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Memorandum for Mr. Harry Hopkins
January 15, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Distribution of Materiel.
Following the discussions of last night regarding the machinery to be set up for the determination of materiel allocations,1 I turned this morning to the approval of the final details for the increase of the Army in 1942 to 3,600,000 men. These material factors are involved:
We now have 35 divisions. On March 31, the end of the first quarter of this calendar year, 10 of these divisions will have 100% equipment, the remainder an average of 50%.
On March 25, we initiate the creation of a total of 36 new divisions for 1942—starting with three. For these new divisions we can only count on a maximum of 50% equipment during the current calendar year, if the desired production schedules are met.
The ten divisions for which 100% equipment will be available at the end of March must take care of the following:
approximately 1 to Australia
approximately 1 scattered about islands
in the Pacific and Alaska
4 for Northwest Africa
Total – 14_
Approximately the same situation regarding equipment exists for the supporting units—engineer, signal, corps artillery, tank destroyer battalions, etc. For antiaircraft units the situation is much more difficult. Present production rates on ammunition are seriously inadequate and we are experiencing constantly increasing difficulty in distributing the limited ammunition now available.
I give you this as a picture of the strategical problem involved in changes in Lease-Loan allocations. In other words, we will have to give very careful consideration to each proposal with the realization that increases must involve the cutting down on equipment for units that we may be called upon to commit to active theaters once we embark on any particular operation. At the same time I realize that the handling of this matter during the “six weeks” test, as characterized by the PM, will require diplomacy and sound judgment.
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. A copy of this memorandum was sent to Deputy Chief of Staff Richard C. Moore with an attached holograph note from Marshall describing the decisions reached at the January 14 White House plenary session: “Committee of 7 in Washington 3 British, 3 Representatives of U.S. Chiefs of Staff—Hopkins chairman. Similar committee in London with civil chairman. Both subordinate to Chiefs of Staff Joint Committee [i.e., the Combined Chiefs of Staff], to which they report. Appeal by civilians to Pres. & P.M. accepted as procedure in case of strong disagreements with military. Plan to be tested for 6 weeks. Beaverbrook strongly antagonistic.” (DDEL/H. S. Aurand Papers [Joint Allocations Committee File].) The White House announced the creation of the Munitions Assignments Board on January 26; it continued throughout the war.
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. 65-67.