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Memorandum for the Secretary of War
March 10, 1941 Washington, D.C.
My lunch was with Mr. Hopkins alone. The conversation did not include Arnold.1
Mr. Hopkins was discussing a possible way of getting at the “actual necessities” on the British list. He feared that they had asked for too much, in at least some instances; and he was fearful that we might not fully understand their requirements. What he particularly wished to avoid was a delay, and yet he felt that some method of checking either in England or here might be necessary. His idea was that if the principal leaders could talk with one another, they could quickly arrive at a sound list. He cited an example of the list he brought home, which was the result of a series of cuts imposed during a conference under Mr. Churchill’s supervision, and in Mr. Hopkins’ presence, just before he left London.2
He had in mind Arnold, somebody high in rank from the Navy—possibly Stark, and myself, going over for a two or three days’ conference with Portal, of the Air, Dill of the Army, and Pound of the Navy. The conversation ended with the thought that it might be Arnold and Burns—with his detailed knowledge of ordnance as well as troop requirements. The discussion was purely casual.3
G. C. M.
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), Secretary, General Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. The New York Times reported that on this date Marshall went to the White House to discuss essential items for transfer to Great Britain under the Lend-Lease Act. (New York Times, March 11, 1941, p.8.)
2. The following day, Marshall sent to Stimson a list of army equipment—mainly howitzers, ammunition, and vehicles—immediately available for shipment to Great Britain under the provisions of the Lend-Lease Act. (Marshall Memorandum for the President, March 11, 1941, NA/RG 165 [OCS, SGS].)
3. Major General James H. Burns (U.S.M.A., 1908) was the executive officer in the office of the Assistant Secretary of War. The British chiefs of staff referred to were Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, General Sir John Dill, chief of the Imperial General Staff; and Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord sir Dudley Pound. On Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Henry H. Arnold’s trip to Britain, see Memorandum for the President, April 23, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-431 [2: 483-84].
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 439-440,