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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
July 31, 1944 Radio No. WAR-73221 Washington, D.C.
To General Eisenhower for his eyes only from General Marshall.
The Washington representatives of the British Chiefs of Staff have expressed a lack of knowledge concerning your plans and your estimate of the situation. They have suggested that periodic appreciations similar to those which have been furnished by Wilson would be helpful.1
It is true that until your 12493 arrived Saturday we had not received recently any information on your thoughts concerning the situation and your probable course of action. For instance, we received no information of Bradley’s present offensive except an unexplained reference in a radio from Mr Stimson referring to COBRA, whatever that was.2
Will you give thought to sending periodic messages concerning your intentions, plans, and your ideas on the progress of the campaign. Any information you do not wish to send to the CCS can be sent to me personally. If you feel able to send such messages it would place us in a better position to deal with inquiries and size up the situation.
Let me have your frank reaction on this matter so that, if indicated, I can make some statement to the local Combined Chiefs of Staff organization.3
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-73221, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Marshall had met with the Combined Chiefs of Staff on July 28. General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson was Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean theater.
2. Eisenhower’s F-12493 of July 30 stated that Lieutenant General Omar N. Bradley’s Twelfth Army Group—which included the existing U.S. First Army and Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s new Third Army—would begin functioning on August 1, but there would be no public announcement in order to maintain the deception plan covering the Pas-de-Calais area. Eisenhower also mentioned that the fighting southwest of Saint-Lei was “very confused,” but he had “found everyone in good heart and extremely confident.” The British Second Army was undertaking an attack that he believed would “secure great results.” (Papers of DDE, 4: 2043. The exploitation of the breach in the German lines resulting from Operation COBRA is described in Blumenson, Breakout and Pursuit, chap. 15. For more information regarding COBRA, see note 1, Marshall to McNair, July 26, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-465 [4: 534].)
3. “I am sorry that I have not kept you more fully abreast of future plans as I did in North Africa,” Eisenhower replied on August 2. “My excuse is that in my anxiety to push events the matter had merely slipped my mind. Hereafter I will have the staff draw up a suitable weekly appreciation for the Combined Chiefs of Staff.” Eisenhower did not believe that the Germans would succeed in blocking the Allied advances currently under way, and he hoped to achieve the rapid conquest of Brittany and the destruction of the German Army in the region. (Papers of DDE, 4: 2048-51.)
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. 535-536.