The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of War ( Stimson )

My Dear Mr. Secretary: The course of the war has increasingly raised the problem of relations between contingents of the Army and the Navy on one hand and representatives of the State Department by reason of the fact that armed forces are increasingly stationed or operating in countries in which the United States maintains embassies or other missions. At present, the United States maintain diplomatic representation in practically all the areas in which the Army and the Navy are presently carrying on operations.

There have been brought to my attention instances in which the officers of the Service over which you preside have taken the view that the responsibilities imposed on them by their orders limited them strictly to pursuit of military objectives, and relieved them from any duties towards the diplomatic missions of the United States. You will readily appreciate that in many instances the prestige of the American representation is necessarily bound up with the degree of cooperation between its members and the responsible officers of the armed forces. I am sure you feel, as I do, that the representatives of the United States, whether of the political or of the military branches, must work together very closely in order to achieve the combined military and political objectives of the United States, and to give to the United States the maximum benefit from its representation.

I therefore ask you to give consideration to the following suggestions: [Page 27]

That in the general orders or directives issued to commanders of military contingents operating in foreign countries, instructions be inserted to the effect that it is part of the duty of the responsible officers of the armed forces to cooperate with and give general assistance to the embassies and other missions of the United States in their respective areas; and where political effects may result from their activities, to consult wherever practicable with the chief of such mission and endeavor to reach a common understanding with him on such matters. Should disagreement arise, the facts should be reported by telegraph and the subject be made a matter of conference between our respective Departments. It is understood, of course, that considerations of military safety must be controlling where the differences cannot be accommodated; but that the prestige of the United States and its representatives and clear indication of unity of purpose are of great importance.
That it be made a practice for officers who are being assigned to responsible commands or missions abroad to spend, where practicable, a brief period in the Department of State or, if already abroad, at a readily accessible American embassy or legation, so that such officers may be made acquainted with official estimates of the general and particular interests of the United States in the areas in which they are to operate and may be familiarized with the general and particular political policies of this Government and the principal problems of common concern which need to be considered in relation thereto.
That consideration be given to the setting up of arrangements in the Combined Staff College at Washington, and in other service schools where appropriate to the curriculum, whereby it may be assured that adequate instruction will be provided on the subject of the political problems, policies and procedures which are of concern to this country and this Government in the areas to which officers who receive instruction at such institutions are likely to be assigned or in connection with any missions for the execution of which they are being especially trained.

You will no doubt think of other or better methods of obtaining the objective in which I am sure both of us are equally concerned; I am sure that you will desire that the subject be given appropriate attention; and I shall appreciate whatever efforts you may make with regard to it.

Sincerely yours,

Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.