5-044 To General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, February 28, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 28, 1945

Subject: World War II

To General of the Army Douglas MacArthur

February 28, 1945 Radio No. WAR-44930. Washington, D.C.

Top Secret

TOPSEC for MacArthur from Marshall.

Study of your CAX 506871 and CA 506882 both of 26 February in connection with future plans for Southwest Pacific Area and Pacific Ocean Area raises following question.

If the FILBAS agreement is implemented, what part of the plans outlined in CA 50688 would you be able to execute with the shipping presently allocated to Southwest Pacific Area?

Will you please list in the order of importance those operations that cannot be executed if the FILBAS agreement is implemented, including an estimate of the shipping required for each operation. Consider radio WAR 44421 of 27 February.3

With reference to last paragraph your CA 50688, proposal to place Army Forces in POA and SWPA under unified Army command and Naval Forces of two theater under unified Naval command is now up for final decision by JCS.4

In regard to Petroleum products and tankers, your message C 57530 of 3 February 1945, and our ARGONAUT 59 of 7 February 1945, based on Army-Navy Petroleum Board reports, there is no shortage in future availabilities important enough to demand military operations for acquisition of new oil producing areas, although a source of supply close to the scene of future operations is highly desirable. Admiral Carter of Army-Navy Petroleum Board is due back here from ETO in about two days. We will then resolve the difference of views as to the rehabilitation of Borneo oil supply.5

On the other hand, a Combined Raw Materials Board report indicates an acute shortage of natural rubber commencing in early 1946, estimated at 10,000 long tons per month, for meeting minimum military requirements at that time. Based on an interval of six months between securing the area and arrival of the washed and dried rubber at U.S. plants, it would appear that military operations for the acquisition of new rubber yielding areas might be required during the late summer or fall of 1945.

The foregoing is a preliminary estimate of the global status of the two products. Problem is under thorough review here and you will be kept informed.6

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-44930, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. See note 4, Marshall to MacArthur, February 27, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-043 [5: 59].

2. See note 2, Marshall to MacArthur, February 7, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-034 [5: 49].

3. See the previous document (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-043 [5: 58-59]).

4. “It would be helpful if I could be informed of any developments with regard to modification of the command structure in the Pacific,” wrote MacArthur. “It would orient me completely and permit the consideration of possible lines of action with consequent future planning.” (MacArthur to Marshall, Radio No. CA-50688, February 26, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-IN-27255)].)

5. See Marshall to MacArthur, February 7, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-034 [5: 48-49]. Rear Admiral Andrew F. Carter (U.S.N.A., 1905) served as executive officer of the Army-Navy Petroleum Board in the office of the chief of naval operations.

6. Shipping that would remain available after that required to fully implement the FILBAS agreement would be inadequate for the proposed operations in the Netherlands East Indies, replied MacArthur. The shipping to have been used for the operations would instead be employed to move service troops from the South Pacific and augment the development of bases. He pointed out that shipping statistics applicable to commercial operations could not be deemed the sole criterion for his campaign, and flexibility in shipping is as necessary as flexibility in reserves. A commander cannot be guided by strict commercial operational standards, but must utilize shipping as a combat element. (MacArthur to Marshall, Radio No. CAX-50761, March 1, 1945, MML/D. MacArthur Papers.)

General Hull drafted a message sent to MacArthur from Marshall on March 2, which summarized a memorandum submitted by Rear Admiral Carter to the commander-in-chief, U.S. Fleet, the previous day. “No statement was made to General MacArthur to the effect that oil production could be obtained in North Borneo within 3 months and that this would effect a material saving in tankers.” Carter estimated a probable crude oil shortage of 100,000 barrels per day, in eighteen months, unless new resources were developed. An average of thirty-five tankers would be saved by transporting 50,000 barrels of oil per day from North Borneo to the Philippines. He estimated possible production of 50,000 barrels of oil per day, within twelve months after landing the first drilling equipment, provided oil structures are left intact and the commercial oil companies receive assistance to meet production schedules. General Marshall added the concluding sentence to Hull’s draft: “We are continuing study of means available for operation into Borneo.” (Marshall [Hull-drafted] to MacArthur, Radio No. WAR-46161, March 2, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-46161)]. Draft of message is located in NA/RG 165 [OPD, 381, TS 1945, Case 52].)

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. 59-61.

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