4-275 Memorandum for the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, March 1, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 1, 1944

Subject: World War II

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

March 1, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


Subject: Your Memorandum of 24 February on Proposed Directive

to CINCPOA and Memorandum of 27 February on JCS 713.1

With regard to my proposed message to Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur, I understand that Admiral Bieri2 and General Handy have reached an agreement on the form that this should take. A copy of the revised dispatch is inclosed. If it meets with your approval, I shall see that it is cleared with Admiral Leahy and General Arnold and dispatched at once.

The part of the message I proposed, querying Nimitz about the feasibility of by-passing Truk has been omitted in the revised draft. This was done first because we were told that Admiral Nimitz was covering the specific points in question in his report which would soon be forthcoming, and also because he is to be here in person. However, I wish to make it clear that I wanted the Chiefs of Staff to have this information from Nimitz in his status as a Theater Chief whose command includes large Army ground and air forces. It was not intended in any degree to interfere with your function as the Executive of the Chiefs of Staff for the Pacific Ocean Areas.

I understand that you have no objection to directing the Joint Staff Planners, in conjunction with the Joint Logistics Committee, to prepare recommendations on the points mentioned in the last paragraph of my memorandum.3 The Planners have been studying various phases of this subject, including most of the operations included in GRANITE and RENO III (Modified). They are also considering the redeployment of forces in the Pacific upon completion of the MERCANTILE-FOREARM operations.4 It seems to me that what is urgently needed now is an integrated study of all these operations, setting up tentative sequence, timing and allocation of resources. This, of course, would include consideration of the directive for the next operation in the Central Pacific which you proposed in your memorandum of February 24. I suggest that the following directive be issued to the JPS and JLC:

“It is desired that you consider as a matter of urgency appropriate current studies together with latest recommendations from Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur and submit recommendations to the JCS covering the following:

a. Most feasible approach to the vital Luzon-Formosa-China Coast Area.

b. Tentative sequence and timing of operations necessary to penetrate and occupy the Luzon-Formosa-China Coast Area.

c. Directives for the operations in the Central and Southwest Pacific immediately following MERCANTILE-FOREARM.

d. The availability of resources for advance in both the Southwest Pacific and Central Pacific areas toward the Luzon-Formosa-China Coast Area.

e. Redeployment of forces in the Pacific upon completion of MERCANTILE-FOREARM.”

If you concur in the action indicated above, I believe we will have the data necessary to make our decisions without referring JCS 713 back to the Joint Strategic Survey Committee. However, since you propose it, I see no objection to returning JCS 713 to the Committee with the request that they consider the paper in light of the comments in my memorandum. I suggest also that our correspondence on this subject accompany the paper.







In clarification Paragraph 5 CCS 417/2 the Joint Chiefs of Staff have decided that our first major objective in the war against Japan will be the vital Luzon-Formosa-China Coast Area. Strategy will be directed to attain this objective by the most direct and expeditious course possible. Direction of such strategy, including allocation of means, continues to be the function of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As indicated in Paragraph Seven Fox CCS 417/2 planning should be conducted on a basis which will permit flexibility in adjusting operations to the developing situation. To this end plans should be prepared for all probable operations. Timely recommendations regarding the adjustment of succeeding operations to the changing situation will be required by Chiefs of Staff.5

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. On February 24 Admiral King had sent to Marshall a proposed directive to Admiral Nimitz to prepare for operations to gain control of the Carolines. On February 27 King had replied to a February 24 Marshall (staff-drafted) memorandum to Admirals Leahy and King which discussed J.C.S. 713, Strategy in the Pacific. Marshall’s memorandum suggested that the Joint Staff Planners and the Joint Logistics Committee prepare more specific recommendations regarding allocation of resources and timing of operations in the Central and Southwest Pacific (see note 3). King proposed that the Joint Strategic Survey Committee should be requested to revise its paper accordingly. (King Memorandums for the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, February 24 and 27, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OPD, ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43)].)

2. Rear Admiral Bernhard H. Bieri (U.S.N.A., 1911) was assistant chief of staff for Plans in the Navy Department.

3. The Joint Staff Planners (J.D.S.) and the Joint Logistics Committee (J.L.C.) were to prepare recommendations on the following: “I. The most feasible approach to the vital Luzon-Formosa-China Coast area. 2. The availability of resources for advances on both the Southwest Pacific and Central Pacific axes toward the Luzon-Formosa-China Coast area. 3. Tentative sequence and timing of operations in the Central and Southwest Pacific areas with assignment of resources.” (Marshall [ODD] Memorandum for Admirals Leahy and King, February 24, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

4. Manus Island-Kavieng.

5. Admiral King concurred in the wording of the directive to the J.P.S. and the J.L.C. and in the message to MacArthur and Nimitz. “I am concerned lest the absence of a definite plan for the immediate future may kill the momentum of the drive now under way in the Pacific,” wrote King. He therefore asked Marshall to consider approving his proposed directive to Nimitz regarding occupation of the Carolines. (King Memorandum for Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, March 1, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 323.3 DOA].)

The proposed despatch was sent from the War Department the next day. (Joint Chiefs of Staff to MacArthur and Nimitz, Radio Nos. 4785 and 729, March 2, 1944, NA/ RG 165 [ODD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-682)].) C.C.S. 417, Overall Plan for the Defeat of Japan, December 2, 1943, is printed in Morton, Strategy and Command, pp. 668-72. For further information, see the following document (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-276 [4: 326-27]).

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. 324-326.

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