3-542 Memorandum for Record, March 3, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 3, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for Record

March 3, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]


Subject: Verbal Message to General Stilwell from General Marshall through Colonel Krueger.1

A brief of points which General Marshall instructed Colonel Krueger to pass on verbally to General Stilwell follows.

1. General Marshall desires that Dr. Soong and General Chu2 be called upon, advised of Colonel Krueger’s trip to China, and asked if they desire any messages transmitted.

2. General Marshall discussed in some detail the battle that is now going on between the British and the U.S. with reference to equipping the French in North Africa. The list submitted by General Giraud is terrific. The British are opposing the equipping of these forces on the ground that the tonnage required will be at the expense of the tonnage they indicated will be needed to handle the requirements for India, which totals between 160,000 and 200,000 tons per month. General Marshall believes that the real British reason is that of confusion and that the requirements for equipping the French will not interfere with shipping required for India. The U.S. has already commenced the movement of equipment to the French in North Africa with shipping obtained generally from local sources. The U.S. plan is to equip three French Divisions along the Spanish Morocco Frontier. This is necessary in view of depletion of General Patton’s forces, which have been reduced from four to two divisions, and by an additional reduction of 3400 men from these two divisions as replacements for the Tunisian Front. The withdrawl of 3400 replacements from General Patton’s forces for Tunisia was required in view of the difficulty in effecting these replacements with limited ocean shipping. The German movements on the North Spanish Frontier are not so active now as they have been. However, the German capability of driving through Spain is too great for our taking a chance. Our forces opposing Spanish Morocco must be of sufficient strength to move right in and immediately secure the Straits should this be necessary.

3. The critical situation with respect to transport airplanes is indicated by the following.

a. General De Witt definitely needs two more squadrons (26 planes) to augment his present air transport strength of two squadrons. Due to losses of coastwise shipping, just about his only method of supplying his forces along the Aleutians as well as up to Nome is by air transport. Our new garrison at Amchitka must be supplied by air. We have had to deny furnishing these two squadrons required.

b. General MacArthur’s requirement for one more Troop Carrier Group has already been delayed from two to three months. The supply of his forces has been primarily by air, even bombers being used for this purpose. There will now be even a further delay in furnishing General MacArthur this Troop Carrier Group.

c. General Eisenhower now has only one-third of the transport planes definitely required for his operation. It is impossible to move air-borne troops on such a hazardous operation without sufficient troop carrier units.

d. The President wants to send thirty additional transports to India-China over and above the 137 transport planes promised by the end of March.

e. General Marshall wants General Stilwell to know that he is opposed to this thirty plane increase, based on the situation described above. General Marshall is further of the opinion that the situation on plane crews, ground facilities and crews are not sufficient to adequately handle this increase.

4. General Marshall wants the following information reference the 1st Cavalry Division to be conveyed to General Stilwell (only General Marshall and General Handy know about this matter, the President does not).

The 1st Cavalry Division is one of our best units, well trained, having a large proportion of old non-coms, and a very great proportion of regular officers, in view of the very small proportionate increase in the Cavalry Arm with reference to other branches. (Increase in the Cavalry has been about 100 percent as opposed to about 17,000 percent to other branches.) It is proposed to move the 1st Cavalry Division by increments to Panama for jungle training. The Division will be reequipped and will be moved probably in June to the South West Pacific Area. The 1st Cavalry Division will move to the South West Pacific Area less horses; its transport will be primarily jeeps and pack mules, it will be equipped similar to a light mechanized division. This division may be moved to the China-India Theater for the Burma operation. General Somervell is working up the logistical requirements for such a move. As to a proper use for this division, General Marshall thought perhaps it could be used in conjunction with the Ramgarh Chinese Corps. General Krueger first asked for this unit.3

5. a. General Marshall discussed the Naval picture in the Pacific which is much brighter than it has been. This is highly secret information. At one time in the Guadalcanal Area, we had no aircraft carriers and no modern battleships, whereas the Japanese had four carriers in that area. Despite our heavy losses in naval vessels, new carriers and modern battleships are now in the area. We also now have in the area Auxiliary Carriers (about 19 knots) converted from oil tankers.

b. The Japanese are now increasing the strength of their barrier, from Timor through Ambon, New Guinea, Solomons, and are strengthening the Marshall Islands. Our problem is to get in behind. We must get places first, we cannot permit the Jap to strike at us.

c. The Navy is big for the Burma operation.

[d.] From all indications Dr. Soong has been very helpful recently in China, and General Marshall feels able now to deal with him with frankness. Dr. Soong knows how Field Marshal Dill is of very great assistance to General Marshall as a go-between. General Marshall should like to deal with Dr. Soong in the same way.

6. General Marshall considers that the Ceylon-Australia air line will be very important in the movement back and forth of personnel in connection with future operations. He does not agree with a recent message sent by the air force to General Stilwell for Marshal Wavell in which it was indicated that the air transport line will be put in by the U.S. if desired by Marshal Wavell with the understanding that “he and the U.S. would enjoy equal rights in personnel and cargo.” General Marshall indicated that he would probably send his own message with respect to this matter; he pointed out that this route is an imperial route, that we have the planes earmarked for the route, and that we planned that the British should control the traffic.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 8, Book 7, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. Lieutenant Colonel Walter Krueger, Jr. (U.S.M.A., 1931), had served on the staff of Operations Division’s Asiatic Section since March 1942.

2. General Chu Shao-liang was commander in chief of the Eighth War Zone.

3. Lieutenant General Walter Krueger had commanded the Sixth Army in the Southwest Pacific Theater since February 1943.

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. 577-579.

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