4-014 Memorandum for the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, June 15, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 15, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations

June 15, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]


The action proposed in your memorandum of 14 June 1943 on the anti-submarine air question appears to offer a practical solution to this problem.1

Any agreement arrived at with respect to this matter will undoubtedly serve as a guide for the committee charged by the Joint Chiefs of Staff with determining the proper missions for the Army and Navy air, surface and amphibious forces. Accordingly I believe it highly desirable to formalize, at this time, the entire statement made by Generals Arnold and McNarney to Admiral McCain.2 I understand this statement included matter contained in subparagraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) of par. 1 of your memorandum and also the following: that

a. The Fleet Air Wings which the Navy proposes to station along the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts will contain no striking forces but will be restricted to airplanes capable of undertaking such offshore patrol as is necessary, in addition to pure anti-submarine operations.

b. The Navy agrees that all long-range striking forces for the defense of the Western Hemisphere and for active operations in other theaters will be assigned as an Army responsibility.

c. Long-range patrol planes assigned to Fleet Air Wings of any type are for the primary purpose of conducting offshore patrol and relieving the Army strategic striking forces from this duty.

Before taking up with the Secretary of War the matter of turning over of the Army B-24’s to the Navy as outlined in your memorandum, I should appreciate your comments on the points referred to in sub-paragraphs a, b and c above.3

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. Concerning the control of aerial antisubmarine warfare, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-005 [4: 7-9], Marshall Notes for Conference with Admiral King, June 8, 1943.

2. Marshall and King had established an interservice committee to draw up an agreement on aerial antisubmarine warfare. On June 10, 1943, General Henry H. Arnold, Lieutenant General Joseph T. McNarney, and Rear Admiral John S. McCain met to propose a settlement. The official Army Air Forces history states that the agreement “constituted a radical division of responsibility in the employment of long-range aircraft. In return for unquestioned control of all forces employed in reconnaissance, offshore patrol, and for the protection of shipping, the Navy agreed to relinquish all claims to control of long-range striking forces operating from shore bases.” (Craven and Cate, eds., Europe: TORCH to POINTBLANK, p. 407.)

Paragraph 1 of Admiral King’s memorandum for Marshall listed the following: “(a) the Army is prepared to withdraw Army air forces from anti-submarine operations at such time as the Navy is ready to take over those duties completely; (b) Army anti-submarine airplanes would be continued in that service as long as the Navy has need for them; (c) Army anti-submarine B-24 airplanes would be turned over to the Navy in such numbers as they could be replaced by Navy combat B-24s; (d) The Navy is requested to submit a schedule on which the Army can turn over their planes to the Navy and draw Navy replacement B-24s.” (King Memorandum for Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, June 14, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OPD, 384 AAC Bulky, Serial 33].) King did not mention that part of the quid pro quo that Marshall restates in his subparagraphs a, b, and c printed here.

3. For further developments on this issue, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-027 [4: 33-36], Marshall Memorandum for Admiral King, June 28, 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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 14-15.

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