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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
July 13, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
The bearer of this letter, Col. Louis L. Williams of the Public Health Service, the leading expert in the United States on malaria, is reporting in your theater for the purpose of outlining the necessary organization for the prevention and control of malaria. His assignment has already been cleared with your headquarters. However, I wish you to know that I personally regard this as a matter of great importance and I should like you to see that his projects, within the limits of available materiel and similar necessities, are put into effect.
The Surgeon General of the Army is deeply concerned over the malaria possibilities in North Africa and Sicily in the approaching season. Most confidentially we have had grave difficulties in the Pacific and a considerable number of divisions are temporarily out of action as a result, two of them for more than six months. General Kirk feels that a similar situation is due to develop in North Africa, east of Oran, unless immediate steps are taken to meet the situation.
I understand that the malarial hazard in Sicily will probably be greater than that in North Africa.1
Apparently the trouble in the past has been that priorities for munitions overrode those for the necessary screening and other materiel to provide protection at the bases; also there has not been sufficiently rigid sanitary discipline as to the individual soldier. Atabrine is merely a superficial protection.
Please have your construction people, who will be heavily involved in this matter, made aware of its extreme urgency.
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: Dwight D. Eisenhower Papers, Pre-Presidential, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.
Document Format: Typed letter signed.
1. U.S. forces in the Sicily campaign suffered 9,832 malaria cases, compared with 8,375 battle casualties. The army’s success in controlling malaria during its first year in the Mediterranean was, an official history noted, “comparatively poor.” (Charles M. Wiltse, The Medical Department: Medical Service in the Mediterranean and Minor Theaters, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1965], pp. 173, 214.)
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. 59-60.