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To General Douglas MacArthur
April 4, 1944 Radio No. WAR-18390 Washington, D.C.
For eyes of MacArthur alone from Marshall.
This refers to current negotiations TOPSEC between yourself and Nimitz concerning the release of the 1st Marine Division.1 These detailed arrangements are entirely up to you and Nimitz. However, you will recall our conversation about the Marine Division. I informed the Navy on my return as to your concurrence and mine in its release as soon as practicable. The Navy made a sizeable concession in agreeing to the transfer of all Major Army Combat Units, including Air, from SOPAC to you. The earliest release of the division which your tactical and shipping situation will permit will materially help in expediting the transfer of other units. Could your discussion with Nimitz be centered on possible loan of shipping by him, the lift he provides for transfer of Marines to be utilized by you to move in unit to relieve Marines. The lack of landing facilities might be overcome in part by exchange of heavy equipment. The Navy is unaware of this proposal.2
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Top Secret Message File CM-OUT-18390, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. On March 31 Admiral Chester W. Nimitz had reminded General Douglas MacArthur that J.C.S. 713/5 provided for the First Marine Division to pass to the control of CINCPOA (Nimitz). “I desire to employ this division in the stalemate operation. Accordingly it is requested that it be disengaged as soon as practicable and withdrawn to a base in the Solomons designated by COMSOPAC [Halsey].” (Nimitz to MacArthur, Radio No. 310410, March 31, 1944, NA/ RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-IN-1889)].) MacArthur replied on April 3: “The withdrawal of the 1st Marine Division from New Britain before the completion of the Rabaul Campaign can not fail to hinder the operation…. The division in my opinion should not be relieved before completion of its assigned mission. If however it is to be withdrawn at some arbitrary date I suggest for planning purposes the latter part of June. There are no docks at Cape Gloucester and it would be necessary largely to utilize amphibious equipment for the relief. Such equipment in view of the prospective operations of the Southwest Pacific Area is not now or apt to be available to accomplish the relief.” (MacArthur to Nimitz, Radio No. 030915, April 3, 1944, ibid. [CM-IN-1738].)
2. For further developments, see Marshall to MacArthur, April 6, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #335 [4: 389-90].
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. 388.