4-379 Memorandum for the Chief, Army Ground Forces, April 30, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: April 30, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Chief, Army Ground Forces1

April 30, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


The Chief of Staff desires that the attached excerpts from the testimony of War Department officials be immediately disseminated in the Army Ground Forces down to including commanders of divisions, training installations and all independent tactical units.

These commanders will be notified by telephone that the material is being sent to them as a military matter now under discussion before Congress. The material will be forwarded by teletype or other expeditious means.

It is necessary that the senior personnel of the Army be familiar with the attitude of the War Department in this matter, as indicated by the statements of the Secretary of War and other officials before the Congressional Committee.

Officers are to avoid public discussion of these questions, leaving that responsibility to the War Department and those officers who are brought to Washington for the purpose.

A similar memorandum would be given to the Chief, Army Service Forces with its distribution, which would include Service Commands and Technical Services, with added instructions to them to include all posts, camps, and stations.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. This document was issued over the signature of Major General Alexander D. Surles, director of the Bureau of Public Relations. Surles had submitted a draft of this document to the chief of staff, which Marshall edited extensively and to which he added information. Colonel Frank McCarthy forwarded the redraft printed here to Surles, noting that “it has been retyped to embody changes made by General Marshall in his handwriting, and therefore becomes the approved policy on the subject.” (McCarthy Memorandum for General Surles, April 30, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

2. The Woodrum Committee hearings ended on May 19, and the committee submitted a report on June 15, 1944, in which it concluded: “The committee does not believe that the time is opportune to consider detailed legislation which would undertake to write the pattern of any proposed consolidation, if indeed such consolidation is ultimately decided to be a wise course of action. . Before any final pattern for a reorganization of the services should be acted upon, the legislative committee of the Congress should have the benefit of the wise judgment and experience of many of the commanders in the field.” (House Select Committee on Post-war Military Policy, Report on Post-war Military Policy, H. Rpt. 1645, 78th Cong., 2d sess., 1944, pp. 1-4.) The Joint Chiefs of Staff Special Committee for Reorganization of National Defense was established in May 1944 to study “the most efficient practicable organization of those parts of the executive branch . . primarily concerned with national defense.” The J.C.S. directed the special committee to examine the relative advantages, disadvantages, and practicability of one-, two-, or three-department systems of organization. Admiral James O. Richardson (U.S.N.A., 1902) served as chairman of the group, which became known as the Richardson Committee. Accordingly the Richardson Committee began its hearings in June, and in the fall its members visited the various theaters of operations to interview field commanders. On April 11, 1945, the special committee recommended “a single department system of organization of the Armed Forces of the United States. This view is supported by Generals of the Army MacArthur and Eisenhower, Fleet Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Halsey, a substantial number of other commanders in the field, and many officers in Washington.” (Report of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Special Committee for Reorganization of National Defense, April 1945, NA/RG 218 [JCS, CCS 040].) For related information, see editorial note #4-356, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [4: 416] and Marshall to Palmer, November 3, 1944, #4-566 [4: 649-51].

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. 444-445.

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