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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower
November 2, 1944 Radio No. WAR-56145 Washington, D.C.
From Marshall for Eisenhower’s eyes only.
Answering your S 64987 regarding an officer to work the rear areas for you:1 Handy and I think the best man available, that is, one who enjoys sufficient prestige and has had a great deal of experience in this particular business, is General Gasser. However, he is performing a vital function here which requires a great deal of backbone as he heads the War Department War Manpower Board which means that he takes from everybody and therefore is constantly on the spot in forcing reductions of personnel within the War Department and all over continental America. We do not feel we can lose Gasser permanently as things stand at the present moment but we are willing to loan him to you for two months and during that time we can look for a replacement or several of them if you so desire. A number of names have been considered but almost none of them in my opinion and Handy’s meets your requirements. J. W. Anderson now commanding a corps and former commander of the 3rd Division when it arrived at Casablanca is available. I don’t think he would irritate but whether or not he would inspire the necessary respect for his opinions in representing them to your staff I don’t know.2 I find some difficulty in doing it myself. This seems to amuse Handy.
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-56145, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. On October 26, 1944, Marshall had sent Eisenhower and the other theater commanders a letter about a poll of enlisted military personnel returning from overseas concerning their treatment and experiences while abroad. “The complaints are too numerous and too serious to be considered as typical of the normal soldier’s discontent. . . . Although our soldiers believe they are the best fed and best equipped in the world, they are often unhappy and discontented in rear areas where they should be finding relief from the hardships of the front. This condition not only has a bad effect on our efforts against the enemy but will present an unfortunate reaction when these men return to civilian life.” (Marshall [G-1] to Eisenhower, October 26, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Eisenhower replied in Radio No. S-64987 on November 1: “What I am personally looking for at the moment for my own use is a man of tact and intelligence who could be useful in circulating through my rear areas, including replacement and convalescent camps, to correct the conditions reported in your letter to me involving discontent on the part of returning enlisted men.” He asked for “a list of people that have returned to the United States from operational areas” who might be considered for the job. (Papers of DDE, 4:2274-75.)
2. Major General Jonathan W. Anderson had returned to the United States from Morocco in early 1943 and had successively served as commanding general of Tenth Corps, Third Corps, and (since July 1944) Thirty-sixth Corps. In mid-November, Eisenhower decided to give the job to Major General Albert W. Kenner, “one of the finest medical officers I have ever met,” and chief of the Medical Division at S. H.A.E. F. (Ibid., pp. 2196, 2275.)
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. 648-649.