4-280 To General Dwight D. Eisenhower, March 9, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 9, 1944

Subject: World War II

To General Dwight D. Eisenhower

March 9, 1944 [Radio No. 254] Washington, D.C.


From Marshall for Eisenhower’s eyes only.

Reference your letter regarding Lee’s promotion without recommendation from you:1 This was my fault. I thought you had recommended him and did not check.

The situation was, each advancement or recognition of Smith produced an immediate and emphatic proposal by MacArthur for Sutherland. In this instance it seemed best to advance Sutherland to the grade of lieutenant general but I did not wish to single him out and therefore included Wheeler on Mountbatten’s urgent recommendation and Lee, thinking this was what you wanted. I hope I have not involved you in a rank assignment which will be embarrassing. If so be quite frank in your comments and I will see what I can do to rectify matters.2

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. “This morning I see in the papers that General Lee is to be promoted,” Eisenhower had written to Marshall on March 3. “When in Washington I told Somervell, who was very insistent that one of his supply people be made a three-star general, that I fully intended to recommend Lee as soon as I had completely satisfied myself as to the efficiency of his machine. I had already told Lee the same thing; but this is the first time one of my chief subordinates has been advanced without consulting me.” (Papers of DDE, 3: 1759.)

2. John C. H. Lee was promoted to lieutenant general on February 21, 1944. Walter Bedell Smith had been promoted to lieutenant general on January 13, 1944, Richard K. Sutherland on February 20, and Raymond A. Wheeler on February 21.

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), p. 331.

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Holding ID: 4-280

Rights: Public Information