The Chief of Staff, United States Army (Marshall), to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: The Joint Chiefs of Staff have given careful study to the proposal contained in your letter of 10 June 1944 for the initiation of limited relief programs for women and children of certain of the occupied countries of Europe.

A letter to the Secretary of State dated 28 February 1944 sets forth the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff concerning a similar proposal on this subject. In this letter they state, in effect, that they recognize the humanitarian aspects of the problem, and will interpose no objection from the military standpoint, provided the supplies are of no assistance to the enemy and that they can be transported without detriment to the military effort.

The views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in this matter have not changed. It would seem, however, that subsequent developments have made it more difficult to meet the limiting conditions, which must be imposed. The Germans’ position has deteriorated to an extent which undoubtedly has destroyed their last remaining scruples as regards diversion of relief supplies, and Allied military demands for shipping continue to exceed our capabilities. This latter condition is expected to continue at least until early winter 1944 and requirements [Page 280] thereafter cannot be determined until firm decisions are made as to future operations.

In view of this situation, there seems small prospect of finding a satisfactory and practicable means of solving this problem, desirable as it would be to do so, on humanitarian and political grounds. However, in order that no possibility may be overlooked, the Joint Chiefs of Staff would be willing to examine, from the military viewpoint, any specific and detailed plan which may be put before them.45

Sincerely yours,

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
G. C. Marshall
  1. In a memorandum of August 1, Eldred D. Kuppinger, Assistant Chief of the Special War Problems Division, commented on this letter by observing: “… In view of the changed military situation [since the Department’s letter of June 10, which had been drafted on June 3], it is questionable whether at this time further consideration should be given to an approach to the German Government in regard to the institution of broad relief programs.

    “In any case, it would not seem wise at this time to take this matter up again with the British since to do so might prejudice the negotiations now being carried on in London in regard to the proposed shipment of limited” amounts of relief foodstuffs to France and possibly Norway for distribution by the International Red Cross Committee.” (840.48/7–2644)