4-501 Memorandum for the Assistant Secretary of War, September 7, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 7, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Assistant Secretary of War

September 7, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


Dear McCloy:

With reference to the attached memorandum from you of September 7th, I am not quite clear as to your views because I sense that you did not understand what I meant in regard to secrecy concerning at least the Joint Chiefs of Staff records.1

In a sense I am not concerned about keeping from the Government the knowledge contained in certain records but I am concerned, and deeply, to see that publicity is not given to certain of these records. If by the Government you mean, as I must assume you do, the Congress, of course there could be no secrecy there.

Another phase of the matter: In the main, the formal proposals of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff to the British Chiefs of Staff and vice versa, are not offensive documents, though some of them may contain references to other nations that would not be helpful to the peace and serenity of the post-war period. But among these records are the minutes of the meetings and the statements of the Planners to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and it is to these in particular that I refer in my belief that publicity would be tragically unfortunate in its results.2

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. For Marshall’s previous concern regarding the secrecy of certain records, see Marshall Memorandum for General Handy, August 18, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-484 [4: 554-55]. McCloy had written: “I am inclined to think that the directive as amended by General Handy is sound. I have some difficulties, however, with certain of the implications in his memorandum. I do not believe that either the Combined Chiefs of Staff or the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the last analysis, have the right to keep a secret from their respective governments in papers which deal with combined operations.” (McCloy Memorandum for General Marshall, September 7, 1944, NA/RG 107 [Office of the Assistant Secretary of War, Classified Reference—Subject File, War Department].)

2. Discussion of this issue, in the War Department and with the British, continued for months. In May 1945, versions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff paper on the subject of combined operations records—C.C.S. 701—were sent to various commanders. In September 1945, a Joint Records Depository was established under the Joint Chiefs of Staff and with the collaboration of the National Archives to determine policy.

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), pp. 576-577.

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Holding ID: 4-501

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