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Memorandum for the Secretary of War
February 5, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
In discussions of the War Department’s position as to manpower I have been told—most confidentially—by Mr. Eugene Meyer several weeks ago, the day before yesterday by Mr. Roy Howard of the Scripps-Howard newspapers, and on another occasion by one of the well known radio commentators, in answer to my explanations of the careful study we had given to the question of transporting troops abroad (which bore a direct relation to the strength of the Army) that they have been informed by high-ranking Naval officers that the Army’s figures were wrong. They stated that this has created grave doubts in the minds of members of Congress and of the Press as to the soundness of the War Department’s position.
I ignored Mr. Meyer’s statement and that of the commentator, but Wednesday when Mr. Howard gave me exactly the same information I came to the conclusion that we could no longer ignore the matter. It is becoming too seriously harmful and embarassing to our interests. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff, with the assistance of the Combined Planners, came to a joint decision as to the strength of the Army and Navy in 1943. The only explanation I can think of animating these destructive Navy critics, and that would be no excuse for the action, would be the feeling on the part of some in the Navy that their construction program might be seriously affected by the cargo and troop lift ship program.
I recommend that you address a letter to the Secretary of the Navy informing him of what is going on and requesting that he take the necessary measures to call a halt to such disloyal procedure.1
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 wrote to Knox and received a reply from the secretary of the navy that “a good many ranking officers in the Navy feel very strongly that unless escort vessels can be provided much more rapidly than has been the case for the last few months, it will be utterly impossible for the Navy to transport in security and provide with supplies, the shipping which will be required. . . It is perfectly idle to raise a big army designed for overseas campaigning without providing adequate escorts.” Marshall told Stimson that navy leaders and planners had agreed to current manpower and escort programs in September 1942. (Stimson to Knox, February 5, 1943, Knox to Stimson, February 8, 1943, and Marshall Memorandum for the Secretary of War, February 11, 1943, NA/RG 107 [SW Safe, Navy Department].)
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. 534-535.