4-386 To Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith, May 16, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 16, 1944

Subject: World War II

To Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith

May 16, 1944 [Radio No. WAR-37216.] Washington, D.C.


From Marshall for Smith’s eyes only.

The head of the French Mission, General Saint-Didier, has just brought to me an advice from General Bethouart in Algiers that Koenig had requested the cancellation of the assignment of Colonel Le Bel and recommending his return to North Africa because of the notice that the Allied Expeditionary Forces deemed that his assignment to the staff could not be accomplished at this time.1 General Bethouart appeals to me with the request to confirm the decision taken with reference to Le Bel and expressing his appreciation if I would give him the reasons motivating this decision.

What line should I take?

Saint-Didier also brought up the question of the bombing of railway installations costing the lives of French citizens. I will take this up later with General Eisenhower.2 Meanwhile I pass on this seemingly practical request of Bethouart through Saint-Didier: that General Eisenhower request Koenig to provide him with a chart of the vital rail installations in France with the French recommendations as to the points most critical for the operation of the railroads. As I see it superficially at the moment this involves no disclosure of secrecy as to the character of OVERLORD as we are already engaged in a general bombing throughout northern and northwestern France.3

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. Major General Auguste Brossin de Saint-Didier replaced Lieutenant General Emile B

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