4-449 Memorandum for the Under Secretary, July 13, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: July 13, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Under Secretary of State [Stettinius]


July 13, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


Dear Ed:

General DeWitt, who is the head of the Joint Army and Navy Staff College here in Washington, has submitted the attached recommendation to the Joint Chiefs of Staff by whom it is now being considered.1 In due time you will probably receive their recommendations.

In the event that this may be talked over by you with some of your people, I would like you to have the following in mind:

After the last World War an effort was made to bring representatives of the Diplomatic Corps and the Consular Service into the course at the Army War College—which Naval officers also attended. The diplomatic representatives very quickly fell out, the members of the Consular Service continuing a little longer, but in a very short time there was no more trace of the State Department. This, to my mind, was a very unfortunate business because political strategy must always have in the background military fundamentals or capabilities—or else written history is a great misrepresentation of what has occurred in the past. When I came into the War Department I found practically no relationship between the War and State Departments except in minor irritating little matters, generally some Ambassador or Minister’s difficulties with the Military Attache or the desire of some Ambassador or Minister to have some portion of our poverty-stricken military equipment made available to some Latin-American country, to build up good will. From this has grown up the present much more intimate relationship, but it is not yet based on a proper understanding of the military involvements or aspects of the various problems. For example, General Eisenhower has an exceptionally fine man, Mr. Phillips, as his political advisor.2 But the latter has no sound basis for comprehension of Army and Navy problems and procedures, which definitely lessens his value to General Eisenhower. (This is not reflecting any expressed or implied view of General Eisenhower. He has never discussed the matter, so far as I know). We put the leading staff officers and commanders of the Army through a strenuous educational course at Leavenworth, later at the War College, and now in the Joint Army and Navy Staff College. We do this so that they will have a general understanding of Army and Navy requirements, which includes Air. Furthermore, particularly at the Army War College, they were given a great deal that had to do with political matters concerning Latin-American, European, and Far Eastern countries, because unless there was an understanding of such involvements the individual would not be competent to advise as a General Staff Officer when such complications arose.

Now General DeWitt, the present head of the Joint Army and Navy Staff College, the one-time head of the Army War College, and the former Assistant Commandant and Instructor at the Army War College during the period of the effort to bring the State Department into the picture, urgently recommends that the Joint Chiefs of Staff propose to the State Department the detail of a few men to take this four-and-a-half months course—not a piece of it, but all of it. When the matter is brought to you, please give it careful attention. The usual answer is, no one is available.3

Faithfully yours,

P.S. Possibly it would be best to keep this letter out of the record or files.

G. C. M.

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. Lieutenant General John L. De Witt recommended that “in view of the close relationship that the functions of the State, War and Navy Departments bear to each other in the prosecution of war” it made sense to include foreign service officers of the State Department in subsequent courses of the Joint Army and Navy Staff College. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy agreed with De Witt: “I think it is a step in the right direction because it will inevitably add some realism to our diplomatic thinking.” (De Witt to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, July 11, 1944, and McCloy Memorandum for General Marshall, July 15, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

2. William Phillips—a career diplomat, a former under secretary of state, and former director of the Office of Strategic Services in London—was General Eisenhower’s political adviser.

3. “I am delighted,” Edward Stettinius replied, “to assure you that the State Department will cooperate in every way possible and will make available just as many of our foreign service officers as is possible.” He added, however, that there was a manpower shortage in the diplomatic service. (Stettinius to Marshall, July 14, 1944, ibid.) General Marshall later recalled: “I sent a note to Stettinius that they always told me the same thing—they didn’t have men to spare, but I said they certainly didn’t have any knowledge to spare either. He revoked their reaction and they sent the first people down to the War College for that course.” (Marshall Interviews, p. 562.)

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. 519-520.

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