3-116 Memorandum for the President, March 4, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 4, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the President

March 4, 1942 Washington, D.C.


Subject: Defenses of Ireland.

I have discussed with Admiral Stark and General Arnold the questions raised in the attached letter from the American Minister in Dublin. We feel that the matter of placing additional American troops in Ireland should not be presented to the Combined Chiefs of Staff at this time.1

As you know, we are in process of sending to Ireland a force of three triangular and one armored division with supporting ground troops, totaling about 105,000 men. Plans contemplate sending an additional 50,000 men, including 22,000 Air Corps, when the units become available. The movement of these forces will require the use of all available shipping for a considerable time.

A comprehensive study is now being made to determine the most effective allocation of American forces to specific areas in 1942. This study will form the basis for decisions by the Combined Chiefs of Staff affecting the use of American forces in all areas.

G. C. Marshall

Document Copy Text Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers, President’s Secretary’s File, Safe, Marshall, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. Without consultation with Irish Prime Minister Eamon de Valera, the United States had reinforced two British divisions stationed in Northern Ireland with one regiment and support troops in January 1942. Nevertheless, United States Minister David Gray feared that the Allied garrison could not defend the island against attack. In a letter to the president, Gray wrote that British intelligence officers estimated that Germany could invade Ireland with two hundred thousand airborne troops and an amphibious assault by three divisions. Gray urged Roosevelt to meet this threat with nine more U.S. divisions and sufficient air units to defend against German bombers. (Gray to Roosevelt, February 16, 1942, FDRL/ F. D. Roosevelt Papers [PSF, Safe, Marshall]; on the stationing of troops in Ireland, see Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, 1942, 7 vols. [Washington: GPO, 1956-63], I: 751-60.) On March 21, Gray urged that the United States either occupy strategic points in Eire or supply munitions to the Irish Army. (Ibid., pp. 759-60.)

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), p. 120.

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