4-094 To General Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 1, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 1, 1943

Subject: World War II

To General Dwight D. Eisenhower

September 1, 1943 Radio No. 6595 Washington, D.C.


From Marshall for Eisenhower’s Eyes Only.

Thanks for your generous attitude regarding Bradley. Have him make preparations to leave for England.1 Formal orders will be radioed.

I am assuming you will wish to keep his Corps Headquarters. If not important to do so find out from him if there is any of the personnel he would wish to have transferred to England. Tell him that he will head an Army Headquarters and will also probably have to develop an Army Group Headquarters in order to keep pace with the British planning and requisitions.2

If by chance you plan to give Bradley’s Corps to Lucas and you want someone to replace Lucas in his present job, let me know and state your choice.3

The President will submit your nomination as a Major General upon the reconvening of Congress September 15th.4 I think it will be confirmed by prompt acclamation. However do not be upset if a small political attack is launched against the President for taking advantage of the absence of Congress to make a recess appointment when by a short delay he could have proceeded in the normal manner. This may be connected up with some further attack along the lines of favoring the European Theater and slighting the Southwest Pacific. I do not think this will develop but do not want you to be upset if it does because it bears no relation to you personally or the regard in which you are now held. I felt that it was important to clear up this matter without delay as you had had no formal appreciation of your work since landing in Africa.

Incidently I am now working on a further list of permanent promotions and would like to have your advice in the matter. Having in mind age as well as performance I contemplate proposing Patton and Stilwell for permanent Major Generalcies and possibly Somervell as he is the only one of the three subdivision commanders in continental U.S. who is not a permanent Major General. I then have in mind submitting a list of Brigadiers and grouping them as to rank somewhat in order of the importance of their contribution to the War Effort. McNarney would probably head the list with Kenney, Spaatz and Bradley. Also Eaker, Harmon in the South Pacific, Eichelberger, Handy and Bedell Smith.5

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-305, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. Eisenhower personally informed Omar N. Bradley on September 3 of his new assignment to organize the headquarters of the U.S. First Army and First Army Group in Great Britain. Bradley departed for London on September 8. (Omar N. Bradley, A Soldier’s Story [New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1951], pp. 8-10, 165.)

2. Bradley recalled: “General Marshall’s invitation to raid II Corps for key members of my new Army staff was admittedly what I had been waiting to hear. . . . I could not in good conscience abandon an experienced staff and risk the Channel invasion to an inexperienced one.” (Ibid., pp. 10-11)

3. Major General John P. Lucas was given command of Second Corps on September 9, but he held this position only until taking command of the Sixth Corps on September 20.

4. While Eisenhower held the temporary rank of general, his rank in the permanent army establishment had been lieutenant colonel since 1936. He was promoted to permanent brigadier general then to permanent major general effective from August 30, 1943.

5. Eisenhower replied by letter on September 6 with praise for the men Marshall named, but he suggested that the order of promotion priority to Regular Army brigadier general be: McNarney, Bradley, Handy, Smith, Spaatz, Kenney, Eichelberger, Harmon, and Eaker. (The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, ed. Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., et al. [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970- ], 2: 1388-89.) At the president’s behest, promotions to Regular Army brigadier and major general had been withheld—except for the cases of former Hawaiian Department commander Delos C. Emmons, Arnold, and now Eisenhower—for more than two years “with a view to utilizing such vacancies as a special recognition of outstanding efficiency in positions of great responsibility in the present emergency.” In a memorandum written for Secretary Stimson’s signature, Marshall asserted that the time had come “to recognize the services of a limited group of officers who have emerged from the mass of our Officer Corps as proven leaders.” (Stimson Memorandum for the President, September 9, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Marshall enclosed the list of those to be promoted. Stilwell, Patton, Somervell, and McNarney were advanced to major general effective on September 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively. Promoted to brigadier general effective September 1 were: George C. Kenney (commander, Fifth Air Force), Carl Spaatz (commander, Northwest African Air Force), Robert L. Eichelberger (commander, First Army Corps), Omar N. Bradley, Millard F. Harmon (commander, South Pacific Area Army Forces), Ira C. Eaker (commander, Eighth Air Force), Thomas T. Handy (chief, War Department Operations Division), and Walter Bedell Smith (chief of staff, Allied Force Headquarters, North Africa).

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. 108-109.

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