3-091 Memorandum for the President, February 2, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 2, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the President

February 2, 1942 Washington, D.C.


With reference to General MacArthur’s telegram of yesterday, suggesting the evacuation of President Quezon and Mr. Osmena, copy attached, it is proposed that the following message be sent to him, which has been concurred in by Mr. Hornbeck and Mr. Hamilton, of the State Department and by Admiral King:1

Reference your number 187, February second: The President and his advisers feel that, if and when military considerations no longer call for continued presence of President Quezon and other Philippine officials, the evacuation of Quezon and family, of Osmena and of other such officials will become desirable.2

The question whether any of those persons, and whether any other persons, including Mr. Sayre and family, Mrs. MacArthur and son, and other Americans, shall at any time be evacuated will be for your decision in the light of the military situation, the feasibility and the hazard of the operation of evacuation, and the wishes of the individuals concerned.

Opportunities for such evacuation should occur shortly with the arrival of a submarine from the south carrying three-inch AA ammunition to you and another from Hawaii also carrying three-inch ammunition.

Steps will be taken to provide for reception of those evacuated at whatever places they may be taken while en route to this country and upon their arrival in the United States. Acknowledge.

As the foregoing has not been paraphrased but is in the language that the code message will take, I suggest that this original copy be returned to me with your decision.3

G. C. Marshall

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), Project Decimal File 1941-43, 370.05 Philippines, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. MacArthur’s message read: “In case of ultimate loss of Bataan and consequent siege of Corregidor the question arises as to the ultimate preservation of President Quezon and his family Vice President Osmena and the immediate members of the Commonwealth cabinet. By that time the usefulness of his presence here due to the changed conditions will have been greatly dissipated. I have no means of evacuating him and his physical condition precludes use of air transportation. It is possible he could sustain a submarine trip. Can any plans be arranged from Washington for his possible evacuation thereto? Under the contingency I have described he wishes to take advantage of the previous suggestion that he be evacuated to the United States.” (MacArthur to Marshall, Radio No. 187, February 2, 1942, NA/RG 165 [WPD, 3251-74].) Marshall sent a copy of the message to Stanley K. Hornbeck, the State Department’s adviser on Far East political relations, and Maxwell M. Hamilton, chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs, noting that the message “raises the issue we have been discussing and makes it possible to send the instructions you desire. This can be done in the light of the fact that there will soon be another opportunity to make the evacuation. Apparently General MacArthur is at the moment unaware of this.” (Marshall Memorandum for Mr. Stanley K. Hornbeck, Mr. Maxwell M. Hamilton, February 2, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

2. Manuel Quezon and his party were evacuated on the night of February 20; United States High Commissioner Francis B. Sayre and his party left on the night of February 23.

3. The text of this memorandum was read over the telephone to Major General Edwin M. Watson at the White House at 4:40 P.M.; the president’s approval was received by the War Department at 7:00 P.M. Another message on the evacuation of Quezon and the possibility of MacArthur’s own movements is in Papers of DDE, 1: 97-98.

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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 94-95.

Digital Downloads




Holding Rights: Public Information
Holding ID: 3-091

Rights: Public Information