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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
October 21, 1943 Radio No. 536 Washington D.C.
For Eisenhower’s eyes only from Marshall.
In discussions here yesterday and this morning the thought has been expressed that extremely conservative German rear guard actions were bound to continue so long as the employment of the 7th Army and additional divisions and shipping available remained undetermined. That once it became apparent to the enemy that the 7th Army was not to be employed and the troops were moving towards England, there was the possibility if not probability that a counter thrust would be attempted if it could be managed despite the Allies overwhelming air power.
With this in mind might it not be a good thing to have Patton and members of his staff visit Corsica to consider plans for a landing in North Italy or Southern France based on assembly in Corsica. This of course would have to be adjusted with Giraud but that should not be a complicated matter. In any event it seems evident to us that Patton’s movements are of great importance to German reactions and therefore should be carefully considered.
I had thought and spoke to Smith about Patton being given a trip to Cairo and Cyprus but the Corsican visit appeals to me as carrying much more of a threat.1
It seems to me highly important that in the movement of troops towards Great Britain the greatest care should be taken at Gibraltar to prevent the Algeciras Spy System from detecting the fact that combat units are being moved towards England. I am proposing for the U. S. Chiefs of Staff a communication to the British Chiefs of Staff on this subject.2
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-9038, National Archives and Records Service, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Eisenhower replied that the likely rapid disappearance of flying weather would increase the possibility of a German counterattack. “As it is I am quite sure that we must do everything possible to keep him confused and the point you have suggested concerning Patton’s movements appeals to me as having a great deal of merit. This possibility had not previously occurred to me.” On October 28, Patton and four officers on his staff went to Corsica. (Papers of DDE, 3: 1524-25.) Concerning the Allies’ anxiety and German intentions in Italy at this time, see Hinsley et al., British Intelligence in the Second World War, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 174-76.
2. Marshall presented a paper on security precautions (C.C.S. 377) at the next C.C.S. meeting. (Minutes of the Combined Chiefs of Staff Meeting, October 22, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, CCS 334, CCS Minutes].)
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. 163-164.