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Memorandum for the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD [Handy]; Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 [Bissell]; and the Director, BPR [Surles]
July 6, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Mr. Elmer Davis is leaving for the Pacific in about a week. Among other things he will see General MacArthur to discuss the Australian set-up regarding propaganda, etc. According to him there are now two agencies there, one purely General MacArthur and another one combined of representatives from the British, the Australians, the Dutch and the Americans. Mr. Davis would like to be informed as to our views in regard to this matter.
Please advise me.
If there is anything else that he should know before going to the theater please give me the information.1
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. Elmer Davis, director of the Office of War Information, was furnished a letter on July 10 which was drafted for General Marshall’s signature by his staff. Davis was informed that propaganda and psychological warfare were handled in the Southwest Pacific Area by a military group directly under the command of the Australian Land Headquarters and answerable to the Department of External Affairs of the Australian government. MacArthur retained general supervision over these activities, as was proper for an Allied theater commander. “General MacArthur feels very strongly that propaganda and psychological warfare activities can best be conducted by military personnel. Under present War Department policy the theater commander is responsible for the extent to which he uses propaganda and psychological warfare and it is his decision as to what type of organization, what number of personnel and what amount of equipment is needed to accomplish his desires,” wrote Marshall. But regarding the dissemination of information to the Australian public, MacArthur thought such activities were properly handled by civilian personnel of the Office of War Information. Information furnished the American public was handled in the Southwest Pacific Area, as it was in all American theater commands, under the authority of the theater commander’s public relations office. (Marshall [staff-drafted] to Davis, July 10, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 508.