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Memorandum for the President
April 29, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
In the attached message General Eisenhower raises the question whether you will make an announcement about OVERLORD on or after D day.1 Your desires in the matter are requested.
From the purely military viewpoint, I doubt if it could have any effect upon the success of the landing in view of the extent and rigidity of German control over the lodgment area. I can see no objection to such a broadcast from the military standpoint. There is the question of security in the preparation of its recording, if it is to be recorded, but I believe this can be handled without difficulty.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. General Eisenhower had informed General Marshall on April 28 that in the event President Roosevelt wished to make a public announcement on or immediately following Allied landings on the coast of northwestern France (OVERLORD), then it would be helpful for Eisenhower’s headquarters to have the text as soon as possible. (Eisenhower to Marshall, Radio No. S-50861, April 28, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. “It does not appear practicable at this time to make a definite decision as to the advisability of my making an announcement about OVERLORD on or immediately after ‘D’ day,” replied President Roosevelt on May 1. The president did, however, provide the text of a short message he would make should it seem advantageous. His message thanked Allied military personnel for their efforts, and he was careful to include mention of Russian efforts on the eastern front. (Roosevelt Memorandum for General Marshall, May 1, 1944, ibid.)
President Roosevelt’s tentative draft was sent to Eisenhower. On May 11 Eisenhower wrote to Marshall that “based on military considerations alone,” it was his opinion that neither President Roosevelt nor Prime Minister Winston Churchill should make announcements to the people of Europe until the success of the Allied landings was clearly demonstrated. “Statements by both on D day for the American and British press will undoubtedly have to be made, however,” wrote Eisenhower, “and these statements should be limited to good wishes and encouragement to the Allied troops, and should further the cover plan.” Once General Eisenhower’s forces were firmly established ashore, then there might be real military advantage to such announcements to encourage active participation in Allied efforts by the local population. (H. Merrill Pasco Memorandum for Colonel McCarthy, May 4, 1944, ibid. Papers of DDE, 3: 1860-61.)
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. 441-442.