently. As to China the point is it would be utterly impracticable to have the command post of the Combined Chiefs of Staff changed into a Congress of nations. Also we have exactly the same problem if not a more complicated one in relation to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The statement as it now stands regarding China would provoke trouble and could do no possible good.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. See Marshall Memorandum for General Surles, September 2, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-310 [3: 338-39].

2. In arguing for a unified command over all Allied military organizations, the Fortune magazine essay examined the Combined Chiefs of Staff and noted a number of weaknesses, especially that it was essentially a committee of autonomous British and United States service chiefs who met for discussions. The published version of the writer’s comments regarding Chinese and Soviet participation read: “The more substantive criticism of the Combined Staff is that neither Russia nor China is represented. In the case of Russia this is not just an Anglo-American trick, however. Russia, for her own reasons, has not wanted to be represented, though China has.” (“Unified Command,” Fortune 26 [October 1942]: 220.)

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), p. 344.

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