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To General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower
August 14, 1945 Radio No. W-49544. Washington, D.C.
Personal to Eisenhower from Marshall.
Your efforts in getting personnel home for discharge as indicated by S 17273 are appreciated but I do feel that a delay of one month before introducing any sizable numbers of men for demobilization is too long.1 The difficulties involved in reducing this time are of course tremendous, particularly in view of the rail transportation system in Europe, but can not something be done with truck transportation, for example, on an emergency basis similar to the Red Ball Line which you established last summer?2 Even though it might require the return to Germany of some units now at staging areas, the overall results as reflected in public and Congressional attitude toward the Army would make this worth serious consideration. The pressure here is terrific. The demands for termination of the Selective Service increase daily, a wait of a month before the high score men begin to pour into the U.S. will greatly accentuate our difficulties. The War Department stands ready to do all in its power to assist you in this problem.
In another message the War Department is authorizing you to return units and personnel in the pipeline that cannot be diverted.3 I suggest you put someone on this to check it constantly in order that the objective of returning the high score men is not buried in staff reactions to changes which are admittedly difficult but vastly important.
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), 370.9, Case 260, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Eisenhower’s G-3 had sent Radio No. S-17273 on August 13 stating that even after the War Department gave them final instructions, it would take a month before new priorities could be reflected in shipments because those now at staging areas had to be shipped to clear the area and because it would take about thirty days to process and move through the ports the high-score personnel and selected-category units. (Papers of DDE, 6: 261.)
2. The Red Ball Express was a truck transport supply system using restricted highways between Saint-L