3-053 Memorandum for Mr. Harry Hopkins, January 14, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: January 14, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for Mr. Harry Hopkins

January 14, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]


Subject: Funds for Airplanes and related Equipment.

Dear Harry:

The Bureau of the Budget is considering the 33,000 airplane program (twelve and a half billions) which, in effect, extends the present production from six months to a year, and also increases the output of heavy bombers to 1,000 per month.1 We have been urging quick action in this matter because delays necessarily will cause the curtailment in production beginning as early as August, 1942, since arrangements must be rushed to provide the necessary raw materiel and sub-assemblies.

General Arnold was called to the Bureau of the Budget this morning by Mr. Blandford, and consulted regarding the wording proposed in the attached paper which I have marked A.2

Yesterday General Arnold, as well as the other members of the combined Chiefs of Staff committee signed the attached resolution or proposal, which I have marked B.3

The Bureau of the Budget proposal is fundamentally antagonistic to the Chiefs of Staff proposal. From my hurried examination, it is not only fundamentally opposed but, in effect, it upsets our whole conception of unity of control and strategical direction of this war. If I am right, this would be a tragic mistake, particularly at this moment when we are apparently just getting under way on a sound basis.

Will you telephone me what is behind this.4

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. The Fourth Supplemental National Defense Appropriation Bill for Fiscal Year 1942 (H.R. 6448) was introduced on January 19, passed by the House (January 23) and the Senate (January 28), and signed by the president on January 30. It provided $12,525,872,474 to procure twenty-three thousand combat and ten thousand training planes (plus certain related expenses) through August 1942. Clarence Cannon, a Missouri Democrat and chairman of the House Approproations Committee, observed that the bill was “handled with the greatest expedition and dispatch of any major appropriation bill within the memory of any now on the floor of the House.” (Congressional Record, 77th Cong., 2d. sess., vol. 88, pt. 1: 590-615, 787-90; Cannon’s remark is on p. 590.)

2. John B. Blandford, Jr., was assistant director of the Bureau of the Budget. Attachment “A” was a proposed provision stating that the aircraft to be procured with the supplemental appropriation “may be retained by or transferred to and for the use of such department or agency of the United States as the President may determine, in lieu of being disposed of to a foreign government, whenever in the judgment of the President the prosecution of the war will be best served thereby.” In the bill as signed, this provision simply limited the total value of material procured through the appropriation and disposed through lend-lease to a maximum of $4,000,000,000. (Ibid., p. 595.)

3. Attachment “B” was the memorandum by the Combined Chiefs of Staff for the president and the prime minister quoted in the editorial note above.

4. This same day, shortly before the ARCADIA Conference’s final plenary session at 5:30 P.M., Marshall and Hopkins met with Roosevelt, who read a statement supporting the original British conception of a bifurcated Munitions Assignments Board. Marshall repeated the arguments he had used with the British Chiefs of Staff the previous day. Moreover, according to Robert Sherwood: “Marshall felt so strongly on this subject that he informed the President that unless the conditions as he stated them were accepted he could not continue to assume the responsibilities of Chief of Staff. He advanced the unanswerable argument that neither he nor any other Chief of Staff could plan military operations and carry them through if some other authority, over which he had no control, could refuse to allocate the materiel required for such operations.” Hopkins supported Marshall’s views. At the plenary session, Marshall reiterated his position and Hopkins his agreement with it; the president backed his advisers against Churchill and Beaverbrook, who finally acquiesced to a trial period. (Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History [New York: Harper and Brothers, 1948], pp. 471-72.)

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. 64-65.

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