3-005 To Lieutenant General Douglas MacArthur, December 7, 1941

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: December 7, 1941

Subject: World War II

To Lieutenant General Douglas MacArthur1

December 7, 1941 Radio No. 736. Washington, D.C.


Hostilities between Japan and the United States, British Commonwealth and Dutch have commenced. Japanese made air raid on Pearl Harbor this morning December 7th. Carry out tasks assigned in Rainbow 5 so far as they pertain to Japan.2 In addition cooperate with the British and Dutch to the utmost without jeopardizing the accomplishment of your primary mission of defense of the Philippines. You are authorized to dispatch air units to operate temporarily from suitable bases in cooperation with the British or Dutch. Report daily major dispositions and all operations. You have the complete confidence of the War Department and we assure you of every possible assistance and support within our power.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the War Plans Division (WPD), 4544-20, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. This message, written shortly before Marshall left for his White House meeting, was sent at 3:22 P.M. E.S.T. and received at MacArthur’s headquarters at 5:35 A.M. (December 8). In an attached holograph note, Marshall stated that the president and the secretary of state orally approved this message and a similar one to other commanders.

2. A revision of War Plan Rainbow 5 had been issued on November 21, 1941, that reflected MacArthur’s insistence that the army move from a defensive to an active posture for the Philippine command; this included conducting air raids against Japanese forces in the region. This is discussed in Louis Morton, The Fall of the Philippines, a volume in the United States Army in World War II (Washington: GPO, 1953), pp. 65, 67, 69.

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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), p. 8.

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Holding ID: 3-005

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