The Supreme Commander

Christmas eve, 1943, found the world in its fourth year of war. The Allies, still faced with the grim spectacle of western Europe under Axis domination, gained some cheer from the knowledge that their position had improved substantially in the year just ending. Not only had they won victories in the Mediterranean, on the Eastern Front, and in the Pacific, but the Western Powers and the Soviet Union had at last agreed upon the strategy for breaking the power of Hitler. As radio audiences listened that Christmas Eve to the carols already beginning to fill the air, they heard the President of the United States announce the selection of General Dwight David Eisenhower as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force that was to march against Germany. The appointment meant that an important milestone in World War II had been passed. The last great phase of the war in the West was about to begin and peace seemed somehow nearer than it had before.

The Selection of the Supreme Commander

Almost a year had elapsed between the Casablanca Conference, which decided that a Supreme Commander would be named, and the announcement of 24 December. 1 The appointment had been postponed initially on the ground that more than a year would pass before the invasion of northwest Europe (Operation OVERLORD) could be launched. The conferees thought it sufficient at that stage to select a Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC)2 and give him power to choose a staff and to conduct preliminary planning for the cross-Channel operation. Lt. Gen. Frederick E. Morgan was named to head the COSSAC staff. It was assumed that members of his staff would serve as a nucleus for the future Supreme Headquarters.

The final decision on a Supreme Commander was delayed further for several different reasons--some quite clear cut and others indeterminate. The first, discussed at the Casablanca Conference, had to do with the nationality of the Supreme Commander. The U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, realizing that any attack made in the near future would have to be mounted largely by the British, said that the appointment if made then should go to a British officer. Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill proposed that the decision be postponed, suggesting that the question be settled ultimately in accordance with the


general rule that the command be held "by an officer of the nation which furnishes the majority of the troops." Through the spring of 1943 when plans were being discussed for small-scale operations on the Continent to be mounted in case of German weakening or at signs of Russian collapse, it seemed clear that British forces would dominate and that a British officer would command. In this period, the Prime Minister informed Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, that he would command the invasion of Europe.3 Partly in anticipation of this appointment, General Morgan organized the early staff of COSSAC in accordance with the British staff system.4

By the end of April 1943, General Morgan had concluded that the command of a cross-Channel attack would have to go to an American, since the United States would have to furnish everything "to follow up the initial effort . . . This sentiment was echoed in the United States, where the responsible military leaders believed that the launching of the cross-Channel operation, toward which the British Chiefs of Staff were believed to be lukewarm, would be insured if it had a U.S. commander.5 The Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, pressed this view on the President on the eve of the Allied conference at Quebec in August 1943, adding that the selection of Gen. George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, would be the best guarantee that the operation would be carried out. Mr. Harry L. Hopkins, unofficial adviser to the President, also strongly urged the selection of General Marshall. Mr. Roosevelt, impressed by their reasoning, reached an agreement with Prime Minister Churchill at Quebec that an American should lead the cross Channel attack, and apparently indicated that General Marshall would be named.


Roosevelt told Secretary Stimson shortly after the Quebec Conference that the first proposal had come from Churchill although it meant taking the command from General Brooke. It is clear that the President wanted Marshall to have the


Supreme Command in Europe, and that the British interposed no objection. They expected the U.S. Chief of Staff to be appointed, and it appears that some agreement had been made whereby he would act with the British Chiefs of Staff in London on matters affecting operations in the European theater.6

Even after agreeing tentatively on the person to be named to the Supreme Command, the President delayed making the final selection. While he was convinced that General Marshall should be chosen in order that he might have proper credit for his work in building the American Army, Mr. Roosevelt still wished to retain the Chief of Staff's services in Washington as long as possible.7

Publication of statements that General Marshall was to lead the cross-Channel attack received a varied reaction in the United States. Many newspapers took the appointment as a matter of course and declared that the Chief of Staff was the logical nominee for the job. Critics of the administration in the press and Congress took a different stand. Apparently not knowing that Secretary of War Stimson was urging the appointment and saying that it was something which General Marshall wanted more than anything else, the opponents of the President attributed the selection to everything from a British plot to get rid of a U.S. Chief of Staff who opposed their schemes to a suggestion, branded by Mr. Stimson as "outrageous libel," that the proposal was prompted by an administration scheme to replace General Marshall with a political general who would manipulate the awarding of war contracts in a manner to re-elect Mr. Roosevelt in 1944. The Army and Navy Journal and the Army and Navy Register, which reflected the views of many officers in the services, objected to the shift on military grounds. So much anxiety was evidenced by members of Congress that Secretary Stimson and General Marshall at length found it necessary to deny the charges that the President was interfering with the War Department.8

