2-569 Memorandum for Mr. Hopkins, October 10, 1941

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: October 10, 1941

Memorandum for Mr. Hopkins1

October 10, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]


Dear Harry:

As I recall, you spoke to me the other day about the detail of Colonel Faymonville as Attaché in Moscow. A specific request has not yet come in, but I suppose we will hear from Harriman in due time.2 Meanwhile for your eye only, I send you the following resume which confirms other reports that I had received from several quarters more than a year ago. I am giving you this because I think it might be well for you casually to bring the matter up with Mr. Bullitt, who is referred to in the following comment:

“I don’t know him well, but I do know that competent men who have served with him, such as ex-Ambassador Bullitt and Mr. Henderson of the Russian Division of the State Department, have serious doubts as to his judgment and his impartiality wherever the Soviets are concerned.”3

Personally, we had a great deal of difficulty in controlling him recently while he was serving as a guide to the Russian group.4 He was quite oblivious to instructions and almost defiant of regulations. Of course, the big problem in Moscow is to have the confidence of the Russians, and I imagine he will probably manage that better than anyone else we can send over. There is this further consideration, however. I assume that we will eventually have a mission with the Russians on a parity with the one in London and the one in China, and in that case the man in Faymonville’s position over there should be made a general officer.5


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. President Roosevelt had designated Harry L. Hopkins to “advise and assist” him on lend-lease matters. (Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History [New York: Harper and Brothers, 1948], p. 267.)

2. Philip R. Faymonville had been military attaché in the Soviet Union between July 1934 and February 1939. Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Faymonville had been recalled to Washington from his post as Fourth Army ordnance officer and had been assigned to work in the Division of Defense Aid Reports, which handled lend-lease matters. In early September he was selected to be a member of the Harriman aid mission to the Soviet Union. When that mission left Moscow on October 4, 1941, Faymonville, at Harry Hopkins’s request, remained to act as lend-lease representative. The reports he sent to Washington regarding the likelihood of the Soviet Union’s survival in the face of the German onslaught were markedly more optimistic than those of the United States military attaché. (Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 395; Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, 1941, 7 vols. [Washington: GPO, 1956–63], 1: 846.)

3. The quotation is from Sherman Miles Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, September 30, 1941, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 20241].) William C. Bullitt had been ambassador to the Soviet Union from December 1933 to May 1936. Loy W. Henderson had been assigned to the Moscow embassy between 1934 and 1938, since October 1938 he had served as assistant chief of the Division of European Affairs.

4. Various members of the Soviet military mission, who had arrived in Washington on July 26, were still in the United States in October. In a memorandum for Major General Arnold, Marshall commented: “I will have to talk to Hopkins this morning about the question of bombers for the Russians. His desire is to get the forty-odd Russian aviators out of town, and I understand from him that one of the complications has been the lack of deicing equipment for the B-25s and B-26s. What may I tell him?” (Marshall Memorandum for General Arnold, October 8, 1941, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

5. In mid-January 1942, Hopkins raised the question of Faymonville’s rank. As former Ambassador Laurence A. Steinhardt had left his post on November 12, 1941, and no new ambassador had been named yet, Hopkins wrote: “Faymonville is not only our Lend-Lease representative but he is the only real contact the United States Government has with the Soviets. That is a realistic fact which must be taken into consideration when we are dealing at such long range with Stalin. Faymonville knows the Russians and understands them. The Russians like him. He needs prestige. The Russians must believe that we have confidence in him. It seems to me that the way to do that is to give him temporary rank. Could he be made a Major-General? I know something of the War Department’s misgivings about Faymonville but I think the circumstances warrant your endorsement of him in the light of the political and military situation in Russia. While I don’t want to overestimate this, l really believe that if you would put your hand on Faymonville’s shoulder it would not only give him confidence but aid him immeasurably in dealing with the Russian situation.” (Hopkins to Marshall, January 15, 1942, ibid.) Faymonville was promoted to brigadier general effective January 22, 1942.

Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981– ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 635–636.


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