868.20 Mission/1–2648: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the American Mission for Aid to Greece 1

top secret
us urgent

Personal for Griswold from Marshall. My estimate of American military assistance in Greece is that we need a more impressive personality at the head of the military contingent and I think this need is urgent. Also I believe the appointment of such a man would have a good psychological effect on the Balkan countries because inevitably it would arouse considerable comment back here in the United States.

It would be my view that Livesay should continue on the supply end but that the supply side and the military advice side should be under the type of officer I now suggest.

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I am proposing that Major General James A. Van Fleet, one of the outstanding aggressive fighting corps commanders of the campaign in Europe be nominated as a Lieutenant General and sent to you as soon as possible. Eisenhower2 and his deputies concur with me in the desirability of this action. Incidentally Livesay’s recent discussions with them were responsible for their feeling that the action I am now proposing should be taken. The President is also in favor of such action and will submit the nomination to Congress. Please let me have your reaction as quickly as possible.3

G. C. Marshall
  1. This unnumbered telegram is described as “eyes only—most confidential”.
  2. General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chief of Staff, United States Army.
  3. The Secretary of State informed the Embassy in Greece and AMAG, in a joint telegram on February 5, that Major General Van Fleet was “being designated by Army Department as Director of JUSMAPG and as Commanding General USAGG”, with the rank of Lieutenant General. He noted that the appointment “is result of the recent developments of the military situation in Greece. Livesay is to concentrate on the problems of logistical aid. Van Fleet will be able to concentrate on the tactical situation.” (No. 179 to the Embassy, numbered also Gama 194 to AMAG, 868.20 Mission/2–548)

    Governor Griswold, on February 6, recommended approval of Major General Livesay’s request to return to the United States “because of Greek psychology which will embarrass Livesay and make him ineffective in Greece.” (telegram Amag 243, 868.20 Mission/2–648)