Part of the concern over the proposed appointment arose from reports that General Marshall's colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff were opposed to the change. Their reaction was due not to the fear that politics was involved but to the feeling that it was necessary to retain General Marshall as a member of the Combined Chiefs of Staff where he could fight for U.S. concepts




of Allied strategy. Their view was shared by General of the Armies John J. Pershing who, as the elder statesman of the Army, warned the President in mid-September that the proposed transfer of the Chief of Staff would be a "fundamental and very grave error in our military policy." The President agreed on the need of keeping General Marshall in Washington, but held that the Chief of Staff deserved a chance to lead in the field the Army which he had developed.9

Although members of the War Department had good reason to know that there was no disposition on the part of the President to "kick General Marshall upstairs," they nonetheless feared that the shift of the Chief of Staff to a field command would result in an actual demotion and remove from the Combined Chiefs of Staff the stanchest proponent of the cross-Channel attack. They therefore backed proposals outlined by the Operations Division of the War Department giving General Marshall control of the operational forces in the cross-Channel attack but still retaining him in his position on the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Under one such plan, the Chief of Staff would command all United Nations forces and at the same time keep his vote on European matters in the Combined Chiefs of Staff organization. It was proposed that the position of Deputy Supreme Commander and the command in the Mediterranean be given to British officers, while operational command of the cross-Channel attack should go to an American.10

To a degree the American planners were trying to have their cake and eat it too. They wanted operational command of the OVERLORD forces, but at the same time they wanted to be sure that the OVERLORD viewpoint was fully represented in the Combined Chiefs of Staff. They were particularly anxious to place firm control of operations in the hands of an American general. This attitude was strengthened as it became increasingly clear that the United States would furnish more than half of the forces and supplies to be committed in the cross-Channel operation. The British, who in a sense had General Pershing's World War I problem of preserving their national identity in an Allied force, were equally determined to keep a large share of control over the Supreme Command and were not disposed to strengthen Washington's grip on operations and policy. They thus balked at any proposal that would place a U.S. commander, not only over the Allied forces in Europe, but over all United Nations forces fighting Germany and at the same time


would leave him a voice on the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The Americans undoubtedly had few illusions that they could persuade the British to accept all of these points. It is more likely that from the beginning they were ready to settle for some expansion of General Marshall's powers beyond those of Supreme Commander in Europe.

Reports of these proposals reached the American press and allayed some fears that Marshall was to be removed from a role in determining Allied military policy. The same reports caused Mr. Churchill some uneasiness, and he wrote Mr. Hopkins that the proposals were contrary to those agreed upon at Quebec.11

While these plans were being discussed in Washington and London, the President and his military advisers proceeded on the assumption that General Marshall would command the cross-Channel attack. General Marshall himself began to make detailed suggestions for the command structure of Operation OVERLORD. In October he invited his prospective chief of staff for the operation, General Morgan, to Washington so that the British general could acquire information about the United States and its people which would be of value in dealing with Americans at Supreme Allied Headquarters. General Morgan, on his arrival in Washington, pressed for immediate appointment of the Supreme Commander, explaining that someone with authority was needed to secure the men and materiel for the operation. He carried his plea to the President but was told that General Marshall could not be spared at that time. Mr. Roosevelt was willing, however, for the British to name a Deputy Supreme Commander at once. The British Government repeated General Morgan's request in October, but again the President demurred, cabling this time that the appointment of a Supreme Commander would give away Allied plans to the enemy. He added that he had made no final decision on a replacement for a Chief of Staff, since it was possible that General Eisenhower, who was being considered for Marshall's place in Washington, would be made an army group commander in the cross-Channel operation.12

