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Memorandum for the President
February 20, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Field Marshal Sir John Dill.
Dill accompanied me to the Casablanca conference at my suggestion, approval being obtained from the British Chiefs of Staff. His presence there I believe was of vital importance and at one time practically prevented a complete stalemate regarding the differences between Admiral King and Sir Alan Brooke over the Pacific-European theater issue. Throughout the conference it was apparent that after each difficult meeting a great deal was done by Dill to translate the American point of view into terms understandable to the British, also the fact that in certain matters there could be no compromise. It was useless for them to further complicate the discussions.
At my request Dill proceeded on to the East in company with General Arnold and General Somervell, who very much desired this arrangement. General Arnold reports to me that Dill’s presence at New Delhi was the major factor in enabling us to reach an agreement with the British and to stimulate them to aggressive efforts towards mounting a Burma operation. To my surprise he further reported that Dill’s presentation of the British factors to the Generalissimo at Chungking was very effective in bringing about a final apparent accord.1
I have gone into detail in this matter for the reason that I think some special notice should be taken of Dill’s contribution to the Allied cause and also because I think that any special awards on his level are highly inadvisable at this time. Therefore I take the liberty of suggesting that you send him a note of appreciation. There is attached a rough draft of such a note, in case you feel disposed to do this.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. This trip and the conferences with British, United States, and Chinese leaders in the theater at New Delhi, Chungking, and Calcutta were intended to discuss the decisions made at Casablanca regarding an invasion of Burma (ANAKIM) and to reach agreements concerning supply, command, and forces to be employed. (Romanus and Sunderland, Stilwell’s Mission to China, pp. 272-77.)
2. Marshall’s draft read: “Dear Sir John, General Marshall, and later, General Arnold and General Somervell, have told me of the important contribution you made to the British-American conference at Casablanca and especially to the Staff meetings in New Delhi and in Chungking. I want you to know that your unselfish attitude and sound judgment in all matters pertaining to cooperation among the United Nations are deeply appreciated. Sincerely yours.” The slightly amended version the president sent on February 24 is printed in Foreign Relations, Conferences at Washington and Casablanca, p. 721.
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. 557-558.