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To Major General Auguste Brossin de Saint-Didier
September 6, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear General Brossin de Saint-Didier:
I have just received your letter advising of the plans of the French High Command to organize immediately two French divisions, one in the northern zone, and one in the southern zone of France, with your request that 30,000 sets of clothing and individual equipment, per T/E [Table of Equipment] 21, be furnished therefor.
I am radioing for immediate comment upon this plan by Generals Eisenhower and Devers as to their ability to furnish the necessary equipment from their present stocks. It is essential that we receive their comments, but I am prepared to act immediately upon receipt of their favorable replies.
The U.S. Chiefs of Staff have approved the general policies applicable to the entire French rearmament program. While this plan does not contemplate the equipment of complete additional divisions, it does permit a charge for the requisite number of sets of clothing and individual equipment to be made against the plan in case it should prove to be desirable.
I am indeed glad to hear that you have been able to reconstitute the 19th Division, and sincerely hope that its infantry and artillery components will be in condition to participate at an early date in operations against the Germans.1
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. The French desired to absorb the various resistance groups, reconstitute their armed forces, and participate in the final battles and occupation of Germany. The British wanted to equip French manpower for posthostilities occupation duties. Eisenhower and Devers, however, replied to Marshall’s September 5 message that they desired French service and internal security troops not more combat troops. Negotiations and proposals regarding these issues continued for weeks. At the end of October, influenced by stiffening German resistance, Eisenhower changed his position and proposed that two additional French infantry divisions be activated and equipped for use as replacements. At the end of November, the French submitted a new enlarged armament plan to the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Saint-Didier met with Marshall on December 18 to try to expedite C.C.S. consideration of the new plan. By the end of December 1944, the German Ardennes offensive plus a shortage of infantry replacements for the U.S. Army had led to an agreement to enlarge the French Army in 1945. (These issues are examined in Vigneras, Rearming the French, pp. 321-36.)
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), p. 574.