No final decision had been taken on the Supreme Commander and his deputy on the eve of the Allied conference at Cairo and Tehran at the end of November 1943. General Eisenhower, who was regarded as the likely successor to General Marshall as Chief of Staff, had been given no official


word, but various visitors to his headquarters from London and Washington in the fall of 1943 indicated that Marshall's appointment as Supreme Commander and Eisenhower's transfer to Washington would soon be announced. General Eisenhower had attempted to anticipate this latter move by sending word to Washington through his chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, that he would prefer to serve under General Marshall as army group commander rather than take the post of Army Chief of Staff.13

The selection of General Marshall seemed certain when British and U.S. representatives, on their way to Cairo in November 1943, stopped by at Allied Force Headquarters where General Eisenhower was in command. Mr. Hopkins said that General Marshall would definitely be Supreme Commander if the British did not "wash out" on the cross-Channel operation at Tehran. Admiral Ernest J. King, discussing the matter in the presence of General Marshall, told General Eisenhower that the President had tentatively decided to give the command to the Chief of Staff against the advice of the other members of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. The Prime Minister somewhat later, while expressing his willingness to have either Marshall or Eisenhower, thought that the appointment would go to the Chief of Staff. Finally, in late November, the President himself explained the situation to General Eisenhower. Mr. Roosevelt was impressed by the fact that field commanders rather than chiefs of staff were remembered in history. He felt that General Marshall's contributions to American victory should be recognized by a command in the field, even at the expense of losing him as Chief of Staff. This statement seemed to clinch the matter, leaving General Eisenhower, on the eve of his appointment as Supreme Commander, to assume that his work as a field commander would soon be ended.14

Shortly before the conferences at Cairo and Tehran, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff discussed plans for getting British consent to the appointment of General Marshall as commander of all western Allied operations against Germany, and to the organization of the strategic air forces in Europe and the Mediterranean under one head. General Marshall, embarrassed because the proposal that he command all Allied forces in Europe appeared over his signature, declared that he would concentrate on pushing the plan to integrate strategic air forces in Europe.15

In their discussions en route to Cairo, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff also considered the possibility of giving over-all command of Allied operations to a British officer if that should be necessary to get British acceptance of the OVERLORD operation. Churchill's statement early in the conference that OVERLORD "remained top of the bill" made any concession unnecessary. On 25 November, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff asked for an arrangement which, if accepted, would have placed firm strategic and tactical control in the hands of the Supreme


Allied Commander.16 With an American in the post, Washington, rather than London, would have the dominant voice in decisions on strategy. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff asked that Allied forces in the west be put at once under one commander, and that he should "exercise command over the Allied force commanders in the Mediterranean, in northwest Europe, and of the strategic air forces." They added that any delay in adopting this plan was likely to lead to confusion and indecision. Under their proposal, the Supreme Commander would be directed to carry out the agreed European strategy. He would be charged with the location and timing of operations and with the allocation of forces and materiel made available to him by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. His decisions would be subject to reversal by the Combined Chiefs.17

The British, impressed by the "immense political implications" of a scheme which they felt should receive the earnest consideration of the British and U.S. Governments, objected to the proposal. They pointed to political, economic, industrial, and domestic questions which a Supreme Commander would have to settle by reference to the heads of the two governments. The Supreme Commander, they concluded, would be able to settle only comparatively minor and strictly military matters. To an American argument that similar authority had been granted Marshal Ferdinand Foch in 1918, the British replied that the French commander had been given only the Western and Italian fronts, whereas the proposed arrangement would add to those two theaters the Balkan Front and the Turkish Front, if opened. They asked that the existing machinery for the high-level direction of war be retained, and that changes in it be confined to improving that machinery rather than embarking "upon an entirely novel experiment, which merely makes a cumbrous and unnecessary link in the chain of command, and which will surely lead to disillusionment and disappointment." 18

No agreement was reached by the U.S. and British representatives at Cairo before they recessed the conference to go to Tehran for a meeting with Marshal Joseph Stalin and his advisers. They were thus unprepared to answer the Russian leader on 99 November when he asked who was to lead the cross-Channel attack. He reminded Roosevelt and Churchill that it was not enough to have a chief of staff in charge of OVERLORD planning, since a newly appointed Supreme Commander might disapprove of what had been done before his selection. If a commander was not appointed, Marshal Stalin said, nothing would come of the operation. At this, the President whispered to Admiral Leahy: "That old Bolshevik is trying to force me to give him the name of our Supreme Commander. I just can't tell him because I have not yet made up my mind."

