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To Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower
December 4, 1942 Radio No. 16 [Washington, D.C.]
From Marshall to Eisenhower for his eyes only.
(Send by direct channel to Freedom, Algiers)1
Sir John Dill expressed to me this morning deep concern over who will deal with the PM when Smith has left London.2 I likewise regard this as an important matter. Smith and I later discussed the possibility of your having Clark proceed with the organization of the Fifth Army and then return to London leaving Fredendall in temporary command.3 This arrangement would make him available for dealing with the PM at least at frequent intervals and still in a position to guide the preparation of the Fifth Army and to concentrate on it exclusively if trouble more seriously threatens in that quarter.
Smith should be informed of this possibility if you so regard it before he leaves London so that he can reassure the PM.4
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 5, Item 4, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Radio messages to Eisenhower’s headquarters had passed through British-controlled facilities in London and Gibraltar prior to December 3.
2. To exercise the necessary unity of command and planning of the TORCH operation, Allied Force Headquarters was established in Britain in August 1942 and formally designated in early September. Eisenhower established an advanced command post of A.F.H.Q. at Gibraltar on November 5-6, then moved to Algiers on November 25. Walter B. Smith, A.F.H.Q. chief of staff, was preparing to move his operations from London to Algiers; he arrived in the Algerian capital on December 11. (Howe, Northwest Africa, pp. 84, 309; Papers of DDE, 1: 457, 2: 769.)
3. Preinvasion plans provided for the creation of the United States Fifth Army in North Africa under Major General Mark W. Clark. The organization was activated on January 5, 1943.
4. Eisenhower replied the next day that he did not wish to have Clark frequently absent from his job of creating “a thoroughly trained striking force under American command”—a job for which he was “most suitable.” He suggested that Smith spend one week in three (even one in two if necessary) in London. Marshall approved this arrangement, but it was never implemented, as radio communications soon improved between Algiers and London. (Papers of DDE, 2: 800-801.)
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), pp. 465-466.