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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
February 11, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Personal and Confidential
Don’t take the following too seriously, especially as I don’t want to trouble your mind in the midst of very important decisions.
Yesterday Arnold, Somervell, Handy and I were driving to lunch with the head of the French Mission who is about to take his departure. I queried Somervell as to the reason for a series of reports commenting so adversely on the post exchange operations in the Mediterranean that we have had to send out the head of that service to straighten things out. I wished to know why such a situation should develop there when all over the world we have had exactly the opposite reaction, high praise for the efficiency and coverage of exchange service.
Somervell felt that the trouble lay with the man in general charge of all such Special Service activities, General Hughes, and he commented on his disappointment that Hughes was not to go forward as the Governor of Rome but was to be sent to England. He stated that Hughes had been rigid and outspokenly unsympathetic in his reactions to practically all Special Service activities. I thought of the “Yank” business and wondered if he had been at the bottom of that.1 Somervell spoke of the rather sarcastic reception Hughes would give each officer sent into that theater in connection with such matters.
Arnold spoke up and said that he had never made any comment but Hughes had been his particular difficulty throughout the period of the Mediterranean campaign and he could second all Somervell was saying.
Handy spoke up and said Hughes was an instructor at Leavenworth when he, Handy, was a student and that he was about the most unpopular and unsatisfactory instructor there; that when the students learnt that he had been sent to Columbia for a course in Pedagogy their humorous reaction was, “Don’t send anybody else in the Army to Columbia if Hughes was the result”.
I have never seen the man to my knowledge, therefore my viewpoint is purely abstract, but the unanimity of opinion leads me to believe that you are reacquiring one of the cast iron type in a job that requires other characteristics. You know him and worked with him so it is entirely your affair.
This letter is not going into the files of the War Department and I wish you would tear up this copy so that there will be no record because that would be most unfair to Hughes.2
I think it would be best if you make no reply.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. See Marshall to Eisenhower, October 29, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-150 [4: 173-74].
2. Colonel Bruce W. Bidwell delivered this letter to Eisenhower. In July 1942 Major General Everett S. Hughes (U.S.M.A., 1908) became chief of staff, Services of Supply, for the European Theater of Operations and later became deputy chief of staff, E.T.O. In February 1943 he became deputy theater commander, North African Theater of Operations, and he commanded the American Line of Communication which supported the American combat effort from an administrative and supply position. In February 1944 General Eisenhower requested Hughes to be transferred to headquarters of the European Theater of Operations as his special assistant. Eisenhower wrote to Hughes on February 24, 1944, stating his main duties were to consult and confer with officers and enlisted men in all units to advise him of any measure to ensure the success of the operations: “whether manpower and supplies are being energetically utilized, whether responsibilities are clear and fixed and whether everything practicable is being done to support and maintain the prospective combat troops.” (Papers of DDE, 3: 1748-49.)
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. 292-293.