4-044 To Major General Walter Bedell Smith, July 10, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: July 10, 1943

Subject: World War II

To Major General Walter Bedell Smith

July 10, 1943 Radio No. 2192 [Washington, D.C.]


From General Marshall for General Smith’s eyes only.

Reference your W 4249 regarding troop necessities,1 do not refer this to Eisenhower or bother him in any way about it. But I want to hear from you further, because I still do not see that you are endeavoring to utilize French troops to the full extent possible. We have authorized you to use French troops for prison guards and yet no reference is made to that. Do they decline this service? Is there any other use you can make of French units that has not been included in the program?

Materiel for 14 AA Battalions has been sent to the French. It will be necessary for the French supporting troops to be trained for future operations and this training on the job might well be adapted to your present needs. Is there a further possibility of using native labor more extensively, organizing controlled units, etc., for this purpose? This whole matter is exceedingly serious. We have just had to authorize the transfer of a complete personnel convoy in August from ETO to your people at an expense of 90,000 troops for the former.2

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Top Secret Message File CM-OUT-4184, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. See note 1, Marshall to Eisenhower, July 5, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-037 [4: 45-46].

2. Smith replied that Allied Force Headquarters was doing its best to use French troops and further French units had been made available, but French military leaders had an intense desire to create their own strong, modern force and did not wish to divert troops to housekeeping duties. More native labor companies were being formed, “but the labor supply is rather limited. This may sound strange but actually money is of no interest to an Arab and once he has obtained a few clothes and enough food to last him for a few weeks he has no interest in work either.” Smith wrote that despite the problems, “I believe we can do still more to reduce our program and I will flog the dead horse again.” (Smith to Marshall, Radio No. W-4721, July 11, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OPD, Exec. 3, Item 5].)

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. 53-54.

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