The Prime Minister replied to Stalin that the British had already expressed their willingness to serve under a U.S. commander in the OVERLORD operation. Apparently mindful of the unsettled matter of the over-all command, Mr. Church-


ill added that decisions at the conference might have a bearing on the choice. He said that the President could name the Supreme Commander for OVERLORD if he accepted the British offer to serve under a United States commander, and proposed that when the selection was made the Russian commander be told who it would be. Stalin hastily added that he had no desire to take part in the selection, but stressed the necessity of taking action as soon as possible. On 30 November, the President took notice of Stalin's interest in the matter by saying that the selection would be made in three or four days, certainly soon after the return of the Allied delegations to Cairo. Marshal Stalin's pressure for the immediate naming of the Supreme Commander may have hastened by a few days the announcement of the selection, but that action had already been made essential by the fact that the Allies were scheduled to launch the cross-Channel operation in May 1944, less than six months from the time of the conference.19

The proposal to appoint an over-all commander for the forces of the Allies in the west was apparently dropped just before the Allied leaders left Tehran or shortly after they returned to Cairo.20 The appointment of General Marshall merely to head the OVERLORD attack would mean, as Mr. Roosevelt well realized, that he would not be available to press the U.S. case in sessions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Knowledge of this fact may have increased the President's reluctance to forego the services of the Chief of Staff. Furthermore, he wanted to keep General Marshall in Washington to handle the ticklish problems of relations with the Pacific theater and with members of Congress. These matters, Mr. Roosevelt believed, could be better handled by the Chief of Staff than by General Eisenhower. On the other hand, he was convinced that Eisenhower could handle the European command successfully. Not only had he proved his ability to command Allied forces in the Mediterranean theater, but his appearance before the Combined Chiefs of Staff at Cairo had demonstrated a firm grasp of the military situation and added to the good impression he had previously made. Moreover, from the time of the first discussions of a Supreme Commander for OVERLORD his name had been coupled with that of General Marshall's as a possible choice to lead the cross-Channel operation, and it was clear that he was completely acceptable to the British for the post.21

Still hesitant to make the final decision, the President on 4 December sent Mr.


Hopkins to the Chief of Staff to ask if he would express a preference between his present position and that of Supreme Commander. General Marshall simply replied that he would accept any decision the President might make. On Sunday, 5 December, Mr. Roosevelt personally invited the Chief of Staff to make the decision. When Marshall repeated that any action of the President would be acceptable, Mr. Roosevelt remarked that he believed he could not sleep at night with the Chief of Staff out of the country. The President then decided to name General Eisenhower Supreme Commander.22

The Cairo Conference adjourned without the establishment of an over-all Allied command and without the unification of British and U.S. strategic air forces in the Mediterranean and European theaters.23

An arrangement was made for a British officer to take charge of all Allied forces in the Mediterranean area with the title of Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater (SACMED). The post went to Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, who was told to assume command from General Eisenhower when the latter, having regard to the progress of the operation then under way against Rome, thought it desirable.24

General Eisenhower's first hint of his appointment came on the morning of 7 December in a somewhat cryptic radiogram from General Marshall. Apparently assuming that General Eisenhower had been notified, Marshall said: "In view of the impending appointment of a British officer as your successor as Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean, please submit to me in Washington your recommendations in brief as to the best arrangement for handling the administration, discipline, training and supply of American troops assigned to Allied Force under this new command." Later in the same day at Tunis, where General Eisenhower had gone to meet the President and his party, Mr. Roosevelt himself notified the new Supreme Commander of his appointment.25

General Eisenhower spent the remaining days of December in the Mediterranean theater continuing to supervise operations then in progress and preparing to hand over control of Mediterranean forces to General Wilson. The shifts in command were announced officially on


24 December by the President and Prime Minister. At the same time, Mr. Churchill announced that Gen. Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, commander of the Eighth British Army, would succeed Gen. Sir Bernard Paget as commander of the 21 Army Group. Near the end of December, at General Marshall's urging, General Eisenhower prepared to go to Washington to discuss with the Joint Chiefs of Staff the allocations of men and materiel for OVERLORD and to take a short rest. On 1 January 1944, after instructing Generals Montgomery and Smith to represent him in London until his return from Washington, and alter a brief visit with the Prime Minister at Marrakech, Eisenhower left North Africa for the United States.

