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Memorandum for Mr. Welles
July 10, 1941 Washington, D.C.
Reference our telephone conversation late yesterday evening: Our Attaché in Moscow notifies us that he has been advised by the Russian officials that they are considering the matter of permitting him to go to the front. Up to the present time we have no notice of his having been accorded that privilege.1
With further reference to the military situation, it would appear that the German Army is on the verge of disrupting the Russian forces, that is, so separating them that they cannot act with any unity. It is believed that the German Army has reached what may be called a phase line, where there has been a pause to permit the foot divisions to get up in closer supporting distance of the armored divisions. This would be a natural pause. It is anticipated that there will be another lunge shortly, which will probably make clear the sub-dividing of the Russian forces. It is not believed their fortified lines amount to very much.2
In the Ukraine it is felt that the German progress has been greater than reported. However, in this particular campaign we have a minimum of armored divisions on the German side, about 2, and a considerably greater number on the Russian side. Nevertheless, the Germans appear to have advanced about 120 miles.
Measured by the map of France, the German general advance is equivalent to a movement from Germany to the Pyrennes.
While long-range estimating is a dangerous business, it looks as though about one-third of the Russian Army might be able to reorganize behind the Volga and possibly make the winter there but more probably in Western Siberia. Unconfirmed reports indicate about 10 divisions from the Eastern Siberian Army moved to the west. If this is so, the Japanese military position in Manchuria will be greatly strengthened.
I am dictating this by telephone to you.
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. Efforts by the War and State departments to obtain permission for Major Ivan D. Yeaton, United States military attaché in Moscow, to visit the front were finally successful on July 28. (Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers. 1941, 7 vols. [Washington: GPO, 1956–63], 1: 781, 900–903.)
2. Lieutenant Colonel Paul M. Robinett, who had begun his duties as assistant chief of staff, G-2, at Army General Headquarters the week after the June 22 German attack on the Soviet Union, observed that at the time “there was almost unanimous agreement among all military men that Russia would be quickly and decisively destroyed. The only difference of opinion seemed to be concerning how long it would take. No one that I know of had any other view.” (GCMRL/P. M. Robinett Collection [Diary, pp. 176–77].)
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. 564–565.