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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
December 29, 1943 Radio No. 5899 Washington, D.C.
For Eisenhower’s Eyes Only from Marshall.
There were several staff arrangements I had in mind should I have taken on OVERLORD. I now pass them on to you.
Colonel Lebel of the French Mission here in Washington was with General Bethouart at Casablanca. He has been my frequent contact here and played a part in the settlement of the mess in French Guiana.1 He is forcible, straight down the road and apparently quite able in a military way. I intended to wire Giraud for authority to take Lebel with me to England. There I intended to put him on the planning staff and thus provide in a reliable manner and without confusion the French representation. He is better suited for this than any other Frenchman I have seen.
There is in England Colonel [Emmanuel] Lombard, Military Attache from France in Washington for 20 years and Liaison Officer with the First Division throughout the war in France. He is a gentle character who would be completely loyal and dependable. He resigned his post here and joined the Free French as evidence of his refusal to follow the Vichy procedure when they dismissed the French Ambassador in Washington. He has been with De Gaulle in England ever since. He wrote to me some time back applying for service on my staff if I went to England. I had thought that he would probably be the best bet for me to bring in to offset the Lebel appointment because Lombard is ostensibly Free French but actually a loyal American. Tony Biddle thinks he is perfect for the purpose. I had no particular job in mind thinking I would take him on the staff and let him finally fit into a place. He would probably be more or less a liaison but he would offset criticism by De Gaullists.
Tony Biddle, at present Ambassador, I intended to have commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel and placed on my staff without announced portfolio.2 My purpose was to have him the contact with the governments of the various countries for whom he is now responsible. The President was desirous of some such arrangement. He would not be replaced in his present civil capacity as Ambassador and I had no intention of announcing that he was to be the contact with the Belgians, Dutch, etc. However, that would be his job and he could proceed on that basis to relieve me or you of the headaches involved.
Please let me have your reaction as to Biddle because the President has been pressing me for action.3
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 17, Item 28, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Lieutenant Colonel Albert J. P. Le Bel was a member of Major General M. Emile B