The New Commander

The newly appointed Supreme Commander had advanced rapidly since March 1941 when, as chief of staff of IX Corps at Fort Lewis, Washington, he had been promoted to the temporary rank of full colonel. At that time, with the United States still some months away from war, there was little to indicate that within three years he would be chosen for the chief Allied military role in the west. His early Army career after graduation from West Point in 1915 had included wartime tours of duty as an instructor at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., Fort Meade, Md., and Fort Leavenworth, Kans., and as commandant of the tank training center at Camp Colt, Pa. Between the two wars he had gone through a number of Army schools, including the Infantry Tank School at Fort Meade, the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, from which he graduated first in the class of 1926, the Army War College, and the Army Industrial College. His Army assignments included three years in Panama with the 20th Infantry Brigade, a year in France while he was helping to revise the American Battle Monuments Commission's Guidebook to American Battlefields in Europe, a tour of duty at the beginning of the thirties as assistant executive officer in the office of the Assistant Secretary of War, two years in the office of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Chief of Staff, and four years (1935-39) as senior military assistant to General MacArthur in the Philippines. He returned to the United States in 1939 and held in rapid succession the posts of executive officer of the 15th Infantry Regiment, chief of staff of the 3d Division, and chief of staff of the IX Corps.

In the summer of 1941 Colonel Eisenhower was appointed chief of staff of Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger's Third Army, which was then preparing for the Louisiana maneuvers against Second Army. He was still inconspicuous enough to be identified in a picture taken during maneuvers as "Lt. Col. D.D. Ersenbeing," and to be dismissed by Second Army's intelligence section as a good plodding student. The results of the maneuvers, which newsmen hailed as a victory for the Third Army, brought him favorable acclaim for his performance as chief of staff.26 In part because of this work, but undoubtedly more because of his knowledge of the Philippines, he was brought to the War Plans Division of the War Department one week after the Pearl Harbor disaster as deputy chief for the Pacific and Far East.

Once started on his way up, General Eisenhower rose rapidly. Scarcely two


months after he arrived in Washington, he succeeded Maj. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow as chief of the War Plans Division, which shortly afterward became the Operations Division of the War Department.27 In this post, he strongly advocated making the main Allied effort in the European theater, and helped to draw up plans for a cross-Channel attack. In May 1942 he went to London to inspect the organization of American forces in the United Kingdom. One month later General Marshall chose him to command the newly established Headquarters, European Theater of Operations (ETOUSA), in London.28

While holding the ETOUSA command, the future leader of the cross-Channel attack was in close contact with the officers who were planning a proposed return to the Continent. He thus became acquainted with many of the Allied political and military leaders with whom he was later associated and became familiar with the broad outlines of a plan for cross-Channel operations. His work on these projects was interrupted in, July 1942 by the decision to postpone the cross-Channel attack and launch an operation against North Africa. General Eisenhower was appointed commander in chief of the Allied forces for these operations.29 Later as Allied commander in chief, he directed the attacks of 1943 against Sicily and the south of Italy. He was engaged in planning future Italian operations when named by President Roosevelt to command the Allied Expeditionary Force in northwest Europe.30

General Eisenhower's career as a commander was a matter of acute interest to German intelligence agencies at the time of his assumption of command of the Allied Expeditionary Force. One estimate of the new Supreme Commander declared:

Eisenhower is an expert on operations of armored formations. He is noted for his great energy, and his hatred of routine office work. He leaves the initiative to his subordinates whom he manages to inspire to supreme efforts through kind understanding and easy discipline. His strongest point is said to be an ability for adjusting personalities to one another and smoothing over opposite viewpoints. Eisenhower enjoys the greatest popularity with Roosevelt and Churchill.31

This estimate hit upon that quality of the Supreme Commander's most often stressed by those who knew him in the Mediterranean theater-the ability to get people of different nationalities and viewpoints to work together. Making Allied understanding his keynote, he insisted continually that his staff officers lay aside their national differences in his command. His willingness to go an extra mile with the Allies drew from some U.S. officers the gibe that "Ike is the best commander the British have" and the view that, in all decisions settled on a 51-49 percent basis, the 51 percent was always in favor of the non-Americans.

