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Memorandum for the Assistant Chief of Staff, WPD [Gerow]
May 21, 1941 Washington, D.C.
We are continually receiving suggestions as to increases and changes in armament, bombers, etc., along with suggestions of a more far-reaching nature. To provide a base of departure for meeting these proposals we should have a more clear-cut, strategic estimate of our situation from a ground, air and naval viewpoint. With such an estimate kept up to date, the various organizational, tactical and strategical questions which are constantly arising could be answered with more consistency than at present.
Such an estimate should be strategic in nature, and should include the views of the Navy and other interested governmental agencies. However, I believe it premature at the present time to make a formal approach to other departments.
Please contact other divisions of the W.D.G.S. and take the necessary steps to have an estimate prepared to be submitted to me in the rough. It should be brief. Appendices can be added at a later date to support the various statements. The initial paper could be utilized as a basis for obtaining the views of other departments. Then we could revamp the estimate.1
G. C. M.
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the War Plans Division (WPD), 4510, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. The War Plans Division assigned Major Albert C. Wedemeyer (U.S.M.A., 1919) to initiate the study. On July 9 President Roosevelt gave added impetus to the project in a directive to the secretaries of war and navy; this provided Wedemeyer with the principal authority he needed to assemble information for his study from sources outside the War Department. The result was the September 10, 1941, “Victory Program,” a carefully constructed, comprehensive estimate of the manpower and materiel the army would need to participate in a coalition war to defeat the Axis powers, as formulated in war plan Rainbow 5. (Watson, Chief of Staff; pp. 336-40.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 517-518.