4-579 To Admiral Sir James Somerville, November 14, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 14, 1944

Subject: World War II

To Admiral Sir James Somerville1

November 14, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]

Top Secret

Dear Admiral Somerville:

I have your letter of 11 November 1944 which forwarded Admiral Mountbatten’s comments regarding the assignment of Major General Fuller as Deputy Chief of Staff, SEAC.2 General Fuller is vigorous, both physically and mentally and I am confident that his temperament is such that the matter of age pointed out by Admiral Mountbatten would not be detrimental to his state of contentment in the assignment.

If Admiral Mountbatten desires a younger officer for the position of Deputy Chief of Staff, I suggest that he give consideration to the appointment of Brigadier General Thomas Timberman. General Timberman has been ill in India, but I am informed that he will be fully recovered and available for duty the latter part of November. General Timberman is known to Admiral Mountbatten and was, prior to his assignment to the China-Burma-India Theater, Chief of the Asiatic Section, Operations Division, War Department General Staff, where he performed his duties in an outstanding manner. I have a high regard for his ability, tact and selfless devotion to whatever task is assigned him. He was sent to the Far East because of these qualities in an effort to harmonize matters. Wedemeyer asked for him in China but the doctors thought that assignment inadvisable.

Request that you communicate the above to Admiral Mountbatten for his further comments.3

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. Somerville was commander in chief of the British Eastern Fleet and naval commander in chief of the Southeast Asia Command.

2. On November 7, Marshall had recommended Major General Horace H. Fuller (U.S.M.A., 1909), who was fifty-eight years old, to replace Major General Albert C. Wedemeyer, who had left for Chungking to take command of U.S. Forces, China Theater. Marshall noted that Fuller, who had commanded the Fifty-first Infantry Division in the Southwest Pacific Area since early 1942, “has a distinguished combat record and is an excellent administrator and organizer, in addition to possessing marked diplomatic talent.” Mountbatten replied: “I shall be glad to accept him but feel that General Marshall’s attention should be drawn to the fact that until recently the Chief of Staff was 56 and the Deputy Chief of Staff 47, The ages of the new candidates offered to me for these two posts are Chief of Staff 47, and Deputy Chief of Staff 58. Provided that General Marshall is confident that General Fuller is still young minded and vigorous and that he would be happy in such circumstances, I shall be delighted to accept him.” (Marshall to Somerville, November 7, 1944, and Mountbatten to Somerville, Radio No. SAC 9870, November 10, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

3. “Please tell General Marshall that I gladly accept Major General Fuller as Deputy Chief of Staff now that I know he will be content to serve with Chief of Staff several years younger than himself,” Mountbatten replied. (Mountbatten to Somerville, Radio No. SAC 10268, November 18, 1944, ibid.)

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), p. 662.

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