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Memorandum for Mr. McCloy
August 21, 1945 Washington, D.C.
Reference the withdrawal of Allied troops from Italy, I feel, and General Handy and General Hull concur, that we should go ahead with the withdrawal of troops from Italy down to one division. Also I feel that the determination regarding this division should be considered temporary as it is highly desirable that we evacuate our troops from Italy.1
I am inclined to feel that we do not cure the situation at all by prolonging the agony and that we would become rather seriously involved the moment we check up on our procedure and thereby proclaim our intention to stabilize that country with American troops. I can understand the Ambassador’s feelings, but he and I have differed before, incidentally, over his desire to bar American troops from Rome, shortly after its liberation by their fighting.2
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. McCloy had recently returned from a visit to Italy, where he found Alexander C. Kirk (United States ambassador since December 1944) and most of his associates worried that removing all U.S. troops from Italy would encourage increased political violence from the leftist parties before Ferruccio Parri’s recently formed coalition government had a chance to establish itself. McCloy observed that his “inclination is to pull out all but the one division [which already was scheduled to remain because of the recent agreement with Yugoslavia regarding the partition of the department of Venezia Giulia], although it may be risky to do so.” (McCloy Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, August 20, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. In April 1944, Kirk had become the U.S. representative on the Allied Advisory Council for Italy, and in September he had become U.S. political adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander in Chief, Mediterranean Theater. On the social and logistical problems experienced in Rome after its June 1944 liberation, see Ernest F. Fisher, Jr., Cassino to the Alps, a volume in the United States Army in World War II (Washington: GPO, 1977), pp. 234-35.
McCloy returned the original of Marshall’s memorandum with the handwritten note: “This has been approved in substance by the Committee of Three at its meeting of Aug. 21, 1945.” The Committee of Three consisted of the secretaries of the State, War, and Navy departments (or in this case, their designated representatives).
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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 284-285.