3-123 Memorandum for the President, March 10, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 10, 1942

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the President

March 10, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]


The attached message from General MacArthur brings up the issue of whether or not, at least for this emergency, we should pay the Filipino soldier the same amount that is paid to the U.S. soldier who is fighting alongside him in the Philippines.1 Heretofore, the view has been that the difference between the living requirements of the U.S. soldier and the native in the Philippines, especially in view of the U.S. soldier’s higher standard of living, made it appropriate to pay the Filipino in Mex pesos what was paid to the U.S. soldier in U.S. currency—in other words, 50 per cent less than our schedule. At the present time there is no question of different standards of living as they are fighting together on a common basis of rations and equipment and everything else. It would, therefore, appear in the interests of morale that General MacArthur’s request should be granted, that is, we should endeavor to secure the necessary authority—I presume legislative—to permit the payment of the Filipino soldier on a U.S. standard.

There are these involvements:

The number of soldiers involved will be somewhat indeterminate because it will be difficult to state just how many of those in the provinces continue to perform the duties of soldiers. Also there will be the irregular status of those engaged in guerrilla warfare.2

There will also be the possible issue of the continued payment, on a U.S. standard, to Filipino prisoners of war.

Finally we might by this action become involved in the question of the rate of pay of Chinese soldiers.

My recommendation is that we meet General MacArthur’s request by wiring him that the War Department will immediately institute measures to bring about the pay standards he has recommended.

(Dictated over the telephone by General Marshall.)3

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 8, Book 4, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. By the end of February, both sides had dug in behind defensive positions on Bataan, as the Japanese prepared to attack the peninsula. Insufficient food and clothing, poor health, and generally lowered morale combined to reduce the Allies’ capacity to fight. MacArthur had declared that unequal pay was an issue of “intense interest to the troops here and directly affect their morale and fighting spirit.” (MacArthur to AGO, Radio No. 453, March 9, 1942, NA/ RG 165 [OPD, Message Center (USAFFE and Philippines)]; Louis Morton, The Fall of the Philippines, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1953], pp. 384-89, 405.)

2. As of March 1942 there were 67,000 Filipinos and 12,500 Americans fighting on Bataan; 20,000 soldiers—mostly Filipinos—constituted the bulk of the defense of the southern islands. (Morton, Fall of the Philippines, pp. 405, 502.)

3. At the bottom of this copy was typed: “Note for Record: General Watson called General Eisenhower, 6:35 p.m. this date, 3-10-42, saying that the President had approved recommendation of the last paragraph. Colonel Irvine was instructed by General Eisenhower to prepare a message.” The War Plans Division notified MacArthur that the outcome was still uncertain because congressional approval was necessary. (Marshall to MacArthur, Radio, March 10, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 8, Book 4].) Willard W. Irvine was head of the ABDA Section.

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. 125-126.

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