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Memorandum for the President from Lieutenant General Joseph T. McNarney
July 31, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
I have spoken to General Marshall with reference to your note to him concerning Mr. Wendell L. Willkie,1 and he directed me to send you the following reply:
“I have no objections to offer relative to the trip which Mr. Wendell L. Willkie proposes in his letter to you of July 29, especially if the trip is for the purpose of bolstering the morale of the leaders in the countries which he proposes to visit. I suggest that he be sent either as your ‘unofficial’ or as your ‘special’ representative.
“Prior to his departure I think you should make it plain to Mr. Willkie that it is your policy to concentrate the means available to the United States in those areas where they will do most to further our strategic aims. I believe he should be instructed that he is not to give the leaders of foreign countries the impression that he will sponsor requests for United States troops or munitions. I mention this because our experience thus far has been that when we send a representative to a foreign country he immediately embraces all of their problems as his own and urges the United States to undertake the solution of them. Each such instance brings about an additional pressure on the War Department to further disperse our available means.”2
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), 095, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. On July 31 President Roosevelt sought the chief of staff’s advice regarding Wendell Willkie’s request to tour Egypt, the Middle East, Russia, and China. “I think that for many reasons Mr. Willkie should take this trip—especially to put some pep talks into the officials of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Irak, Iran and China. I do not know what capacity he should go in—perhaps as a special representative of the President. What do you think?” (Willkie to Roosevelt, July 29, 1942, FDRL/ F. D. Roosevelt Papers [PSF, Willkie]; Roosevelt Memorandum for General Marshall, July 31, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 095].)
2. Willkie recorded his experiences on the 31,000-mile tour which lasted from August 26 until October 14 in One World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1943).
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. 287-288.