Department of the Army Files: Telegram

No. 1113
The Assistant Secretary of War (McCloy) to the War Department

Victory 98. To AG War for Chanler, Civil Affairs Division for Colonel James H. Douglas from McCloy.

Prospective appointment of Col James H. Douglas is subject.

Have discussed Douglas’ appointment with Alexander.1 We have agreed with him that the announcement quoted below will be [Page 1101] made simultaneously from London and Washington at a time to be set as soon as Douglas cables me that the announcement is agreeable to him. Announcement follows:

“It was announced that Colonel James H. Douglas, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury[,] would leave shortly to study economic conditions in Italy, preparatory to his eventual assumption of the position of Chief Commissioner of the Allied Commission in Italy when steps are taken to alter the military character of the commission.

Colonel Douglas will resign his commission which he now holds in the Army before assuming such a position and in the meantime will be given an opportunity to make himself familiar with conditions in Italy. The present Chief Commissioner of the council is Rear Admiral Ellery Stone who has occupied the position during the military phase and has performed most valuable services during the critical stages of the Italian recovery during and following the conduct of the military campaign in Italy. Admiral Stone will continue as the Chief Commissioner until the completion of the military phase.”2

Alexander would propose that Douglas proceed shortly (probably not until close of Terminal conference so that Alexander will be there to receive him) to Italy as his guest but without taking office as Chief Commissioner at this time to become familiar with the situation on the spot and then to return to Washington and make report.

About 1st September or thereabouts Douglas would then return to Italy and take office relieving Admiral Stone at that time. I believe that this arrangement is desirable and hope Douglas will approve of it promptly.

Alexander is much pleased by Douglas’ appointment but anxious to make this arrangement in order to conform to his plans for placing commission on civilian status. Every precaution should be taken to avoid any further announcements until authorized from here.

  1. See ante, p. 112. Douglas’ appointment was also discussed at the 196th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, July 19. See ante, p. 115.
  2. This announcement was never issued, as Douglas declined the proposed appointment.