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To General Douglas MacArthur
September 8, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Attached is a short article from TIME of August twenty-first regarding the fighting along the north coast of New Guinea. I requested TIME to do such an article for two reasons. I felt that the struggle then going on between our forces and the Japanese east of Aitape was a dramatic affair of bitter fighting which ended, at least temporarily, with a great American success, yet it passed almost unnoticed in the American press, the attention being focused on Saipan and Guam and on affairs in France. I also wished to have the article include a resume of the characteristics of the campaign along the entire New Guinea coast to the Vogelkop, featuring the distances covered, the complete domination of the Japanese accomplished, and the small number of casualties suffered.1
I am writing you this note because I could not get an article of the character desired due to the fact, according to the TIME people, that I gave them no name or units on which to hand [hang] the Aitape affair. There were two radios sent from me asking for a release on General Wing who we understand was in command of the immediate fighting, though we later learned that a Corps commander had come up to Aitape.2 However, in each case, for reasons presumably of security, no permission for the release of the name was granted. The result was a very ineffective article whereas I think one rebounding greatly to the credit of you and your command and which would have brought the American public to a far better understanding of what was being done, might have resulted.
All of which leads me to this suggestion, that your public relations people give us more names, otherwise you can expect much less of desirable credits for your command than would otherwise be the case.
I have had to take this same line with France and Italy and the results have been quite remarkable but the releases were not given over there until I pressed them in the interests of general morale of the troops themselves who follow the accounts so carefully.
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. In the essay “Seven Forward Passes,” Time noted that “the strategic conquest of New Guinea, world’s second largest island, was completed last week by General Douglas MacArthur” and that “its final phase was all but bloodless,” at least for the Allies. (Time, 44 [August 21, 1944]: 29-30.)
2. Major General Leonard F, Wing, a lawyer who had served between the wars in the Vermont National Guard, took command of the Forty-third Infantry Division in August 1943. His division arrived in New Guinea in early August 1944, during the final stages of the Aitape operation. The Forty-third Division was a part of the Eleventh Corps, commanded by Major General Charles P. Hall (U.S.M.A., 1911).
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), pp. 577-578.