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Memorandum for the President
November 1, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
In the memorandum on October 26 I informed you that the first combat team (5,000 infantry and artillery) of the 25th Division from Hawaii would sail from there on November 15 for the South or Southwest Pacific, according to circumstances.1 The sinking of the PRESIDENT COOLIDGE at Espiritu Santo has forced a change of schedule, delaying the initial movement until November 25. The next combat team will sail from Hawaii about December 1.
The equipment lost on the COOLIDGE was partly made good from our reserve stocks in New Caledonia. The remainder is being assembled on the West Coast for shipment about November 12. Eight 155-mm guns lost on the COOLIDGE are being replaced by eight removed in the South Pacific from a shipment to Australia. This was with MacArthur’s consent. These guns for Australia will, in turn, be sent from the West Coast on the first cargo vessel to leave for that area.
Following your query as to what difficulties we were having regarding the Anglo-American Air Force to Caucasia, I had an inquiry made of London by Sir John Dill to find out what difficulties they had learned of, as we had no information on the subject. The reply to his inquiry has just come, and I quote it below:
Russians have not yet accepted our offer. Consider precipitant action on our part might have detrimental effect on negotiations with Russia concerning defense of North Persia. We have decided, therefore, to postpone dispatch of telegram concerning air mission for the present.
Dill comments that this reply “doesn’t take us very much further, I am afraid. Russians don’t help us much to help them.” I am checking on the matter further through our people in the Middle East.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. On October 26 Marshall sent the president a lengthy memorandum drafted in the Operations Division that described the military situation in the South Pacific and the War Department’s efforts to reinforce the region. (GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. When the Soviets did not disclose their intentions regarding the Caucasus plan, the British sent a special mission to Moscow in late November to discuss the subject. The Soviets made it clear, however, that they desired increased aircraft deliveries, not a U.S.-U.K. air establishment on their territory. A political impasse developed; following an exchange of messages between Roosevelt and Stalin, the subject was dropped in mid-December. (Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, pp. 334-36.)
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. 418-419.