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Memorandum for the President
May 25, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Dr. Evatt’s request for the R.A.A.F.
Since your brief conversation with me yesterday evening on the above subject I have gone into the matter again and as a result submit a new draft for a reply by you to Dr. Evatt. It is attached.1
It is my opinion that to meet Dr. Evatt’s request at this time we must do definite harm to our program in some direction. I wish you would consider these aspects of his request.
We agreed a few weeks ago to a material increase in the air forces to the Southwest Pacific and those reinforcements are now en route or, in the case of the heavy bombers, have already arrived.
These additional planes proposed by Dr. Evatt amount to approximately a 42% increase in the total air forces, actually 64% of the present U.S. air force under MacArthur.
The British Chiefs of Staff have discussed this with the representative of the R.A.A.F. in Washington and they do not agree with Dr. Evatt’s proposal.
It is not a small matter but a very large one. Frankly, he has pounded us with propaganda and personal pressures. We will be seriously hurt if we submit to his demands.
If the attached letter does not meet your views I am prepared to redraft it accordingly.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. Herbert V. Evatt, Australian minister for external affairs, had discussed with President Roosevelt the Australian government’s desire for additional squadrons to implement the Royal Australian Air Force program. At the May 20, 1943, meeting of the Pacific War Council, Prime Minister Churchill announced that he and Roosevelt had agreed on allocating additional aircraft to Australia. (Foreign Relations, Conferences at Washington and Quebec, 1943, p. 138; Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1943-1944, p. 99.) The attached draft for Roosevelt’s signature stated that the 1943 plane production schedule would not exceed existing commitments. “It does not appear the part of wisdom to promise you an increase which quite evidently can only be obtained by the reduction of other commitments. This course involves either overruling the decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff or so cutting into our U.S. training program as to reduce the output of trained combat crews.” (Draft letter to Evatt, attached to the present document.)
2. The proposed letter to Evatt was not dispatched. Evatt, however, submitted a revised program on June 3 that extended the proposal period from the end of 1943 to the end of 1944. The president then decided to give the Australians six squadrons of obsolete army and navy planes by the end of 1943. (McNarney Memorandum for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, June 5, 1943, and Evatt to Roosevelt, June 3, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, Project Decimal File 1941-43, 452.1 Australia]; Matloff, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1943-1944, p. 99.)
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. 702.