4-615 Memorandum for the Secretary of War, December 21, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: December 21, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Secretary of War

December 21, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


Before receiving your note suggesting that it might be a good thing to send Deane’s letter to the President I had already considered this and had in mind speaking to you about it after you had read the letter.1 Since receiving your note I have had Handy and Hull consider the matter and they both recommended against sending it to the President for the reason that they feel it might prejudice him against Deane,2 and also that it might irritate Mr. Harriman to find Deane’s views were going direct to the President instead of through him.

I agree with them, though I am sorry that we can’t send the letter to the President because his [Deane’s] ideas are very well expressed and I agree with them in toto.3

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. John R. Deane published his letter of December 2, 1944, in his memoir, The Strange Alliance: The Story of Our Efforts at Wartime Co-operation with Russia (New York: Viking Press, 1947), pp. 84-86. He wrote to give Marshall his “general reactions” after a year in the Soviet Union as head of the U.S. Military Mission in Moscow. He recommended that the United States modify its policies regarding lend-lease aid to the U.S.S.R. to insist that the Russians provide justification for their requests and that the Americans receive a quid pro quo on some of their requests of the Russians. “When the Red Army was back on its heels, it was right for us to give them all possible assistance with no questions asked. It was right to bolster their morale in every way we could. However, they are no longer back on their heels; and, if there is one thing they have plenty of, it’s self-confidence. The situation has changed, but our policy has not. We still meet their requests to the limit of our ability, and they meet ours to the minimum that will keep us sweet.”

2. The president had steadfastly opposed using U.S. aid to seek concessions of any kind from the Soviet Union, because the Red Army would be needed against Japan and the wartime alliance would be needed to keep the postwar peace.

3. On January 2, 1945, Marshall asked Deane if he and Ambassador Averell Harriman were “agreeable to the State Department’s seeing this letter and possibly the President? I do not want to take any step that would lead to embarrassing you or weakening your hand. The Secretary of War was very anxious to use your letter as he feels it was a splendid presentation with sound recommendations.” Deane replied that he and Harriman agreed that the letter might be distributed as Marshall suggested. The letter was sent to President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Stettinius on January 3. (Marshall to Deane, Radio No. 85669, January 2, 1945; Deane to Marshall, Radio No. M-22248, January 3, 1945; and Stimson Memorandum for the President, January 3, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 702-703.

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Holding ID: 4-615

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