Roosevelt Papers

The Coordinator of Information ( Donovan ) to the President
No. 112

The following information has just been cabled to me by our representative in Cairo:

British advances in Libya necessitated by the escape of Rommel twice from complete encirclement is creating situation which may further weaken British position in Near East if Rommel should escape to Tripoli and there receive air and land reinforcements. Entire Lybian army which has been weakened by losses and hampered by inadequate supply, would be in precarious position. It is believed by all here that drastic enemy action directed in North Africa is in the offing. Large enemy troop movements to Tunisia possible in the near future. British Intelligence Officers are outwardly optimistic but admit privately their inability to predict situation if German North Africa move materializes.

Immediate reinforcement of North African army by American air and ground troops seems the only possible move which could retrieve situation. Entire war here is being run on a shoestring. It should be kept constantly in mind that there is no margin of safety here for mistakes or losses in men or equipment. Double thrust at Africa under present circumstances would almost surely succeed.

Tempo of German propaganda among Arabs has been stepped up to high pitch in the past ten days causing concern to the British. Theme[:] deliverance fast approaching[.] American effort here hampered by poor communications, much waste and confusion resulting.