His ability to get along with people of diverse temperaments was perhaps best exhibited in the case of Gen. Charles de Gaulle, leader of the French Committee of National Liberation. The French chief,


despite initial anger over General Eisenhower's relations with Admiral Darlan and friendliness to General Giraud in North Africa, believed that the new Supreme Commander was the one U.S. officer with whom the French Committee could do business.

General Eisenhower's conciliatory attitude was at times misleading. While genial in his approach, he could be extremely stern if the occasion demanded. His temper, as General Patton, among others, could testify, was sometimes explosive and his reprimands could be blistering. These traits were balanced by the gift of enormous patience. He showed a tendency to "make haste slowly" and to give people a chance to work out their own solutions.

Despite remarkable self-possession, the Allied commander during the North African campaign showed at times that he lacked the thick skin which public figures so often require. He was extremely sensitive to newspaper charges that he was making political mistakes by insisting on dealing with matters in his theater on a purely military basis. At one point he retorted that he would like to be allowed to fight the war and let the politicians take care of politics.

Although at times General Eisenhower and his staff showed the same impatience with some of the advice and criticism of the Combined Chiefs and the Joint Chiefs of Staff that most military commanders and staffs show toward their superiors, his relations with the high-level chiefs were cordial. He maintained a close relationship with General Marshall. In frequent personal letters, Eisenhower outlined his views on coming campaigns or discussed frankly his successes and failures. General Marshall replied with letters of encouragement and sought new ways by which he could give additional aid to his subordinate. The Chief of Staff, aware of Eisenhower's great respect for him, prefaced any proffered opinion with such statements as "don't let this worry you," "don't let me influence your judgment," "tell me exactly what you need and we will get it for you."

General Eisenhower brought to England in 1944 a reputation for dealing satisfactorily with British, French, and U.S. forces. He had established the basis for close co-operation with the heads of the Allied governments and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. After a year of working with Allied forces in the Mediterranean area, he had demonstrated his knack for making a coalition work.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (Biographics Sketches) * Next Chapter (2)


1. The Casablanca Conference, a meeting of the British and U.S. heads of government and the Combined Chiefs of Staff, was held in Casablanca in January 1943. This is sometimes referred to as the ANFA or SYMBOL Conference. See below, pp. 37-41, for discussion of Combined Chiefs of Staff.

2. The title COSSAC was used to indicate both the headquarters and its head. This volume will use COSSAC to refer to the headquarters; General Morgan will be referred to as the COSSAC chief.

3. Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring (Boston, 1951), p. 85.

4. CCS 169, 22 Jan 43, Notes on conf of 18 Jan 43, Casablanca Conf Min; Maj Gen Harry C. Ingles, Deputy Theater Comdr, to Maj Gen Charles H. Bonesteel, 10 May 43, photostat in AG HRB 200.3 ETOUSA Collection of Msgs; Interv with Gen Sir Hastings L. Ismay, 17 Dec 46, on selection of Brooke; Interv with Gen Morgan, 2 Apr 46. General Ingles wrote General Bonesteel on 10 May 1943 that the decision to appoint the British commander had been made in Washington, but the author has found no record of this action.

5. The British Chiefs of Staff were officially called the Chiefs of Staff Committee just as the U.S. Chiefs were called the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

6. Frederick E. Morgan, Overture to Overlord (New York, 1950), p. 124. General Morgan's views on the need of an American commander are cited in Ltr, Gen Ingles, Deputy Theater Cmdr, to Gen Marshall, 6 May 43, Hq ETOUSA files. For Mr. Stimson's views, see Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, 1948), p. 439, including quotation from his diary of August 1943. For other views, see General Ismay's interview with the author, 17 December 1946; Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York, 1948), p. 762; and Churchill, Closing the Ring, pp. 85, 301. Statements by various British and U .S. officials are noted in the Diary of the Office of the Commander in Chief, entries for 5, 8, and 19 October 1943, and a memorandum by General Eisenhower for 6 December 1943. The Diary of the Office of the Commander in Chief, hereafter cited as Diary Office CinC, was kept by Capt. Harry C. Butcher, USNR, for General Eisenhower. It includes summaries of the Supreme Commander's activities, memoranda written for the diary, many of the top secret letters which came to or were sent by the Supreme Commander, and copies of plans, intelligence estimates and the like . Edited portions of this diary appeared in Butcher's My Three Years With Eisenhower (New York, 1946).

