3-226 To Admiral Harold R. Stark, June 18, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 18, 1942

Subject: World War II

To Admiral Harold R. Stark

June 18, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]


Dear Betty:

I have had two notes from you, both referring to the Army group I sent to London the other day.1 I am delighted that they made such satisfactory contact with you and your organization. Incidentally, the PM is due at Anacostia at five P.M. today, to continue these back and forths.2

I am sending General Eisenhower and General Clark back to England Tuesday or Wednesday, Eisenhower to relieve Chaney, and Clark to command the Army Corps Headquarters which will do the ground planning in the south of England. As you already know them, I feel reassured as to their contacts with you and your organization. They are both unusually able men.3

We have a special meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff this afternoon to hear Lyttelton and Donald Nelson make formal presentation of their proposed organization—which we have already informally accepted.4 I think Lyttelton leaves for England tonight.

Each day grows more crowded than the last, and these battles in the Pacific, and the continued complications in Alaska have not lessened the burdens. I am pulled and tugged in so many directions, China, India, Middle East, Bolero, East Coast, West Coast, Ghormley’s new command,5 MacArthur, Emmons in Hawaii, and now Alaska and the Aleutians in a critical situation, that it is difficult to even dream of a peaceful day in the future. However, I keep up my riding every day and continue to feel better than I have for many years—I think because I am so very careful of my health and find opportunities at night to relax.

I have given your messages to Katherine, which pleased her greatly. She thinks the world of you and is always flattered by your references to her, showing that you still have her in mind. She has been away a good bit recently, and is going off again day after tomorrow.

With my most affectionate regards and every good wish in the world 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. Admiral Stark had written on May 26, 1942, that the American military group had arrived in London that morning for planning talks. (For members of the party, see Marshall to Stark, May 20, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-200 [3: 206-7].) On June 1 Stark wrote that the group would be returning shortly to the United States, and “I just wanted to let you know how fine they have been in keeping me informed of their doings, and having members of my staff with them so that we would all be together. Of course it is the only way in the world to work and that should be obvious; yet, we both know it has not always been the rule.” (Stark to Marshall, May 26 and June 1, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

2. Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill arrived in Washington the evening of June 18 accompanied by General Sir Alan Brooke, chief of the British Imperial General Staff, and Major General Sir Hastings Ismay, chief of staff to the minister of defense and deputy secretary (military) to the British War Cabinet. “The main object of my journey was to reach a final decision on the operations for 1942-43,” Churchill later wrote. “The American authorities in general, and Mr. Stimson and General Marshall in particular, were anxious that some plan should be decided upon at once which would enable the United States to engage the Germans in force on land and in the air in 1942. . . Another matter lay heavy on my mind. It was the question of ‘Tube Alloys,’ which was our code-word for what afterward became the atomic bomb. Our research and experiments had now reached a point where definite agreements must be made with the United States, and it was felt this could only be achieved by personal discussions between the President and me.” Of the subjects discussed with Roosevelt, “‘Tube Alloys’ was one of the most complex, and, as it proved, overwhelmingly the most important,” the prime minister recalled. (Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate, a volume in The Second World War [Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950], pp. 374-77.)

3. Admiral Stark replied that Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower had arrived in London on June 23. “We should have a fine time working together, and, I hope between us, will swing the job on this side for you on the other.” (Stark to Marshall, June 24, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

4. On June 9 President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill announced the establishment of the Combined Production and Resources Board, which was to be headed by Donald M. Nelson (chairman of the United States War Production Board) and Oliver Lyttelton (British minister of production). Nelson and Lyttelton had just submitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff a memorandum containing proposals for coordination between the military and civilian production authorities. At the special meeting that afternoon, Nelson emphasized the need to end the present situation in which certain low-level decisions in the various staffs and agencies influenced raw materials distribution which, in turn, influenced strategic policy. Bottlenecks and conflicting requirements and priorities necessitated continuous and close cooperation between high-level production and military authorities, Nelson maintained. Marshall said that he viewed the board’s formation as the completion of the whole combined organization to integrate the United States and British Empire war efforts. Unity of military command had been proven successful, and he hoped for corresponding success in unity of administration. (Minutes of the Combined Chiefs of Staff Meeting, June 18, 1942, NA/ RG 165 [OCS, CCS 334, CCS Minutes].)

5. Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley had been appointed commander of the South Pacific Force and South Pacific Area in April 1942. He had recently established headquarters at Auckland, New Zealand. Previously he had been director of the War Plans Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (1938-39), assistant chief of naval operations (1939-40), and special naval observer in London (1940-42).

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. 239-241.

Digital Downloads




Holding Rights: Public Information
Holding ID: 3-226

Rights: Public Information