3-492 Memorandum for the Secretary of War, February 1, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 1, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Secretary of War

February 1, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]


Subject: Memorandum to the President relative civil administration under Eisenhower.1

I have read over your last draft—before it was retyped, as a matter of fact—and have the following comments to submit:

I should suggest that your first paragraph be somewhat modified to avoid confusion. The fact is, Mr. Murphy is being set up as joint head of a civil section which will handle civil matters (See attached radio.) Also, my comments were largely based on personal opinion that Mr. Murphy lacks administrative and organizing ability, which I do not care to submit to the President either for myself or for Eisenhower—he must present his own view if he sees fit. The message regarding Mr. McCloy was based on a desire to give Eisenhower the benefit of McCloy’s practical knowledge and good judgment.

In this connection your last sentence of the first paragraph does not include the fact that Eisenhower is now in process of reorganizing his civil affairs staff, and that I had been pressing to give him the benefit of McCloy’s sound judgment while he, Eisenhower, was in the process of organization.2

In Section II, second paragraph under 6 you state that the Imperial Council “is not yet perfect enough or sufficiently generally acknowledged to be considered a successful general government of North Africa”. The President disavows any acceptance of an “Imperial” council. This will irritate him and divert his thoughts from the basis proposal of your paper.3

Otherwise I have no suggestions to offer.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. Stimson’s lengthy memorandum described the problems of civil-military relations during four previous United States military occupations of foreign countries, concluded that the economic and political problems the Allied command faced in North Africa were similar to those previously encountered, and recommended that the War Department be given the authority to solve these problems rather than dispersing power among numerous civilian agencies, as had been done with unfortunate results in the past. (Stimson to Roosevelt, February 1, 1943, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [General Correspondence].)

2. The first paragraph of the version that was addressed to the president after Marshall’s suggestions had been incorporated summarized the situation in North Africa. “During your absence General Marshall cabled me from Casablanca as to the increasing difficulties which beset General Eisenhower and were thus imperiling his conduct of his military operations, and asking me for help in the solution of this problem. These difficulties relate to civil matters although they directly affect military operations. They are also administrative in character and not diplomatic. They do not come within the purview of anything that would normally be handled by the State Department. Since his return Friday night General Marshall has reemphasized to me the pressing character of these difficulties. He informs me that Eisenhower has already begun to organize a staff to handle these civil matters and asks me if I will send McCloy out there to give Eisenhower the benefit of McCloy’s practical knowledge and good judgment on the process of organization. I am anxious to do so and to thus help Eisenhower. But I am unwilling to do so unless you are acquainted fully with my concept of the situation and fully approve of my so doing.” (Ibid.)

3. The sentence was amended to read: “The so-called Imperial Council set up by Darlan just before he died, is not perfect enough or sufficiently generally acknowledged to be considered a successful general government of North Africa.” (Ibid.)

4. A note attached to the memorandum indicates that Stimson took the document to the White House on February 3, but the president apparently did not read it. On April 30, John J. McCloy sent the memorandum to Harry Hopkins, but it was returned with the notation “not shown to the President.” Nevertheless, the question of the War Department’s role in the civil affairs of occupied territories did not disappear; see Marshall Memorandum for General Hull, February 26, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-533 [3: 565].

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. 524-525.

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Holding ID: 3-492

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