5-225 To General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 4, 1945

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

Subject: Postwar

To General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower

September 4, 1945 Radio. Washington, D.C.


For Eisenhower from Marshall for Eisenhower’s eyes only.

While I have no indication from the President as to the date he will accept my release as Chief of Staff, I do not think there is a shadow of a doubt regarding your appointment to succeed me. This being the case, it seems to me we are justified in proceeding on that basis; therefore I should like for you to indicate to me any of your people that you now wish to have infiltrated into the present War Department set-up. For example, Frank McCarthy has gone to the State Department. This leaves Colonel Pasco as Secretary of the General Staff. He is desirous of demobilization and is giving experience in the work to Colonel John Bowen of the Regular Army whom Frank McCarthy selected for this purpose, having in mind the desirability of weaving Regular Officers into the organization in time to get and be able to transmit the experience in organization and procedure which has reached its highest state of development. He is 35 years of age and commanded the 26th Regiment in North Africa before being returned to the United States for hospitalization. He later headed the Mediterranean Section of the Operations Division here and served briefly in charge of the White House Map Room before coming to the Secretariat.1

Pasco’s immediate assistant is [Lieutenant] Colonel [Bradfute W.] Davenport, a very able officer and the man who did our business with the White House after Frank McCarthy withdrew from that contact. But Davenport is a lawyer in civil life and wishes to secure his demobilization as soon as practicable, having had almost five years’ service.

There are also officers on the General Staff, Assistant Chiefs of Staff, for example, who no doubt would like service overseas and for whom a replacement might be advisable. Handy I imagine would be very happy to drop his heavy burdens but I do not think this would be wise for some time to come. Hull is another.2 General Henry has had no overseas service. He is now in the midst of the demobilization statistical complications but no doubt would be very happy to get an overseas assignment, etc., etc.3

I wish you would think this over and let me have the names of any men that you would like to have brought into the machine now or in the near future; particularly that you advise me as to what positions you wish to have held unchanged until you can assume the personal responsibility for replacements.4

We have another problem, a question of permanent makes. There are about 10 vacancies for Major Generals and 15 for Brigadiers. Should I fill them or should they be left to you to fill? It is a headache for whoever does it. The problem of a very sensitive Pacific group has to be kept carefully in mind to avoid a postwar Army of strong cliques.5

There is also the question of appointments to head Leavenworth, for which Gerow has tentatively been selected; to replace De Witt in the Joint Army Navy Staff College, and to take over a number of important command and executive posts. I should like very much to have your proposals regarding these matters. Please be frank in bringing up any matters of this kind you may happen to think of because my desire is purely to work towards a smooth transition to your satisfaction.6

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. McCarthy had resigned as secretary of the General Staff, effective August 21, 1945, and that same day he was appointed assistant secretary of state for administration. He began that job on September 1. (See Marshall Memorandum for General Handy, October 9, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-249 [5: 325-26].) H. Merrill Pasco, in civil life a lawyer in Richmond, Virginia, served as secretary of the General Staff between August 25 and November 11, 1945. Eisenhower replied on September 5 that John W. Bowen (U.S.M.A., 1932) “would be an ideal selection.” (Papers of DDE, 6: 329.) Bowen took over the job on November 12 and served until May 11, 1948.

2. “I consider it most important that Handy stay for a few months,” Eisenhower replied, “but I will eventually want to do for him and for Hull whatever I can that will most nearly meet their desires.” (Ibid., pp. 328-29.) See the following document for their assignments (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-226 [5: 295-97]).

3. Stephen G. Henry had been assistant chief of staff for Personnel since August 1944.

4. Eisenhower noted that he was “handicapped” in making such recommendations “because I do not know how my successor here will feel about their release. The local problem is a very intricate one and I would not want to embarrass the man that takes over.” He did, however, recommend Major General Willard S. Paul as assistant chief of staff for Personnel and Brigadier General Thomas J. Davis (former adjutant general at Eisenhower’s headquarters) as assistant adjutant general. (Ibid., pp. 329, 330.)

5. Marshall should fill the vacancies on the permanent list of general officers (i.e., the “makes”) as soon as possible, Eisenhower thought, because his own personal knowledge of individuals’ capabilities was limited to those who had served in the European or Mediterranean theaters. Beyond that his information was based on “hearsay, old impressions and official records. Someone ought to make these selections who has an identical basis for comparison in all theaters. . . . I am most anxious to maintain a feeling of unification throughout the Army and to avoid at any cost the growth of a European versus a Pacific clique.” (Ibid., p. 329.)

6. Lieutenant General Leonard T. Gerow was “ideal for the Leavenworth post,” in Eisenhower’s opinion. He suggested that Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger, who had been superintendent at the U.S. Military Academy between 1940 and 1942, might replace Lieutenant General John L. De Witt as head of the Army and Navy Staff College. (Ibid., p. 330.)

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. 293-295.

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