3-280 To Field Marshal Sir John Dill, August 14, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 14, 1942

Subject: World War II

To Field Marshal Sir John Dill

August 14, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]


Dear Sir John:

I am in complete agreement with your statement that the execution of TORCH must have the complete support and most energetic cooperation of those charged with its implementation.1

Absolute candor among the Planners is essential. The U.S. Planners are deeply concerned with the planning and implementation of several operations at this time and therefore must consider the implications of each on the others. They must foresee and make provision to meet all difficulties involved in the execution of these plans.

I agree that ABC-4/CS-1 includes many of the premises involved in the TORCH operation in its general concept. However, CCS 94 contains provisions which are inconsistent with ABC-4/CS-1 and to the extent of these inconsistencies, must serve to modify the latter document.2 To illustrate, ABC-4/CS-1, which provides for “the wearing down of Germany’s resistance by ever-increasing air bombardment by British and American forces”, is of necessity modified by the provisions in CCS 94, one of which contemplates the withdrawal of 15 groups of aircraft projected for the United Kingdom for the furtherance of offensive operations in the Pacific; the other makes available for transfer from the United Kingdom to the African Theater such heavy and medium bomber units as may be required.

Paragraph 3 of ABC-4/ CS-1, under the subject “Grand Strategy”, states that it should be a cardinal principle of our strategy that only the minimum of forces necessary for the safeguarding of vital interests in other theaters should be diverted from operations against Germany. Paragraph c (4) of CCS 94 indicates we have accepted the fact that a commitment to the TORCH operation renders ROUNDUP (operations directly against Germany) in all probability impracticable of successful execution in 1943 and that we have definitely accepted a defensive, encircling line of action for Continental Europe except as to air operations and blockade. The requirements for the effective implementation of TORCH as now envisaged, and agreed upon would, in my opinion, definitely preclude the offensive operations against Germany that were contemplated in ABC-4/CS-1.

ABC-4/ CS-1 contemplates also such action in the Pacific as will deny to Japan access to raw materials. If we were to implement that provision rigidly, you can readily appreciate the full implications with reference to other projected operations. Therefore, while constituting a guide for our overall strategy, ABC-4/CS-1, it seems to me, must be considered in the light of subsequent agreements, particularly if those agreements serve to modify our concept of strategy as required by developments in the situation.3

You may feel sure that U.S. Planners will enthusiastically and effectively support decisions made by the Commander-in-Chief.

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 signed.

1. “I am just a little disturbed about TORCH,” Dill had written to Marshall. “For good or for ill it has been accepted and therefore I feel that we should go at it with all possible enthusiasm and give it absolute priority. If we don’t, it won’t succeed. From what our Planners tell me, there are some of your people who feel that TORCH is not a good operation. That, of course, must be a matter of opinion but those who are playing a part in mounting the operation must be entirely whole-hearted about it, or they cannot give it all the help it should have and overcome all the difficulties that will arise.” (Dill to Marshall, August 8, 1942, NA/ RG 165 [OCS, 381 TORCH].)

2. “Another point which I think will require clearing up, and that is to what extent, if at all, does C.C.S.94 alter ABC-4/CS.1,” wrote Dill. “I have just re-read ABC-4/CS.1. It certainly covers TORCH and I should have said that it still holds the field as a guide to our major strategical policy. At any rate everyone should be quite clear on this matter. At present our Chiefs of Staff quote ABC-4/CS.1 as the Bible whereas some of your people, I think, look upon C.C.S.94 as the revised version! All I aim at is to ensure that we all think alike—and enthusiastically.” (Ibid.)

3. For further discussion of C.C.S. 94, the agreement reached in July in London, and ABC-4/CS-1, the statement of grand strategy accepted in December 1941 at the ARCADIA Conference, see Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, pp. 294-97.

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. 302-304.

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