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To General Douglas MacArthur
August 31, 1942 Radio No. 1328 Washington, D.C.
For General MacArthur’s eyes alone.
Your Cast 381 August 30th was read and discussed by me with the President last night.1 It has been furnished the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and will be formally considered by them. Your concern is entirely appreciated here I think.
The trends and possibilities in the Pacific have been carefully weighed and reweighed in connection with recent decisions involving world wide strategy which were made on the highest level. You have recently been informed of reinforcements, ground and air, which are en route or are being prepared for the Pacific and Southwest Pacific areas. King has directed the return of SWPA naval units to you. Every emphasis will be placed on uninterrupted flow of air replacements to these areas.2
The defense of the Pacific areas particularly in air and naval matters will depend to a large degree upon the closeness of the cooperation and coordination of the forces now available to you, Nimitz and Ghormley.
Document Copy Text Format: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), Project Decimal File 1941-43, 381 South Pacific Area [9-2-42], National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. “With the greatest reluctance and only impelled by the gravest sense of duty,” MacArthur warned that unless significant reinforcements were sent at once the Allied position in the South and Southwest Pacific areas would soon be faced with disasters resulting from the rapid Japanese buildup in the region over the past two months. “I beg of you most earnestly to have this momentous question reviewed by the President and the Chiefs of Staff lest it become too late.” (MacArthur to Marshall, Radio No. C-381, August 30, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 1, Item 1i].)
2. On August 30 Operations Division chief Thomas T. Handy had told Marshall that beginning in mid-September the Forty-third Infantry Division and several other combat and service units were to embark from the West Coast and that “the flow of heavy and medium bombardment airplanes and fighters was greatly accelerated in August.” Any reinforcements in addition to those already planned “would have to be provided by diverting troops and shipping from other theaters. Such diversion would entail a revision of overall strategic policy.” (Handy Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, August 30, 1942, ibid.) On September 2 Marshall sent to Roosevelt copies of MacArthur’s C-381 and his Radio No. 1328, noting that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had formally considered the issue on September 1, that the Joint Planning Committee was studying the matter further, and that reinforcements were being sent. (Marshall Memorandum for the President, September 2, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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), p. 330.