5-033 Memorandum for the President, February 5, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 5, 1945

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the President

February 5, 1945 [Yalta, Crimea, U.S.S.R.]

I suggest that you send some such message as the following to MacArthur:1

“Congratulations to you personally and to your commanders and troops on the liberation of Manila. This is an historic moment in the reestablishment of freedom and decency in the Far East, and the celerity of movement and economy of forces involved in this victory add immeasurably to our appreciation of your success.

“Please give the men of the guerilla forces my thanks and congratulations on their gallant contribution to the campaign and especially for the years of suffering they have endured in preparation for this moment.”2

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 17, Item 15, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. General Marshall’s handwritten draft of this message is located in NA/RG 165 (OPD, Exec. 17, Item 15). Douglas MacArthur included this “personal message” from President Roosevelt in his autobiography. (Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences [New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1964], p. 249.)

2. During the evening of February 3, the U.S. First Cavalry Division reached the northern suburbs of Manila. For an account of the race by the Thirty-seventh Infantry and First Cavalry divisions of Sixth Army closing in on Manila from the north and the Eleventh Airborne Division of Eighth Army approaching from the south, see Smith, Triumph in the Philippines, pp. 211-36. General MacArthur announced on February 6, “Our forces are rapidly clearing the enemy from Manila. Our converging columns . . . entered the city and surrounded the Jap defenders. Their complete destruction is imminent.” The battle for Manila continued for nearly a month, leaving most of the city in ruins. (D. Clayton James, The Years of MacArthur, 3 vols. [Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970-85], 2: 631-46; quote on p. 637.)

Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger, commander of the Eighth Army, wrote on February 21 that some people thought General MacArthur’s premature announcement of the capture of Manila was because MacArthur was “anxious to get out the announcements while the big conference was going on in the Black Sea area.” General Eichelberger toured Manila on March 3 to find there was “practically nothing that hadn’t been entirely knocked down and in ruins. . . . Manila in effect has ceased to exist except for some places that the Japanese thought were not worth defending or where our American troops got in by surprise.” (Dear Miss Em: General Eichelberger’s War in the Pacific, 1942-1945, ed. Jay Luvaas [Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972], pp. 225, 230-31. For Eichelberger’s account of the Eighth Army in the Luzon area, see pp. 203-31.) For further information, see Marshall to MacArthur, March 1, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-048 [5: 65-66].

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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 47-48.

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