4-561 To General Dwight D. Eisenhower, October 31, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: October 31, 1944

Subject: World War II

To General Dwight D. Eisenhower

October 31, 1944 Radio No. WAR-55053 Washington, D.C.


From Marshall to Eisenhower.

Reference your S 64798 regarding Bonesteel.1

He leaves San Francisco by air tomorrow morning and will immediately transship here in Washington by air for your theater.

He has been told that his duty is temporary but that it may be of prolonged duration. He will arrive with an Aide and an Orderly with directions to report at your Headquarters.

I gather from this last message of yours and previous message that you are rather doubtful regarding Bonesteel. I may be wrong but I think you are going to find him a great asset, a man of sober judgment who will not irritate others and one who may be of great help to you in doing exactly the same thing that I proposed Bradley and Bull for in Africa.2 My own reaction is that you need several men of this type whose personalities do not excite irritation and yet who are men of sound judgment and are able to penetrate through the haze of conflicting causes and interests.

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-55053, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. Eisenhower’s headquarters had asked for the services of Major General Robert H. Lewis, commanding general of the Northwestern Sector, Western Defense Command. On October 30, Marshall told Eisenhower: “When notified that he [Lewis] was to go to your theater on an important assignment, he immediately asked for a 15 day delay in complying with orders to see his family, pack up, etc. I am sure I was wrong in my estimate. He is not the man for the job. He will not be sent. You stated in your number S 64218 that you did not want Bonesteel. He does not speak French but he is a man of poise and sound judgement. Why not try him in the job?” (Marshall to Eisenhower, Radio No. WAR-54461, October 30, 1944, NA/RG 165 [ODD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-54461)].) Eisenhower requested that Bonesteel be sent. (Eisenhower to Marshall, Radio No. S-64798, October 31, 1944, ibid., [CM-IN-29277].)

2. Major General Charles H. Bonesteel was initially attached to Bradley’s Twelfth Army Group headquarters as assistant to the commanding general. On December 22, Eisenhower appointed Bonesteel chief of the newly created General Inspectorate Section at S.H.A.E.F. to concentrate particularly on improving the “efficiency and morale of personnel stationed in rear areas of combat zones and in the communications zone.” (Papers of DDE, 4: 2343.)

Marshall told his authorized biographer in 1956 that a problem in the rear of combat areas was that “the headquarters naturally was looking ahead. They were looking to the front. They were looking to the fighting, and their rear was largely controlled by officers who were relieved from combat duty. . . . They had a knowledge of administration that we could not lose. For that reason they accumulated in the SOS and also for that reason they were generally senior, which was the main trouble in utilizing older officers.” Rear area senior officers tended to be disgruntled and not the most efficient officers. In 1943 Marshall “sent Bradley and then [Harold R.] Bull to help straighten up the rear areas” in Northwest Africa. (Marshall Interviews, pp. 532-33, 578.)

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. 645-646.

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Holding ID: 4-561

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