3-263 To Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower, July 30, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: July 30, 1942

Subject: World War II

To Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower

July 30, 1942 Washington, D.C.


Dear Eisenhower:

Sir John Dill leaves for London tomorrow morning so I am dictating this letter to be carried by him for you.

A radio went to you yesterday giving the details of the planning team to be sent from here to you immediately.1 Meanwhile the matter of command control remains undecided as the President has not yet indicated his intentions. Under these circumstances I consider it necessary that you take the bull by the horns and endeavor to push through the organizational set-up on the basis that you will be the Deputy for whoever is designated for supreme command. We cannot afford to drag along at this late date. Furthermore the President is extremely urgent that Torch be launched at the earliest possible date—which also indicates the necessity for aggressive action on your part.2

To what extent you can bring about an organization under these circumstances I do not know, but do your best to crystallize matters and get away from committees.

The more I think about it the more I am convinced that the quickest way to permit the proper concentration on preliminary Torch arrangements would be to get British acquiescence to the assignment of all Sledgehammer planning to Mountbatten and his staff.3 They are competent, they have their plans for Cherbourg and the Channel Islands, they are to handle the large Commando operations, so that we could feel that Sledgehammer was being followed through, and yet we would be free to put the maximum drive on Torch. Whether or not you can manage this I do not know but it certainly would be most helpful if you find it possible to do so.

To meet the President’s desire for an early date for Torch would necessitate an earlier date for the final decision as to Torch which is now set for September 15th. This phase of the matter I think can be adjusted without great difficulty a little later. Meanwhile however we have to determine when the actual commitment must be made insofar as it pertains to the collection and preparation of shipping. Last evening Admiral Cooke,4 Handy and I had a lengthy conference on this matter. Cooke feels that 90 days prior to the initial landings will be required in order to rearrange the shipping and make special installations on certain boats. This is a tentative figure because we do not yet know just what the British will be able to furnish the First Division. Incidentally, I regard it of great importance that the First Division be thoroughly rehearsed with the ships, boats and boat crews to be involved. The lesson in Madagascar apparently was that a great familiarity is necessary between the crews of the various vessels and the troops they carry.5

Handy is to give me a preliminary report this morning as to what effect on Bolero and Sledgehammer shipments during August and September boat readjustments for Torch might have. This information will be sent to you.

The Secretary of War and Arnold are very much disturbed over the possible reductions in the bombing force to be built up in the United Kingdom for operations against Germany. The withdrawals from England for U.S. Torch and the list of possible withdrawals from the Bolero program which were included in the recent London agreement, in their opinion, particularly Arnold’s, will produce a serious reduction in the power of the bombing attack on Germany, with the possible consequence of much heavier return blows against Great Britain.

For your personal and confidential information, I regarded the list of withdrawals for the Pacific as one which gave us liberty of action though not necessarily to be carried out in full, and no dates were mentioned. Of course Admiral King probably would like to have them all in the Pacific and we will have to settle that phase here. However, my intention is to make only the withdrawals that seem urgently required for the Pacific as the situation develops there. I am quite certain that an additional heavy bomber group must go into the Pacific in August. Additional withdrawals will depend on the development of the situation there.

Smith is getting Admiral Leahy established, and I have in mind next week bringing up the question of his transfer to England about August 10th.6

This is a very hastily dictated note, so treat it accordingly. You are generally familiar with my views and the circumstances under which the recent agreement was arrived at. I think with this as a basis you are in a position to use your own judgment without fear of committing me in some manner contrary to my desires.

Faithfully yours,

G. C. Marshall

Document Copy Text Source: Dwight D. Eisenhower Papers, Pre-Presidential, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas.

Document Format: Typed letter signed.

1. “I feel that initiation of overall planning for operations contemplated is urgent,” Marshall had notified Eisenhower. Accordingly, he directed that two officers from the Operations Division, a shipping expert from Services of Supply, three airmen to be chosen by Arnold, and a military attach

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