4-342 To Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, April 11, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: April 11, 1944

Subject: World War II

To Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark

April 11, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


Dear Clark,

Colonel [Frank] McCarthy, Secretary of the General Staff, will hand you this letter on your arrival at Bolling Field. I have told him to explain to you just why we have had to make very special arrangements for your visit. It was considered quite important that Eisenhower’s brief stay here be kept under cover, but in your particular case the situation is much more critical.1 We have found it utterly impossible to secure secrecy for the visit of any high official to Washington.

Whether or not you find the White Sulphur set-up agreeable to you and Mrs. Clark is for you to determine. There are one or two other places where even greater privacy can be assured, but I doubt if you would have the surrounding comforts and the opportunity for some pleasurable diversions that are available at the White. The cottage is the most luxurious and commodious that we have under control and the surroundings are lovely.

As McCarthy will tell you we should like very much to have you here in Washington for at least a fair portion of a day in the near future and that can be arranged by an air back and forth the same day, as the flight is of a brief duration. I wish to be certain that you are given an opportunity for complete rest and relaxation so will endeavor to control matters to that end. However, it is quite possible that the President will wish to see you and that may involve a flight in a direction other than Washington.

It seems to me that the last few days of your stay we might risk here in Washington because the resulting leak would not be nearly so much to our disadvantage as disclosure of the fact that you have just arrived in this country at this particular moment.

The visit of your opposite has been kept under complete control but that is more easily arranged there than here.2

McCarthy will make clear to you that we will make any arrangements for your mother that you desire. I am having him give you the telephone code I use so that in the event you may wish to telephone here or we to telephone you it will be possible to discuss matters without too many complications as to secrecy.

I have given instructions that every possible arrangement for your comfort is to be provided at White Sulphur, and I shall look forward to seeing you up here.3

Faithfully yours,

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Marshall had notified Clark on April 10 during his stopover at Newfoundland of the importance of secrecy during his visit in the United States. “Insure that all members of your party, plane crew and others who may obtain knowledge of your trip, do not permit leakage. You should send no further communications concerning your journey except in emergency. No individual of plane personnel is to leave plane on arrival in Washington until a representative of War Department has reported to you personally.” (Marshall to Clark, Radio No. WAR-21004, April 10, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 1, Item 27].) For information regarding General Eisenhower’s visit to the United States in January, see Marshall Memorandum for the President, January 4, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-197 [4: 232].

2. General Sir Harold Alexander, commander in chief Allied armies in Italy, was visiting in England.

3. Clark visited with his family in a cottage at the U.S. Army’s Ashford General Hospital (converted from the Greenbrier Hotel resort) in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, for several days after his arrival in Washington on April 11. He met with General Marshall in the chief of staff’s office on April 17. On April 20 General Marshall arranged for Clark to talk to special guests, mostly congressmen, at the Alibi Club in Washington. (Mark W. Clark, Calculated Risk [New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950], pp. 335-37. April 20, 1944, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 46: 192].) For further information, see Marshall Memorandum for the President, April 15, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-351 [4: 409-10].

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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 400-401.

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