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To Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower
October 30, 1942 Radio [No. R-2593] Washington, D.C.
From General Marshall to General Eisenhower.
I hesitate to burden you with the following discussion but it may be the last time I can conveniently reach you for some weeks to come.
In the mounting of TORCH I have had the War Department do everything in its power to provide what you have asked for. We have stripped units of men, reduced eight or nine divisions to such low levels in personnel that it will require from six to eight months to restore them to their former state of efficiency, and we have scalped the troops in this country for equipment to meet your requirements. I intend to see that this attitude is maintained in the approved program for the buildup of your forces by succeeding convoys. However there are certain measures I should like you to have under consideration to release the pressure on us.
I wish that as soon as you have gotten by the first phase of establishing your position in the African Theatre, that you would take some driving personality and see what can be done quickly to build up SOS forces composed mostly of the natives of that region, with American or possibly even French commanders or chiefs for subpositions. I mean by this that rather than call on us for additional battalions or stevedores, troops or regiments of engineers, and so forth, that you either create there or call on us for the skeleton organization, the ranks to be filled by civilians, ordinary laborers, or what not.
Such a procedure if given wide application and handled by an alert man should not only save us burdensome calls involving tonnage and future maintenance and the heavy drain on personnel but it would give employment to large numbers of people, make them happy with American pay, save us the necessity of providing shelter and rations, and generally win the people who have been under heavy economic pressure for a long time.
I suppose you have had all of this in mind but it is impressed on me because of the drainage, almost the emasculation of our troop setup here in the States in order to provide the massive U.S. SOS for the United Kingdom and all of the SOS and kindred units that we have had to deliver to you. Please have this in mind.1
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. Eisenhower replied the following day that the chief of staff’s messages would continue to reach him via Gibraltar. He promised to build up the Services of Supply from local manpower. (Papers of DDE, 1: 648.)
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. 417-418.