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To Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower
November 9, 1942 Radio [No. R-2969] Washington, D.C.
For Eisenhower personally from General Marshall.
Reference my number 2939 November 8th and your number 187 November 9th, the proposal was from me personally and not from Surles.1 I am concerned to have a wonderful press kept to its same tone by filling in gaps in communique business with details regarding personal items. For that reason I thought the Clark story would fill the papers and satisfy them over a dry spot such as we have at this writing. The name of the officer commanding the battalion that took to small boats and covered 120 miles is another example. The name of the leader of Combat Command B that made the Oran assault is still another.
I know the reaction will be that until we have all the information we do not know exactly who should be favored but I also know from experience that if we wait for perfection somebody else will nominate the individual for press heroics. Therefore have your public relations people endeavor to give us some playup on individuals, enough so that one man is not starred at a ridiculous elevation.2
Incidentally, we are engaged in a terrific struggle with governmental agencies and with the Congress on manpower and you are familiar with the struggle in the South and Southwest Pacific. All these have a bearing on the foregoing.
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. Marshall’s November 8 message said: “From time to time we will give to the American press newsworthy items which do not pertain to future operations. On what date can we release story of Clark’s submarine rendezvous with Flagpole and what part of story, if any, should be withheld.” (Marshall to Eisenhower, Radio No. R-2939, November 8, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-2658)].) “Flagpole” was the code name for French Major General Charles E. Mast, commander of the Algiers Division. Major General Mark W. Clark’s secret mission to meet with Mast in Algeria is described in Clark, Calculated Risk, pp. 68-87. Eisenhower replied that while he did not wish to hamper the public relations sections, “until further notice” it was “not advisable, in view of many delicate aspects of this operation,” to report incidents connected with the TORCH operation. (Eisenhower to Combined Chiefs of Staff, Radio No. 187, November 9,1942, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 5, Item 5 (CM-IN-3792)].)
2. Eisenhower’s reply of November 10 is printed in Papers of DDE, 2: 686-88. Marshall’s response to this was: “regarding press releases on personal feature stories, you should make such releases as you see fit rather than pass them on to me. I am sorry to have troubled you to such length regarding this matter. As it is plainly evident that you are fully aware of the importance of these distinctly minor matters I leave it all in your hands.” (Marshall to Eisenhower, Radio No. R-3014, November 11, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 431-432.