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To Major General Auguste Brossin de Saint-Didier
August 2, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear General de Saint-Didier:
Following our conversation of July 26th, I sent a message to General Stilwell’s headquarters in order to clarify the apparent misunderstanding between that headquarters and the French representatives in Chungking.1 I am enclosing for your information a paraphrase of the reply which has just been received which indicates that there is now no misunderstanding in Chungking. I must ask that the information contained in subparagraphs 4 and 5 of the paraphrase be withheld from the Chinese.2
Concerning proposed arrangements whereby Colonel [Victor] Morizon, Chief of the Research Branch of the French Military Mission in Washington, may have active liaison with G-2 for the development of reciprocal information in the Far East, I feel that the exchange of information affecting operations there will be more direct and effective when made by representatives in the theater. General Bissell has already arranged for exchange of additional information through the Foreign Liaison Office in Washington. I approve of this arrangement and hope that it will prove adequate.
In reference to General Blaizot’s proposed trip to Admiral Mountbatten’s headquarters in Kandy, I appreciate your informing me of the plan. As the question of approval appears to be a British matter and as you have stated that the British have agreed in principle, it does not seem appropriate for me to intervene in the matter, though I do think it advisable that General Blaizot discuss matters with Admiral Mountbatten.3
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 head of the French Military Mission in Chungking had asked General Stilwell’s chief of Intelligence (Lieutenant Colonel Joseph K. Dickey [U.S.M.A., 1931]) to discuss an exchange of information, but Dickey said that since France was not a combatant nation, it could not be done. Saint-Didier pointed out to Marshall that the French Committee of National Liberation in Algiers had declared war on Japan, that the French had a mission in Chungking, and that the French had given U.S. and Chinese authorities in Chungking information, including data on Japanese troop movements. (Statements made by General de Saint-Didier to General Marshall, through an interpreter, July 26, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Major General Clayton L. Bissell, assistant chief of staff for Intelligence, sent Stilwell’s headquarters a message over Marshall’s name asking for clarification of the incident, noting that the incident was “most unfortunate especially considering the truly magnificent fighting of the French Divisions in Italy,” and instructing them to give the French information and to “be liberal in interpretation of these instructions” in areas where the justification for French interest seemed weak. (Marshall [Bissell] to Stilwell, Radio No. WAR-72279, July 28, 1944, ibid.)
2. The attached paraphrased message stated that Dickey had told the French that he was not at liberty to disclose to them information on the Japanese Order of Battle since French forces were not actively participating in the fight against Japan, but he did not realize that he had given the impression that he was criticizing French efforts in Europe. In the numbered subparagraphs that Marshall mentions, Stilwell’s headquarters stated that “some of the things we do for the French to foster good will and cooperation are: 1. Furnish transportation to them to all points in China. 2. Transmit radio messages for them into Indo-China. 3. Give them radio sets. 4. Many times we have furnished them with an officer escort to the Indo-China border so that their papers would not be intercepted by the Chinese. 5. We safely transport any of their papers passed to us whenever the Chinese restrict French travel.”
3. In late 1943, the French Committee of National Liberation expressed its determination to get French troops into the Pacific war (particularly into Indochina), and they were sensitive to any indication that their participation might be questioned. The committee was planning a Far East Expeditionary Corps of two brigades—to be commanded by Lieutenant General Roger Blaizot—and had already received some materiel from the British, but the United States, which would have to provide most of the materiel, had not responded to French proposals. The French renewed their pressure on the United States concerning the Expeditionary Corps in the autumn of 1944, but they were unable to get a commitment of support prior to the Japanese surrender in 1945. See Marcel Vigneras, Rearming the French, a volume in the United States Army in World War II (Washington: GPO, 1957), pp. 391-99.
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. 541-543.