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To General of the Army Douglas MacArthur
July 19, 1945 Radio No. VICTORY-OUT-93. Babelsberg, Germany
To AGWAR and MacArthur from Marshall. CCS conference Berlin now discussing date for readjustment to boundaries defining new SEA [Southeast Asia Command] and Australian Command and relinquishment of areas south of Philippines by SWPA.1 We propose August 1st as date for initiating readjustment. British feel that Mountbatten should not be called upon to accept responsibility for new area to be taken over until after occupation of Singapore. British are also uncertain of additional burdens to be assumed by their people in way of men, material, ships, etc. by withdrawal of your control over areas in question.
What is your reaction to this? What reply should U.S. JCS make?. . .2
I think Ryukyus-Okinawa matter has been settled reasonably to your satisfaction.3
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 17, Item 21, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Negotiations between the J.C.S. and the British Chiefs of Staff to expand the area covered by the S.E.A. Command had been ongoing since April 1945. Such modifications were judged necessary by the British due to plans for operations to liberate Singapore. By June 7, the J.C.S. had proposed specific new borders. (See the British memorandum of July 9 in Foreign Relations, Potsdam Conference, 1: 921-23.) S.E.A. Supreme Commander Louis Mountbatten was ordered to come to the Potsdam Conference for discussions. There he was directed to reopen the Straits of Malacca as soon as possible and to “assume command of the additional areas as soon as convenient after 15th August, 1945.” (John Ehrman, Grand Strategy, vol. 6, October 1944-August 1945, a volume in History of the Second World War [London: HMSO, 1956], pp. 233, 253.)
2. The omitted portion specified the longitude and latitude of various points on the proposed border. MacArthur replied with some suggested modifications to conform to the 1939 Philippine boundary line; he noted that nearly all U.S. units were already out of the area to be given to the British and Australians. (MacArthur to Marshall, Radio No. C-27265, July 21, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 17, Item 21].)
3. Marshall had told MacArthur on July 9: “For some time I have been concerned over the orientation of base development at Okinawa, doubting that the arrangements give adequate recognition to your needs in support of OLYMPIC” (the proposed Kyushu invasion). Consequently, Marshall proposed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that MacArthur take over in Okinawa and the Ryukyus on August 1. Admiral King was initially opposed, however, because that would hurt navy readiness for the invasion. At the J.C.S. meeting of July 18, King acquiesced to Marshall’s ideas regarding Okinawa command. (Marshall to MacArthur, Radio No. WAR-29003, July 9, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File, CM-OUT-29003]; J.C.S. meeting of July 18, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, CCS 334, JCS Minutes].) MacArthur told Marshall: “The Okinawa solution is a good one and will undoubtedly facilitate OLYMPIC. Your sound professional judgement as usual prevailed to the ultimate benefit of all concerned.” (MacArthur to Marshall, Radio No. C-27265, July 21, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 17, Item 21].)
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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 245-246.