5-120 To Winston S. Churchill, May 9, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 9, 1945

Subject: World War II

To Winston S. Churchill

Memorandum for Brigadier Cornwall-Jones

from Colonel McCarthy

May 9, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]

General Marshall requests that the following message from him to General Ismay be transmitted through British channels:

“I shall appreciate your passing the following to the Prime Minister after he has read the deluge of congratulations from his own people and the heads of state throughout the world:

`It has been a long and terrible road for you, Sir, since the fall of France. I can bear personal witness to the grandeur of your leadership since the meeting in Newfoundland in 1941. The long succession of conferences which followed, notably that in Washington in December of the same year and in London with Harry Hopkins and me in April of 1942, are clear in my mind as great mileposts in the evidence of your vast contribution to the reestablishment of a civilized peace in Europe.

`I can never forget, there will always be in my mind, the breadth of your vision and your generous attitude in effecting the coordination and final crystallization of our combined plans. Personally I will cherish the friendship and confidence you gave me during the seemingly slow and tortuous progress to the greatest, the most complete victory in modern history.

G. C. Marshall’”1


Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.


1. “It has not fallen to your lot to command the great armies. You have had to create them, organise them, and inspire them,” replied Churchill. “Under your guiding hand the mighty and valiant formations which have swept across France and Germany were brought into being and perfected in an amazingly short space of time. . . . You have been the mainspring of that marvellous organisation, the Combined Chiefs of Staff, whose conduct and relationship will ever be a model for the planning and supervision of Allied and Combined operations.” The prime minister concluded, “There has grown in my breast through all these years of mental exertion a respect and admiration for your character and massive strength which has been a real comfort to your fellow-toilers, of whom I hope it will always be recorded that I was one.” (Churchill to Marshall, May 17, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

When the prime minister’s office requested the chief of staff’s permission to release his message to Churchill and the prime minister’s reply, General Marshall had no objection to the prime minister releasing Marshall’s May 9 message to Churchill. On the other hand, “General Marshall feels that the release of the Prime Minister’s message, while very complimentary to General Marshall, would be embarrassing to him in relation to his Chief of Staff associates.” (Frank McCarthy Memorandum for Brigadier Cornwall-Jones, May 17, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 174-175.


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Holding ID: 5-120

Rights: Public Information