7. Churchill, Closing the Ring, pp. 303-04.

8. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 759-64, has a convenient summary of these reactions. See also Congressional Record, Vol. 89, Pt. 6, 7682, 7883, Pt. II, App. 4001; Army and Navy Journal, September 18, 1943; Army and Navy Register, September 11, 18, 25, October 2, 1943; The New York Times, September 23-30, 1943; Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 437-43; Churchill, Closing the Ring, pp. 301-03.

9. William D. Leahy, I Was There (New York, 1950), pp. 191-92; Interv with Admiral Leahy, 15 Jul 47; Interv with Admiral Ernest J. King, 7 Jul 47; Henry H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York, 1949), pp. 455-56. Texts of Pershing and Roosevelt letters, 16 and 20 September 1943, in Katherine Tupper Marshall, Together (New York, 1946), pp. 156-57.

10. Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, British Chief of the Air Staff, was suggested for the Deputy Supreme Commander post, Gen. Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander for the Mediterranean command, and General Eisenhower for the European command in this unsigned and undated memo, The System of Command in the War against Germany, apparently written near the end of September 1943 by a member of the Operations Division of the War Department. OPD Exec, Bk 12. The memorandum, while not acted on at the moment, summed up several other proposals then in the air and foreshadowed the proposal the Joint Chiefs were to make in December 1943 at Cairo. Also of interest was a suggestion made by General Eisenhower in September 1943 to Captain Butcher. The general proposed as a solution that General Marshall come to Europe to organize that theater, leaving a deputy chief of staff, possibly Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, in Washington. When the European theater was properly organized, General Marshall could then go to the Pacific and repeat the operation. Diary Office CinC, 16 Sep 43.

11. Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 441; Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 762. War Department planners' final draft presented in Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) paper, Command of British and U.S. Forces Operating against Germany, CCS 408, 25 Nov 43, SEXTANT Conf Min. It is possible that Mr. Churchill's opposition to an over-all Allied command for General Marshall was responsible for the later charge that the British opposed Marshall's selection as Supreme Commander. It should be apparent that if the British desired to get rid of him as an opponent the best way to do it was to get him off the Combined Chiefs of Staff and into the Supreme Commander's position. No evidence exists that they ever opposed him for the Supreme Commander's post. Indeed, all the evidence is the other way. Both Admirals Leahy and King told the author in July 1947 that the British offered no opposition to Marshall as commander of the cross-Channel attack. This same statement had been previously made in the most categorical fashion to the author by Lords Alanbrooke, Portal, Cunningham, and Ismay. General Eisenhower said in 1943 that he had been told by Mr. Churchill that the two Americans acceptable to him for the command of the cross-Channel attack were Generals Marshall and Eisenhower. Memo, Eisenhower, Diary Office CinC, 6 Dec 43; Churchill, Closing the Ring, pp. 303, 305.

12. Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 442; Morgan, Notes on Visit to Washington, Oct-Nov 43. A copy of these notes was given to the author by General Morgan. Morgan, Overture To Overlord, Ch. VIII; Interv with Morgan, 2 Apr 46; Leahy, I Was There, pp. 190-91. The cable to the British was drafted by Leahy and Marshall.

13. See statements by Averell Harriman, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, and Admiral Sir Andrew B. Cunningham in Diary Office CinC, entries for 5, 8, 15, and 28 October 1943. General Smith reported after his return from Washington on 28 October 1943 that Marshall felt that any army group command would be a step down for Eisenhower and seemed to prefer that he take the position of Chief of Staff. Eisenhower's statement possibly was responsible for Roosevelt's remark noted above. See also Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower, p. 452.

14. Memo, Eisenhower, Diary Office CinC, 6 Dec 43; Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (New York, 1948), pp. 197-98.

