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Memorandum for the President
February 17, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
The following data regarding the situation in North Africa will be of interest to you.
During the period February 4th to February 10th the British have only succeeded in bringing an average of 1340 tons per day through the port of Tripoli. At the same time they have brought forward from Tobruk by motor an average of 700 tons a day.
Their hope is to get 3,000 tons a day through the Port and 1,000 by motor. This would support between five and six divisions. Apparently at the present time there are only three divisions in or west of Tripoli, one Armored and two Infantry. The other divisions so far as we know are far to the rear, probably near Bengazi, where they are being held until supplies can be assured further forward. Of course the transfer to Tripoli can be made rather rapidly once the supplies have been accumulated there.
Our information today suggests that the Germans are stalling off the British Eighth Army with a comparatively small force, and in all probability a fair portion of Rommel’s troops are moving into southeastern Tunisia. This would be a normal procedure, and our problem is one of drying up the mud in northern Tunisia and expanding the port facilities at Tripoli. Apparently all that can be done is being done at high pressure at the present time.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
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. 554-555.