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To Harry S. Truman
August 20, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Mr. President:
Now that hostilities have terminated, the demobilization of the Army is actively under way, the major military decisions regarding the cut-back of war production have been taken and the post-war military planning is in an advanced state, I feel free to propose my relief as Chief of Staff.
I have been on duty in the War Department continuously for more than seven years, six as Chief of Staff. Aware of the wear and tear of the job, I am certain that it would be advantageous to make a change.
If I may be permitted to propose a successor, I suggest that General Eisenhower is unusually well qualified for the duties of Chief of Staff at this particular time. There are two other factors to be considered with relation to his possible appointment. In his present position the great international prestige he now enjoys, to the advantage of this Government, will certainly be damaged by the difficulties and recriminations inevitable in the complications inherent in his present responsibilities. Also, there is no position other than Chief of Staff of the Army which is suitable to his present rank and prestige.
General McNarney, now Deputy Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces in Italy, is available and thoroughly competent to replace General Eisenhower in Germany.1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Marshall sent a copy of this letter to Eisenhower with a note saying that the president “expressed himself as in complete agreement with me on what I had to say about you and McNarney. He was not at all definite about my relief but asked me how soon I hoped to get away and I said Oh, something like ten days. He remarked that he would be sorry to see me go and would like me to go along a little further and added that he would think the matter over. I rather got the idea that I might hope for relief within the first ten days in September.” (Marshall to Eisenhower, August 21, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 281-282.