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To General Douglas MacArthur
July 3, 1942 Radio No. 334 Washington, D.C.
Personal for MacArthur.
Yesterday an agreement was reached regarding the proposed operation in the terms of King’s proposal that up to Tulagi the operation would be under naval direction and thereafter under you.1 This agreement was reached with great difficulty since the navy abandoned the proposal finally accepted and pressed to carry out the entire operation directly under US Chiefs of Staff with Ghormley in command.
I feel that a workable plan has been set up and a unity of command established without previous precedent for an offensive operation. I wish you to make every conceivable effort to promote a complete accord throughout this affair. There will be difficulties and irritations inevitably but the end in view demands a determination to suppress these manifestations. King is in San Francisco today conferring with Nimitz. Ghormley will be ordered to visit you in Melbourne.
The directive indicates possibilities under which the Naval contingent might be withdrawn. This was stated as a possibility all should be aware of and must not be interpreted as indicating an intention to suspend the operation with the occupation of Tulagi. The directive changes the boundary and provides that troops for the occupation of Tulagi are to come from Ghormley’s area. These provisions were included by me in order to avoid the depletion of your command for this purpose and to free you from the burden of maintaining a garrison in Tulagi which apparently can better be done with Ghormley’s shipping resources and from New Caledonia.
Probably 3 carriers will be in the Naval task force as the Wasp is now en route, I understand, to the South Pacific escorting a convoy of marines from San Diego in combat loaded boats.
We will do everything in our power to increase your air complements for this operation.
The British proposals as to naval cooperation from the Indian Ocean have not yet been received due most probably to the desperate emergency which has developed in the Middle East. We have hesitated to press them at this moment but will do so in a few days.
The directive for reasons of secrecy in securing codes will be forwarded to you through Leary.2
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 10, Item 7b, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. See Marshall Memorandum for Admiral King, July 1, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-243 [3: 261-64].
2. “It is unnecessary for me to tell you that you can count upon my complete cooperation with regard to the directive delivered to me today and which was referred to in your 334 third,” replied MacArthur. “I am inviting Admiral Ghormley and his Marine Division Commander and their Staffs to unite temporarily with me here to coordinate on details and phases. I shall suggest that Admiral Ghormley continue as the Commander of all Forces afloat during the entire operation. I shall ask him to establish his Headquarters with me up to the moment of his going to sea.” (MacArthur to Marshall, Radio No. C-21, July 4, 1942, NA/ RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 10, Item 23a].)
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. 265-266.