3-440 To Major General Russell L. Maxwell, December 6, 1942

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: December 6, 1942

Subject: World War II

To Major General Russell L. Maxwell

December 6, 1942 Radio No. AMSME 2183 Washington, D.C.


For General Maxwell for his eyes only from General Marshall.

I have received radio from Gen. Andrews recommending your transfer to some other assignment. He states that your morale has evidently suffered a serious blow by reason of being superseded in command in the Middle East and that you have recommended this transfer to him.1 In my no. 1048, June 15, which notified you that you would be designated to command in the Middle East, you were told that probably another officer would be designated theater commander in event of the sending of an appreciable number of combat troops to Middle East. It must have been evident to you that as soon as the command became tactical it would be put under a line officer. Consequently I am unable to understand your apparent reaction to the present situation. Before proceeding further I want you to give me, through General Andrews, a full and frank statement of your feelings and attitude.2

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Executive File 10, Item 44, National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. Between June 16 and November 4, 1942, Maxwell had been commanding general of United States Army Forces in the Middle East, one of two U.S. Army commands in the Africa-Middle East Theater. Lieutenant General Frank M. Andrews superseded him on November 4. A month later Andrews told the chief of staff that Maxwell had “done a fine job” and that he had “vision and executive ability. . . The fly in the ointment is his morale which suffered a serious blow by reason of his loss of command of our forces in the Middle East. I had hoped that with a little time he could recover but now a month is passed and the hurt is still there. It is evident that his staff which is properly loyal to him is also affected.”

He recommended that Maxwell be reassigned, but he hoped the change would be “made without prejudice to Maxwell’s career as he is a valuable officer.” (Andrews to Marshall, Radio No. AMSME 2945, December 4, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

2. Marshall’s June 15 telegram is in NA/RG 165 (OPD, 384 Africa, Sec. 1). The editors have not found Maxwell’s reply to the document printed here. He was returned to Washington in March 1943, and in May he became commanding general of Camp Ellis, Illinois, an Army Service Forces training center.

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. 473-474.

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