5-223 To General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, August 30, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Subject: World War II

To General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Joseph T. McNarney

August 30, 1945 [Radio No. WARX-57162.] [Washington, D.C.]


To Eisenhower and McNarney personal from Marshall.

The curtailing of redeployment has left in the U.S. large numbers of men who have too few points for discharge and too many for shipment to the Pacific, which presents an almost impossible public relation situation. We are doing our best to find military jobs here for those who can’t be redeployed, but any further shipments to the U.S. of personnel above a score of 45 and below the score for discharge will only serve to make matters worse. If we accumulate in the U.S. large numbers of men for whom we have no need, public opinion is almost certain to demand and probably secure the abandonment of the point system for discharge. This would, of course, result in discharging men from sources in the U.S. far ahead of those in the theaters, and would have a most serious effect on morale of troops overseas, particularly in the Pacific.

It is, therefore, necessary to change the requirements expressed in WARX 49576 of 14 August to Eisenhower and WARX 49888 of 15 August to McNarney. We cannot, at this time, foresee any need here for low score personnel. If your present or future flow of personnel forces you to send personnel who are not eligible for discharge, then only men below ASR [Adjusted Service Rating] 45 should be sent. In selecting high score personnel, please arrange them so that the highest scores in your theater come home first and we can adjust the score for discharge accordingly. Casual detachment shipments should be utilized in lieu of unit shipments or attached to major units when this method will facilitate screening, and accelerate the flow.

This answers S 20076 of 28 August. S 20075 of 28 August answered separately.1

I have no objection to this message being read by the staff officers working on this problem.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), 370.9, Case 305, National Archive and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. In S-20076 of August 28, Eisenhower had notified Marshall that redeployment in the European theater should be completed by January 31, 1946. “Over 700,000 individuals, mostly high score soldiers, have been ordered and are now being readied for shipment in September and October under current War Department instructions.” (Eisenhower’s S-20076 is printed in Papers of DDE, 6: 317-18; S-20075 is explained ibid., p. 318 n. 3. On the current instructions, see ibid., pp. 284-85, and Marshall to Eisenhower, August 14, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-205 [5: 277].)

Marshall’s message, the Eisenhower papers editors note, caused Eisenhower great concern, because sending back the experienced and high-score personnel would lead to an operational breakdown, and halting the return of low-point men would force the theater to violate its orders to fill all the troopship space made available. To complicate matters further, the War Department was preparing to lower the age for automatic discharge from thirty-eight to thirty-five and to reduce the release score from eighty points to seventy-two. (See Papers of DDE, 6: 318-19.)

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. 290-291.

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Holding ID: 5-223

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