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Memorandum for the President
September 18, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Visit to Mexico City1
I spent twenty-four hours as the guest of the Mexican Government, on the invitation of General Cardenas, Minister of War, for the 133rd Celebration of the notification of their independence. I arrived in Mexico City on the afternoon of the 15th, called on General Cardenas, and at 10:00 that night was received by the President prior to the formal celebration of the “Grito”2 which took place at 11:00 P.M. and was followed later by supper.
The following day, the 16th, I stood with the President and General Cardenas to review a military parade of some 25,000 troops. This completed the formalities.
The President desired me to convey his greetings to you and to state that while he understood that the United States evidently had sufficient troops for the operations in view, he wished you to feel that whenever the services of the Mexican military forces were required in the common cause they would be made available. He wished me to express his pleasure in the present course of events overseas, and also to say that he hoped very much you would give him the opportunity to entertain you in a seafishing expedition off the West Coast.
General Cardenas wished me to convey to you his respects and most cordial regards.
No requests were made to me for materiel or personnel or regarding the present basis of cooperation between the two governments.
I was received with great cordiality and was accorded the distinction of a position next to the President at each ceremony and at the table.
I should like to explain, Mr. President, that I made this trip without consulting you because the fact that I had given a tentative acceptance a month or more before had entirely escaped my mind and was not brought to my attention until after your departure for Hyde Park. I likewise had failed to advise the Secretary of War. I therefore sent a note to him last Saturday regarding the proposed visit3 and addressed a similar note to the Secretary of State telling him that if he thought there was any question as to the advisability of my making the journey to please send word to the War Department and I could readily find an acceptable excuse for calling off the trip. I am sorry I became involved in such an affair without due and formal reference of the matter. The truth is, I was so deeply occupied in other matters that I must plead that as my excuse.4
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. Mrs. Marshall accompanied her husband. Her recollections of the trip are in Katherine Tupper Marshall, Together: Annals of an Army Wife (New York: Tupper and Love, 1946), pp. 159-64.
2. This was a traditional speech by the president to an assembled multitude from the balcony of the National Palace. General Manuel Avila Camacho had been president of Mexico since December 1, 1940.
3. See Marshall Memorandum for the Secretary of War, September 11, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-107 [4: 125].
4. Roosevelt replied: “Dear George: I am delighted that you had such a successful trip in Mexico. I wish we could think up some method of using even a token force of Mexicans at some point outside of Mexico—just as I hope we can devise some similar token force for the Brazilians.” (Roosevelt to Marshall, September 22, 1943, FDRL/F. D. Roosevelt Papers [PSF, Departmental, War].) Marshall sent this comment to the Operations Division, which recommended that the chief of staff tell the president that on September 17, when General C