15. JCS 123d-126th Mtgs, on shipboard, 15, 17, 18, and 19 Nov 43, ABC 334, JCS (2-14-42), Secs 5, 6.

16. JCS 126th Mtg, on shipboard, 19 Nov 43, ABC 334, JCS (2-14-42), Secs 5, 6; Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 767; 2d plenary session, CCS, 24 Nov 43, at Cairo, SEXTANT Conf Min.

17. Memo, JCS, Command of British and U.S. Forces Operating against Germany, CCS 408,25 Nov 43, SEXTANT Conf Min.

18. Memo, Br COS, Command of British and U.S. Forces Operating against Germany, CCS 408/1, 26 Nov 43, SEXTANT Conf Min; Churchill, Closing the Ring, p. 305.

19. 2d and 3d plenary sessions, Tehran Conf, 28, 30 Nov 43, EUREKA Conf Min; Leahy, I Was There, p. 208.

20. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 791, quoting from a set of notes of the third plenary session at Tehran different from those available to the author, notes that Roosevelt on 30 November told Stalin that a decision had been made that morning to appoint one commander for OVERLORD, another for the Mediterranean, and a third temporarily for the southern France invasion. It is possible that the over-all commander question was settled at this time. In any event, the Combined Chiefs of Staff on 3 December at their first formal meeting after returning to Cairo omitted the over-all command question from their agenda. They did include the questions of the integration of the U.S. air command and the directive to the Supreme Commander, Mediterranean Theater. CCS 133d Mtg, 3 Dec 43, at Cairo, SEXTANT Conf Min.

21. Captain Butcher in an entry for 10 December 1943 in Diary Office CinC records Hopkins' statement that Eisenhower's appearance before the Combined Chiefs at Cairo had made a good impression. Butcher also felt that Col. Elliott Roosevelt's outspoken belief that Eisenhower had succeeded in getting British and American forces to work together and in synchronizing Allied air, sea, and land power may have played some part in the President's decision. A somewhat contradictory statement is given in Elliott Roosevelt, As He Saw It (New York, 1946), p. 168.

22. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 802-03, has General Marshall's own account. Mrs. Marshall's Together, pp. 168-69, has a similar account. Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 441-42, gives the President's version of the decision, and Stimson's reaction to it. Compare this treatment with Roosevelt, As He Saw It, p. 209, in which the President's son declares that in a conversation with him (Monday, 6 December) the President said that the matter had not been finally decided, but that it seemed that Churchill would refuse to let Marshall take over. The Prime Minister's statement at Tehran and Roosevelt's offer of a choice to Marshall on Sunday, 5 December, indicate that the President was talking of opposition by the British to an over-all command for General Marshall and not to his command of OVERLORD. General Marshall on 6 December drafted for the President's signature a message to Marshal Stalin announcing, "The immediate appointment of General Eisenhower to command the OVERLORD operation has been decided upon." On the following day, at the conclusion of the Cairo Conference, the Chief of Staff sent the draft on to General Eisenhower as a memento of the appointment. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, p. 208; Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp.441-42.

23. The U.S. Chiefs decided at this time to integrate their own strategic air forces in the two theaters. See below, pp. 48-49.

24. The Combined Chiefs indicated that when Eisenhower's appointment was announced he would be given the title of Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force. CCS 138th Mtg, 7 Dec 43, SEXTANT Conf Min.

25. Marshall's message of 6 December 1943 is quoted in Diary Office CinC, entry for 10 December 1943. For President Roosevelt's statement see Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 206-07.

26. Colonel Eisenhower was promoted to the temporary rank of brigadier general after the maneuvers.

27. General Eisenhower was promoted to the temporary rank of major general in March 1942.

28. Roland G. Ruppenthal, Logistical Support of the Armies, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1953), discusses this organization at some length.

29. General Eisenhower became a lieutenant general in July 1942, a four-star general in February 1943, and a general of the army at the end of 1944.

30. Biographical details may be found in Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, and Kenneth S. Davis, Soldier of Democracy (New York, 1945).

31. Luftwaffe Academy Lecture, Invasion Generals, Careers and Assessments, 7 Feb 44, Generalstab der Luftwaffe, 8. Abteilung (hist sec), British Air Ministry files.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Charles Hardinger