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To Major General Joseph T. McNarney
April 17, 1942 Radio No. 2419. London, England
From Marshall to McNarney.
Air Ministry agrees to loan repeat loan from British alloctions of up to 10 liberator and 24 B-25 aircraft to bring U. S. Bombardment Squardrons in India up to full strength with U. S. crews. Do this.
With regard to Pursuit aircraft Air Ministry feels that they should be taking gravest risks in Middle East if Kitty Hawks now allotted to that theatre are used for any other purpose. The use of Ranger they believe is of great value in speeding up deliveries to India and Middle East and request use of any vacant space in the ship for as many Kitty Hawks as possible for the Middle East.1
So far as practicable use Ranger for transport of U. S. Pursuit for India to Africa and give all additional space to British Kitty Hawks for Middle East. U. S. to provide ferry pilots for same.
A copy of this message is to be attached to the message from me to the President which will follow this shortly today.
Document Copy Text Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers, President’s Secretary’s File, Safe, Marshall, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. In lieu of a Pacific Fleet offensive, Churchill posed two alternatives in his April 15 plea for more naval assistance: Roosevelt could send the battleship North Carolina and the carrier Ranger to the Indian Ocean, or place North Carolina at the Home Fleet’s Scapa Flow anchorage in order to free H.M.S. Duke of York for duty off Ceylon, accompanied by Ranger. (Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence, 1: 453.) Admiral King refused to commit American naval forces to the Indian Ocean because it would dilute his Pacific Ocean buildup. Furthermore, naval intelligence had received no evidence of an impending invasion of India. Diplomatically rewording a draft reply by King, Roosevelt informed Churchill that Ranger was structurally unsuited for combat operations. The president revealed the navy’s offer to use the carrier to ferry Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks to the Middle East for the Royal Air Force. Besides placement of Brereton’s airmen under British command, Roosevelt could only promise to consider placement of capital ships at Scapa Flow. (Ibid., pp. 454-56; on naval reinforcements to the Indian Ocean, see note 2, Marshall to Churchill, April 28, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-170 [3: 175-6].)
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 163-164.