5-085 To General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, April 4, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: April 4, 1945

Subject: World War II

To General of the Army Douglas MacArthur

April 4, 1945 Radio No. WAR-63196. Washington, D.C.

Top Secret

TOPSEC to General MacArthur for his eyes only from General Marshall.

A directive from the Joint Chiefs of Staff reorganizing the Command set-up in the Pacific Theater is being dispatched. This solution to the problem has been reached after prolonged and exceedingly difficult discussion.1 The final document has, however, been amicably agreed upon. It constitutes a major retreat by the Navy from their original stand. It has been necessary for us to make minor concessions in order to secure agreement on the major matters. Throughout, Admiral King continually expressed fears that the change in the command arrangements and the reorganization brought about by the directive would initially retard operations against the Japanese rather than add to the impetus now under way and might result in disruption and duplication in our logistics. I have assured him that such was not the case but for a time it appeared that it would be necessary to amplify the directive by means of JCS minutes designed to allay these fears. Fortunately, we were able to arrive at agreement without resort to any qualifying minutes. I have felt that you and Nimitz could work out most of the details harmoniously and that close coordination between your Headquarters and the War Department would prevent difficulties from arising.

The reorganization must necessarily be effected progressively and in such a manner as not to interfere with the impetus of operations or to provide any basis for assertions that the changes insisted upon by the Army have at least temporarily slowed down the war in the Pacific.2

You may be in need of additional high caliber officers due to the greatly increased burden of responsibilities, particularly logistical, falling to you under the new organization. If you do not have available all of such personnel you require I will endeavor to find them for you. Would you care for a man of the caliber of General Styer, Somervell’s Deputy and Chief of Staff, or Lutes, his number 2 man, to head up your supply and logistics?3 We can furnish you some additional planners if you have need for them. Topnotch personnel remaining in the United States at the moment is somewhat limited but if there are any officers in particular you would like to have, send in their names and we will try to make them available. As soon as the war in Europe ends we can give you almost anyone or anything you want.

In the first phases of this reorganization we will have an extremely delicate problem in handling jealousies arising between the services and difficult personalities in various posts. There has been a great deal of most unfortunate rumor and talk in this country, which has made the War Department task in reaching a satisfactory agreement most difficult. I sincerely hope we can raise the level of cooperation above the personal basis and that of trivial rumor, to one of sound procedure respected by all. Please do your best to suppress such critical comments in subordinate echelons and I will do the same here with a heavy hand.

You will soon be formally called upon for an expression of your views as to the character of the campaign leading up to the actual invasion of Japan. At the moment the Navy, not necessarily Nimitz, appear to favor a gradual encirclement or siege approach including operations on or off the coast of China and even possibly extending north to islands west of Kyushu.

As soon as the directives are formally issued you will be designated Commander-in-Chief of the Army Forces in the Pacific Theater.4

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. J.C.S. 1259/4 issued on April 3 was sent to MacArthur, Nimitz, and Arnold in Radio No. WARX-62773. The directive designated General MacArthur commander in chief, U.S. Army Forces, Pacific (CINCAFPAC), and placed all U.S. Army resources there under his command, except those in the southeast Pacific and Alaska. “CINCAFPAC will be responsible for the provision of army resources to meet the requirements for operations in the Pacific directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” Likewise, all naval resources were placed under Admiral Nimitz as commander in chief, Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC). (Joint Chiefs of Staff Command and Operational Directives for the Pacific [J.C.S. 1259/4], April 3, 1945, NA/RG 165 [ABC, 323.31 POA, Section 3-A [1-29-42]. Joint Chiefs of Staff to MacArthur, Nimitz, and Arnold, Radio No. WARX-62773, April 3, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OPD, 384 TS, Case 1].) For previous information regarding the Pacific command discussions, see Marshall Memorandum for General Hull, March 19, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-065 [5: 91-92], and Marshall Memorandum for Admiral King, March 22, 1945, #5-067 [5: 94-97].

2. The J.C.S. directive provided that “until passed to other command by mutual agreement or by direction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the localities under command of CINCSWPA and the Naval Forces allocated to him will remain under his command and similarly, the areas under command of CINCPOA and the Army Forces allocated to him will remain under his command. Changes in command of forces or localities and changes made in existing Joint logistical procedures will be effected by progressive rearrangements made by mutual agreement, or as may be directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” (Joint Chiefs of Staff Command and Operational Directives for the Pacific [J.C.S. 1259/4], April 3, 1945, NA/RG 165 [ABC, 323.31 POA, Section 3-A (1-29-42)].)

3. Lieutenant General Wilhelm D. Styer assumed command of U.S. Army Forces in the Western Pacific (AFWESPAC) with headquarters at Manila in June 1945. Major General LeRoy Lutes had served with the Army Service Forces since January 1943.

4. “My heartiest congratulations on your great success in reorganizing the Pacific Command,” replied MacArthur. “To have accomplished as much as you did amicably is a masterly performance. This represents an outstanding contribution not only to the Army, but to the country. You may be confident of complete support from this Command. I do not anticipate any difficulties in achieving complete and harmonious cooperation with Admiral Nimitz.” (MacArthur to Marshall, Radio No. CA-51389, April 5, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) For the chief of staff’s reply, see Marshall to MacArthur, April 6, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-092 [5: 133-34].

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. 117-118.

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