4-506 To Henry L. Stimson, September 13, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 13, 1944

Subject: World War II

To Henry L. Stimson

September 13, 1944 Radio Quebec, Canada

Top Secret

To Col. Frank McCarthy for Mr. Stimson’s eyes only from General Marshall.

You probably have seen the papers of the meetings as they have progressed so far. Actually there has only been one full meeting, that of yesterday, where the principal discussion related to the Fifth Army in Italy, Wilson’s future campaigns, the change of control of the strategic bombing force and the acceptance of Eisenhower’s general plan of campaign.1

This morning the President and Prime Minister have called a plenary meeting very suddenly, to which I go in a few minutes. Presumably the discussion will relate to the British fleet in the Pacific. Last night the Earl of Athlone had a dinner arranged at the last moment for the President and the Prime Minister and their wives for the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff. I rather think the purpose of the dinner was to permit the Prime Minister to urge his Pacific desires on us. I sat next to him and got it in detail but he talked later to both King and Arnold on the same subject.2 I do not think there is any great complication in the matter and I believe that at the Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting this morning we reached a satisfactory statement for the British, one that we might have taken a long time ago.3

Presumably the meetings here will break up about Saturday but there was an effort to end on Friday. Whether or not this program works out will depend on the possibility of strong differences of opinion en route, though I do not foresee such complications at the present time.

The weather has been beautiful and we are comfortably established; I am in the same rooms I had at the last meeting in Quebec.

I hope that you are not being harassed by Dumbarton complications4 and will get in a good final rest-up before the strenuous fall season commences.

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. For the C.C.S. telegram of September 12 to Eisenhower regarding future campaign plans and memorandums concerning future operations in the Mediterranean and the control of strategic bomber forces in Europe, see Foreign Relations, Conference at Quebec, 1944, pp. 428-34.

2. The Earl of Athlone (Alexander Cambridge) had been governor-general of Canada since 1940. Arnold records in his memoirs that at the dinner, in addition to the Pacific issue, the subject arose of aiding the Polish resistance uprising in Warsaw that the Germans were threatening to crush. “General Marshall and I talked this over at length.” (Henry H. Arnold, Global Mission [New York: Harper and Brothers, 1949], pp. 524-25.)

At the pre-luncheon plenary session, Prime Minister Churchill had reiterated his determination that British naval and strategic bombing units participate in the Pacific war. President Roosevelt, the British minutes record, said “that the British fleet was no sooner offered than accepted.” The Combined Chiefs of Staff meeting following lunch merely “took note” of British proposals. (Ehrman, Grand Strategy, 5:518; Foreign Relations, Conference at Quebec, 1944, p. 321.)

3. On this statement (C.C.S. 452/27), see the preceding editorial note, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-505 [4: 580-81]. The nature of the British role in the Pacific war was not finally decided until the C.C.S. meeting on the morning of September 14, and then not without strenuous objections from Admiral King, who did not wish to commit himself to specific future employment of the British fleet. Moreover, the American minutes record that he stated that he was not “prepared to accept a British Fleet which he could not employ or support,” and “it would be entirely unacceptable for the British main fleet to be employed for political reasons in the Pacific and thus necessitate withdrawal of some of the United States Fleet.” British Army chief Sir Alan Brooke recorded in his diary that King had “lost his temper entirely and was opposed by the whole of his own Committee.” In the end, the British received assurances that their “balanced and self-supporting” fleet would “participate in the main operations against Japan in the Pacific.” (Foreign Relations, Conference at Quebec, 1944, pp. 333, 335; Arthur Bryant, Triumph in the West: A History of the War Years Based on the Diaries of Field-Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff [Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, 1959], p. 205. The British minutes of this discussion are quoted in Ehrman, Grand Strategy, 5: 520-23.)

4. At the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, which had been held in Washington, D.C., since August 21, diplomats from the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union were drafting “Proposals for the Establishment of a General International Organization.”

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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 581-582.

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