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Reference Appointment MacArthur High Commissioner in Phillipines1
October 26, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
His appointment as High Commissioner might be a good thing provided his command function was not terminated thereby. It is imperative that he continue in military command at least until the Philippine Archipelago has been freed of the enemy and American operations, ground or air, to the south and southwest in the Netherlands East Indies have been completed. It is to be noted that MacArthur’s present theater includes Java and runs, exclusive of Sumatra, to the borders of Malaysia and Indo China.
The appointment of Admiral Yarnell or any other individual to a position of independence of MacArthur would be most unfortunate in its inevitable repercussions.
If the decision is made to appoint MacArthur High Commissioner, I think it would be wise to hold this as a highly confidential matter until the actual time of appointment. Just what the picture will be as we come to the last phase of the Luzon campaign no one can tell at this time.2
Document Copy Text Source: Henry L. Stimson Papers, General Correspondence, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, New Have, Connecticut.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. In an October 25 memorandum, President Roosevelt asked Secretary of War Stimson’s advice as to whether he should appoint Douglas MacArthur high commissioner for the Philippines and, if he did so, whether he should appoint Admiral Harry E. Yarnell, former commander in chief of the Asiatic Fleet (1936-39), as the president’s unofficial representative in the Philippines. Stimson noted in his diary that he was “disturbed” by the suggestion and asked Marshall for his opinion. (October 26, 1944, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 48: 185].)
2. Using Marshall’s memorandum as a basis for his reply, Stimson told Roosevelt that the proposed Yarnell appointment caused him “much anxiety” and that he foresaw “trouble” if it occurred. (Ibid., p. 186.) No high commissioner was appointed until September 1945, when the army ceased supervising civilian affairs in the Philippines. At this time Paul V. McNutt, who had served as high commissioner from February 1937 to July 1939, assumed the post. (New York Times, September 7, 1945, p. 4.)
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. 640-641.