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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
September 19, 1944 Radio No. WAR-32886 Washington, D.C.
For Eisenhower’s eyes only from Marshall.
There has been a back and forth exchange of radios regarding our failure here to receive word that you desired three divisions rerouted into Marseilles. A careful check would seem to prove that the message from your headquarters which you had been notified must be received here by September 10 was not received until September 17.
I have commented adversely on the fact that the OPD people here did not telephone on the 10th to follow up this matter. I know you were involved in a change of headquarters with consequent communication difficulties. However it seems to me that somebody on your side failed to follow up and this business of follow up is vital in war. Ordinary routine will never suffice.
Possibly you were already familiar with this affair but if not I suggest that you bore into the individual who did not follow up despite the mess up of communications.1
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-32886, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. On September 21, Eisenhower replied: “In two years I cannot remember coming so close to losing the last atom of my patience as I did over the fiasco involving our exchange of telegrams on the diversion of three Divisions to Marseilles. I arrived at the decision to divert the Divisions only through personal study, sweat and blood. I was so concerned that on September 10th I twice made personal inquiries as to whether this message had gone and assured myself that it had. I cannot forgive myself for not demanding an acknowledgement of receipt. It happened that on that day I flew up to Brussels for a conference with Montgomery, but I was still at fault for not following through in personally checking on the matter. Among other reasons for being very anxious to divert those Divisions to Devers was so that I could bring Patch’s army up to respectable strength quickly without creating additional drain on our communications in northwest France. However, I will make the best of the situation.” (Papers of DDE, 4: 2167.) On September 20, Eisenhower was notified that three subsequent divisions—the 14th Armored and the 100th and 103d Infantry—would be diverted from Cherbourg to Marseille. (Ibid., p. 2169.)
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. 593.