3-200 To Admiral Harold R. Stark, May 20, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 20, 1942

Subject: World War II

To Admiral Harold R. Stark

May 20, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]

Dear Betty:

Several days ago I received your note of May 10th, and yesterday came your letter of May 6th, with its enclosures.1 I was delighted to hear from you and touched by the personal things you had to say. In reply I can only repeat that I miss you here more and more every day.

I asked Colonel Deane to see that you receive copies of the reports you mentioned, also to add one other “Shipment Capabilities.” If anything else comes up I will see that you are provided a copy. These papers Deane is sending to you are to go by hand of General Eisenhower, who with General Somervell (Commander SOS), General Clark (Deputy Commander of the Army Ground Forces), General Lee, (Commander Army Pursuit and Airborne Troops), another General Lee (recent Division Commander and now to command the SOS in U.K.) and General Arnold and Admiral Towers, plans to leave here the 22d of May for London in relation to BOLERO arrangements and reallocation of aircraft.2

Your memorandum of May 2d on your trip and regarding your interview with Mr. Churchill will be for my eye alone, as you request. I was much interested in seeing it and appreciate your thoughtfulness.3

The Army Mess you referred to had just been established as I reached London and I had dinner there one night. I cannot tell from your note whether or not you are a permanent member or an occasional visitor.

I have been terribly busy, more so than heretofore; also I have had to do one 2,000 mile trip in the South, and another is impending to the West Coast.4 The pressures from here and there for this and that, largely planes and ships, grow terrific in volume. Each hostile threat adds to the clamor, and we will have to include stern resolves in our evening prayers if we weather the growing volume of these pressures for dispersion.

I gave Katherine your affectionate reference to her and she was very much pleased. Sunday I flew her down to Roanoke, where she was due to make the speech at the one hundredth anniversary of her college, Hollins. She talked offhand and made a delightful impression. We were back at Fort Myer at six o’clock that evening, where we found a considerable section of the War Department waiting for me with sheaves of papers. All of which recalls to my mind the song of the soldiers with me in Southern Mindoro in the Philippines in 1902. It rained continuously, the only variation being an occasional typhoon emphasis; yet they were out working all day long. There was no town, no diversion, pretty much no nothing, but always they would be singing a song as they came in at night, which had one refrain, “Every day will be Sunday Bye and Bye.” Now-a-days, Sundays are like Mondays and every other day of the week.

With my most affectionate regards and wishes for you

Faithfully yours,

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

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Stark’s letters are not in the Marshall papers. His enclosed memorandums of May 2 on his flight to England and his conversations with Churchill are in GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers (Pentagon Office, Selected).

2. Brigadier General William C. Lee was one of the organizers of airborne units within the United States Army. Major General John C. H. Lee was commanding general, Service Forces (later Services of Supply) for the European Theater of Operations. In addition to discussions on aircraft allocation, the United States officers observed British exercises testing amphibious landing techniques and a new divisional organization, attended a meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff which addressed the command structure for a 1943 invasion and Major General Chaney’s position as theater commander, conferred with Admiral Mountbatten on combined operations and the landing craft issue, and discussed the future Services of Supply organization in Britain. (Eisenhower’s summary of the trip is in Papers of DDE, 1: 318-26.)

3. Stark recorded that Churchill had emphasized “one great objective—HITLER.” The prime minister was obsessed with the German situation on the eastern front, according to Stark, and Churchill believed that Germany’s strategic position was continually deteriorating as Allied pressure mounted. During his conversations with Stark, the prime minister digressed only to comment that his government would not impanel a commission to investigate the fall of Singapore, because it would contribute nothing to the war effort and might have detrimental effects. (Stark Memorandum for Secretary Knox, May 2, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

4. The chief of staff inspected troops of the Western Defense Command from May 22 to 26. Despite reliable intelligence reports that Midway was the next Japanese objective, Marshall feared reprisals for the Doolittle raid in the form of surprise attacks on the West Coast. Accompanied by Doolittle and an officer from the Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Marshall traveled to the coast to survey troop dispositions. The army had reorganized air defenses in the command and Marshall made ground force units in training available to De Witt in case of an emergency. (Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, p. 225.)

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. 206-207.

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