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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
June 22, 1944 Radio No. WAR-54372 Washington, D.C.
TOPSEC Eyes Only Marshall to Eisenhower.
I am in accord with your views on Wilson’s message and on operations in the Mediterranean in support of OVERLORD. You were called on by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to submit a similar report of your views to them. I assume that you are doing this but Wilson possesses the advantage of having gotten his report in first.1
There should be no delay in getting a firm decision on ANVIL if we are to provide the necessary additional resources in time to make it possible to launch the operation at an earlier date than August 15th. I realize you intend to make available the available resources from OVERLORD at the earliest possible date.
We appreciate your problems resulting from the bad weather in the channel. The Navy considers that amphibious resources should leave by July 1st if we are to meet an August 1st ANVIL date. The Navy further considers that the despatch of 24 LST’s out of some 200 cannot seriously affect your present operations while it may make a very great deal of difference in the timing of ANVIL.
The U.S. Chiefs of Staff are now considering recommending to the Combined Chiefs of Staff that General Wilson be immediately directed to launch ANVIL at the earliest possible date, and in any case not later than August 15th.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-54372, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. During the Combined Chiefs of Staff meeting in London on June 13, the C.C.S. had discussed possible operations in the Mediterranean and France as a means to assist Operation OVERLORD. On the fourteenth they sent a message to General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson and General Eisenhower asking for their comments. (See editorial note #4-409, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [4: 479].) On June 20 Eisenhower had written to Marshall concerning Wilson’s recommendations. Wilson claimed that ANVIL could not be launched until August 15 because Allied forces would not reach the Pisa-Rimini line before then. Wilson insisted that “the best chance of really decisive results in this theatre is to exploit the present success in Italy through the Pisa/Rimini line across the Po and then to advance towards southern Hungary through the Ljubljana Gap.” Eisenhower maintained that Wilson should be directed to launch Operation ANVIL in southern France at the earliest possible date. “To speculate on possible adventures in south central Europe in the coming autumn, to my mind, has no repeat no reference to current operations in this theater,” stated Eisenhower. “In spite of our brilliant successes in Italy the enemy has been moving sizeable formations out of south France into the OVERLORD area. Both the enemy and ourselves now consider OVERLORD the vital operation. It is imperative that we obtain and maintain superiority over him, and this must be done in France as quickly as we can. We need big ports,” Eisenhower asserted. (Papers of DDE, 3: 1938-40.)
2. Eisenhower informed Marshall on June 23 that he was transmitting his recommendations to the C.C.S. that day, which were: “1. That ANVIL be launched, preferably by August 15th and not later than August 30th, either on the scale desired by General Wilson or with lesser acceptable resources. 2. If this is impossible, that all French divisions plus one or two American divisions previously allocated to ANVIL be made available for OVERLORD as soon as shipping and port capacity permit their transportation and maintenance.” (Ibid., pp. 1942-43; Eisenhower to Combined Chiefs of Staff, pp. 1943-46.)
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. 486-487.