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To General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lieutenant General Jacob L. Devers
September 5, 1944 Radio No. WARX-25757 Washington, D.C.
Personal for Eisenhower and Devers from Marshall.
Chief of French Military Mission has submitted a request that 30,000 sets of clothing and individual equipment be immediately furnished for the purpose of equipping 2 French divisions, one in the northern zone and one in the southern zone.
The division to be equipped in the northern zone is the 19th Infantry Division. The one in the southern zone is unknown.1
The United States Chiefs of Staff have approved as a general principle the equipping of French units which can be used at an early date against the enemy. This contemplated the entire equipment for infantry battalions, artillery battalions and engineer battalions but not that required for complete divisions. If this clothing and individual equipment is considered desirable by you at this time it may be provided from your theater stocks to be replenished from United States as a charge against the total figures currently appearing in the French rearmament program.
As this request has apparently not been brought to your attention your immediate views are requested.
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-25757, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Discussions and negotiations regarding the rearming of liberated French manpower had been going on since 1943. French leaders were determined to rebuild their metropolitan army, and most of the material necessary would have to come from the United States. In mid-June 1944, Eisenhower had asked the Combined Chiefs of Staff for a policy decision on rearming the western European Allies. By mid-August, Eisenhower and Devers were primarily desirous of creating French security and labor units. At the end of August, “the French were still without a clear statement as to what material assistance they could expect from the Allies in equipping their liberated manpower.” As France was liberated, French authorities sought to deal with the problem of the French Forces of the Interior—two hundred thousand armed and an equal number of unarmed men at large in liberated areas—by launching a mobilization program. (Vigneras, Rearming the French, pp. 311, 318-20, quote on p. 318.)
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. 573.