4-517 To General Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 21, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 21, 1944

Subject: World War II

To General Dwight D. Eisenhower

September 21, 1944 Radio No. WAR-34206 Washington, D.C.

Top Secret

Personal for Eisenhower from Marshall.

Reference our W-82702 and your CPA 90232 of August 19th regarding General Gerow; at the time of your message he was being considered by you as a probable Army Commander.1 Since then Truscott’s performance has been so outstanding particularly in the light of his previous performances at Salerno and in the advance north through Rome that is [it] seems to me he has clearly established his right to the Army appointment. In addition to which he is already a Lieutenant General. Unless you see serious objection to this which is not indicated by you in your FWD 12428 July 22nd discussing Truscott as a desirable Army Commander,2 we have a changed situation regarding Gerow’s return to the U.S. by October 3rd, in view of the fact that his Corps is now heavily engaged in the Siegfried Line. I feel that his withdrawal at this time would be most unfortunate. Would it help you if we permitted his return to be delayed until say October 20th, that is to arrive here by that date. Let me have your answer immediately.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-34206, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. Marshall had forwarded to Eisenhower the Army Pearl Harbor Board’s request that Major General Leonard T. Gerow, commanding general of Fifth Corps, return to the United States to testify on the events surrounding Pearl Harbor. (Marshall to Eisenhower, Radio No. WAR-82702, August 18, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-82702)].) Eisenhower replied that Bradley was likely soon to appoint Gerow to command an army, but he could combine the board appearance with a visit to his prospective army staff. Gerow was directed to report to the board on October 3. (Papers of DDE, 4: 2079-80.) A congressional resolution had directed the army and the navy to begin investigations of the Pearl Harbor disaster; see editorial note #4-519, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [4: 597-99].

2. Eisenhower had cabled on July 22: “As of this date my first preference for an army commander would be Truscott.” (Papers of DDE, 3: 2023.)

3. Eisenhower replied: “Gerow is already on his way home. I agree with you that Truscott has become the next logical Army commander. As you know he was always my first choice for such assignment and as he is now under my orders, when the time comes I will take care of the matter on that basis.” (Eisenhower to Marshall, Radio No. FWD-15486, September 23, 1944, DDEL/D. D. Eisenhower Papers [Pre-Presidential, Cables Off].) Gerow had been acting assistant chief of staff, War Plans Division, at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He left Fifth Corps headquarters on September 18 and testified on September 27 and 28.

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. 595-596.

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Holding ID: 4-517

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