5-226 To General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, September 7, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 7, 1945

Subject: Postwar

To General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower

September 7, 1945 [Radio No. WAR-60819.] Washington, D.C.


For Eisenhower’s eyes only from Marshall.

Re your teletype conference DTG05/1800B September 5.1

Bowen will be continued as prospective Secretary General Staff. Stack should be valuable due to his intimate knowledge of the War Department and the confidence felt in him.2

I probably will proceed with the permanent nominations as soon as I receive your list, though I much dislike to do this.

Your message and what you said to Handy indicates that you evidently have doubts about McNarney as your successor. I would not wish seemingly to force his assignment on you. Let me have your views.3 Have in mind your choice to succeed Arnold and what becomes of the other senior air fellows.4

The eventual internal organization of the War Department has not been determined. The present organization is based on an executive order which automatically terminates six months after the official end of the war.5 A War Department board headed by Patch is now engaged on a full time basis in making recommendations for the future organization. JCS committees are working on the over all composition of the Armed Services pursuant to a recommendation from me and later a directive from the President.6 Many questions concerning War Department organization are naturally connected with larger organization. Below are given answers to your specific questions as far as practicable under the existing situation.

It is not my view at present that chiefs of the combat arms should be retained. In any event they should, if retained, be general officers of the line as they can be under present law without thereby limiting the authorized number of brigadiers.

The reactivation of the War College appears to be dependent upon the future of ANSCOL [Army and Navy Staff College]. If we have a Joint War College properly organized and directed neither an Army nor a Navy War College would appear to be necessary. I suggested to Admiral King that the Navy name De Witt’s successor and that this be done by October 31st. Vice Admiral Harry W. Hill has been designated. Eichelberger would be an excellent choice as Handy’s successor. In connection with the staff you might want to consider the desirability of selecting an air officer as deputy.7

Confidentially Somervell will retire simultaneously with my departure. Styer is probably the best man to succeed him. He is, I understand, Somervell’s choice. MacArthur could not spare him now. Under present circumstances the best solution would appear to be to have Lutes act. He is very competent. Clay is very able but I don’t think you could spare him in Europe.8

Gerow will take Leavenworth under present plans.

Paul would be an ideal replacement for Henry if that is indicated. The situation with Congress is so tense over personnel and Henry has been so successful in dealing with the committees that a change now appears inadvisable.

Witsell was selected by the White House as Ulio’s successor. He has a fine reputation. He was made a temporary Major General and acting The Adjutant General to cover the time to Ulio’s retirement. Davis can be put in as assistant at any time. I understood Davis had had a heart attack and that his physical condition was doubtful.9 Handy and Hull will be guided entirely by your wishes and will remain as long as you want them. The question of their replacements can be decided after your return. They both feel that eventually a “New Deal” is called for and in the long run will be best.

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. See the notes to the previous document (Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-225 [5: 293-95]).

2. Lieutenant Colonel James Stack had worked for Eisenhower since 1940, when Stack had been a sergeant in the Fifteenth Infantry under Eisenhower’s command. Eisenhower had brought Stack into the Operations Division, and he served as Eisenhower’s personal representative in the War Department while the general was overseas. (Papers of DDE, 6: 28, 90.)

3. On August 22, Eisenhower had given Marshall his ideas on a possible successor to him in Europe. He listed Walter Bedell Smith (“completely acceptable to everyone”), Carl Spaatz, George S. Patton, Jr., and Jacob L. Devers. Not mentioned was Joseph T. McNarney, former deputy chief of staff and, since November 1, 1944, commander of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, U.S. Army. (Ibid., p. 305.) In his September 5 radio to Marshall, Eisenhower wrote that he had given his views on a successor, “but if you can tell me that McNarney is definitely set up for this post, I could hold a confidential conference with him to determine what his desires will be.” (Ibid., pp. 329-30.)

In response to Marshall’s comment here, Eisenhower wrote on September 8: “In order to get one important point definitely out of the way, I propose that so far as you and I are concerned we definitely fix upon McNarney as my successor.” (Ibid., p. 335.)

4. “Frankly,” Eisenhower responded, “I favor Spaatz as replacement for Arnold because of Spaatz’s clear perception of the necessity for integration of tactical power and because of his instant readiness and ability to cooperate and of his wealth of fine common sense. He has developed immeasurably in this war and in my opinion is the best rounded Air Force officer in the world.” In addition, “an Air officer in the position of Deputy [Chief of Staff] would have a splendid effect,” especially an airman from the Pacific theater. (Ibid., pp. 335-36.)

5. Executive Order 9082 of February 28, 1942—based on authority specified in the First War Powers Act of December 18, 1941—permitted Marshall to reorganize the War Department in March 1942. (See Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-125 [3: 127-29].)

6. See Marshall Notes on Discussion of Future Military Policy, August 31, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-224 [5: 291-93].

7. Hill (U.S.N.A., 1911) took over as head of the Army and Navy Staff College on November 1. This institution was replaced in February 1946 by the new National War College, which Hill also headed. The new institution was intended to prepare professional officers from the State, War, and Navy departments to cope with the mixture of political, economic, and military matters they would meet in their careers. See Marshall’s comments to Under Secretary of State Edward Stettinius in mid-1944 on the need for such training in Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-449 [4: 519-20].

8. General Brehon B. Somervell, head of Army Service Forces, was relieved of command at the end of 1945; his retirement was effective as of April 30, 1946. His former chief of staff and deputy, Lieutenant General Wilhelm D. Styer, had become commander of army forces in the western Pacific in April 1945. Styer’s replacement as deputy was Lieutenant General LeRoy Lutes. Lieutenant General Lucius D. Clay, who was U.S. deputy military governor for Germany, would be “ideal” for the post, Eisenhower thought, “but it would be almost criminal to take him out of his present post at this particular moment.” (Papers of DDE, 6: 330.) Lutes became head of Army Service Forces on January 1, 1946.

9. Major General Edward F. Witsell (Citadel, 1911) had been director of the Military Personnel Division in The Adjutant General’s Office since 1943 and acting adjutant general since July, when James A. Ulio was hospitalized. In mid-October Witsell was appointed The Adjutant General, effective on February 1, 1946. Regarding Brigadier General Thomas J. Davis, Eisenhower replied that while it was true Davis had had “some type of heart attack” a year previously, “the doctors have in several subsequent examinations pronounced him fit.” Davis became assistant adjutant general when Witsell assumed office. (Papers of DDE, 6: 336.)

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. 295-297.

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