4-459 To Lieutenant General Robert C. Richardson, Jr., July 20, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: July 20, 1944

Subject: World War II

To Lieutenant General Robert C. Richardson, Jr.

July 20, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]

Top Secret

Dear Richardson:

I am not informed as to whether or not you have been advised of the approaching visit of the President to Hawaii.1 Until you are so informed by Admiral Nimitz please do not disclose my mention of the visit to him or to any other individual.

To meet the President and Admiral Leahy, General MacArthur has been directed to arrive at Honolulu on July 26th. He has been told that you would be notified in advance of his arrival—this is the notification—therefore that there would be no occasion for him to communicate in advance with you. As soon as Admiral Nimitz informs you, if he has not already done so, of the President’s proposed visit, please advise him that I had notified you of the fact that General MacArthur was to arrive in Honolulu on July 26th. Incidentally, General MacArthur has not been told that he is to meet the President, though it is quite probable that he has guessed as much. General MacArthur has been advised that in communicating with you of the time of arrival of his plane he, MacArthur, should be referred to as “Mr. Catch”; therefore when some such message arrives you will know whom it refers to and make arrangements accordingly.2

I should like you to arrange for his appropriate reception and for him to stay with you.

I assume that you will know at the time of his arrival when will be the convenient hour for him to pay his respects to the President. You can arrange this through Admiral Leahy.

I assume that there will be no publicity regarding the President’s visit until after his return to the mainland and therefore there should be no reference to General MacArthur’s presence in Hawaii.3 The restrictions regarding the President are not my affair, but I wish you to see that no reference is permitted regarding General MacArthur’s presence in Hawaii except in strict accordance with the President’s instructions.4

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. At this time, the president was at the San Diego, California, naval base. On the night of July 20 he made a radio address to the Democratic party’s national convention in Chicago, accepting the nomination for a fourth term. He was planning to depart soon for Hawaii aboard the cruiser Baltimore, scheduled to reach Pearl Harbor on July 26. Discussions of Roosevelt’s Hawaiian visit and his talks with MacArthur and Nimitz are in William D. Leahy, I Was There: The Personal Story of the Chief of Staff to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, Based on His Notes and Diaries Made at the Time (London: Victor Gollancz, 1950), pp. 291-300, and D. Clayton James, The Years of MacArthur, 3 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970-85), 2: 526-36.

2. On July 6 Marshall notified MacArthur: “Arrange your plans so as to arrive in Honolulu July 26th. It is of utmost importance that the fewest possible number of individuals know of your expected departure or of your destination.” On July 18 Marshall informed MacArthur to “proceed as directed” and that no further orders were necessary. “Purpose general strategical discussion,” cabled Marshall. “I will be in Washington but you will see Leahy, etc. In communicating notice to Army theatre commander of arrival time your plane refer to yourself as Mister Catch.” (Marshall to MacArthur, Radios, July 6 and 18, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

3. Roosevelt’s visit was a “wide open secret” for several days in Pearl Harbor prior to his arrival, but mainland newspapers did not release word of the Hawaiian trip until August 11. (New York Times, August 11, 1944, p. 1.)

4. In his report to Marshall on the president’s visit, Richardson noted that he had been “told by General MacArthur that Admiral Leahy seemed inclined toward his (MacArthur’s) thesis—that it was essential to capture Luzon for the success of the operations against Japan. Parenthetically, I might add that that is my opinion and that of my entire staff, as we fail to see how we can support logistically the great amount of troops to be employed in Formosa unless we have bases in Luzon.” (Richardson to Marshall, August 1, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) For more on this debate, see Marshall to MacArthur, June 24, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-422 [4: 492-95], and Marshall Memorandum for General Embick, September 1, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-494 [4: 567-69].

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. 528-529.

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