4-069 To General Dwight D. Eisenhower, August 2, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 2, 1943

Subject: World War II

To General Dwight D. Eisenhower

August 2, 1943 Radio No. 40081 [Washington, D.C.]


From Marshall for Eisenhower’s eyes only.

About 30 minutes ago I advised you that the Vatican through our State Department informed US that the new Italian Government was prepared to declare Rome an open city and wished to know the essential requirements. In that message I passed on to you my view informally to the effect that pending further instructions it would appear desirable to refrain from air activities against the city of Rome proper.

A few moments ago message number 1735 your headquarters arrived “From Martelli. Stand by flash release. Rome raid approximately 1300 hours 3rd of August same targets same reasons”, message to be passed to OWI.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-404, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. This message was transmitted at 3:56 P.M. Washington time.

2. Before Eisenhower could reply, he received messages from Marshall (drafted in the Operations Division) telling him that the British Chiefs of Staff had agreed that Rome should not be bombed (Marshall to Eisenhower, Radio No. FAN-181, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-464)], sent at 5:30 P.M.) and then that the British Cabinet and Prime Minister Churchill had decided that Eisenhower should use his own judgment regarding the desirability of bombing. President Roosevelt was out of Washington. “In the interim, while we are endeavoring to secure President’s views, if you desire to go ahead with bombing I accept responsibility for US approval.” (Marshall to Eisenhower, Radio No. 4061, ibid., sent at 10:28 P.M.)

On August 3 Eisenhower replied that he did not expect the Italian government to delay acting on the Allies’ conditions, but if they temporized “we should return to the attack. . . . do not repeat not intend to overdo operations against Rome as I fully realize all the implications and repercussions which are bound to result.” (Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, 2: 1310-11.) The Italian government issued a unilateral declaration that Rome was an open city on August 14. (Garland and Smyth, Sicily and the Surrender of Italy, pp. 279-80.)

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. 78-79.

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Holding ID: 4-069

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