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To General Douglas MacArthur
June 10, 1942 [Radio No. 204] Washington, D.C.
For MacArthur only:
During my absence on inspection trip your 913 June 8 received and our 198 June 8 dispatched.1 Prior to June 5 I started Operations Division working on troop shipment logistics for operation of same general nature as you propose but with greater naval strength. Two teams of trained amphibious marines totalling ten thousand men are now at Wellington and Samoa with eight transports equipped for combat loading. Ordinary convoy transporting Thirty-seventh Division (less one regiment now at Tongatabu) are now in vicinity of Fiji and New Zealand. We are considering sending this division on to northeast Australia but transports must return to United States immediately thereafter. I am preparing to urge Navy to move heavy task force of two or three carriers into Australian waters and also to persuade British to send one or two carriers from Indian Ocean with (some) small naval escort. Additional bombers would be detached from Hawaii and South Pacific islands for your temporary reinforcement. All the above would be available for operation against New Britain and New Ireland. Until I have had opportunity to break ground with Navy and British (here) please consider all this personally confidential, not discussing it at present with Navy, British or Australian officials. I am giving you the foregoing merely as an outline of possibilities in order that you can both make tentative plans and give me personally additional recommendations to help me bring about agreements here. This last is the most critical factor and should be handled carefully. I find King has already communicated with British regarding their operating carriers in Timor region.2
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 9, Book 16, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. On June 8 MacArthur radioed that Japanese defeats in the Coral Sea and at Midway, particularly their loss of carriers, had “brought about a new situation which should be exploited at the earliest possible date through offensive action.” His first objective would be the New Britain-New Ireland area using three Infantry divisions: the United States Thirty-second and Forty-first and the Australian Seventh. But these troops were not equipped or trained for an amphibious assault. MacArthur requested that one amphibious division and a naval task force including two carriers be made available to him as soon as possible. “With such a force I could retake that important area, forcing the enemy back 700 miles to his base at Truk with manifold strategic advantages both defensive and offensive with further potential exploitation immediately possible.” (MacArthur to Marshall, Radio No. 913, June 8, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 381 SWPA 1942-43].) Marshall replied that MacArthur’s recommendations were being discussed with the navy. (Marshall to MacArthur, Radio No. 198, June 8, 1942, MML/RG 4 [Correspondence, War Department].)
2. MacArthur replied to Marshall that he was aware of “the extreme delicacy of your position and the complex difficulties that face you there.” Marshall was in a delicate position vis-