740.5/3–1651: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Unnumbered. Perkins from MacArthur (no distribution except as directed by Perkins), Since his arrival here General Eisenhower has been grappling with problem of command structure. It impossible to exaggerate how complex this question is involving as it does apprehensions, considerations of both national and individual pride and prestige, certain latent traditional jealousies, etc.

To avoid premature public and Parliamentary discussion on this question (which might (1) cause repercussions not unlike those caused in UK by question of SAC Atlantic, or (2) induce NAT members to adopt rigid and unyielding positions) info re multiple discussions which have been going on has been held very tight. End of last week General Eisenhower worked out satisfactory solution to command structure of central sector (which was complicated by French desire have air subordinate to ground commander, Paris Embtel 5266).1 Yesterday he was able to reach very satisfactory solution for northern command structure which had also been hung up. No question it is due entirely to General Eisenhower that solutions were found to which all could honestly agree.

Last night General Eisenhower cabled his recommendation on command structure to SG in msg SH–20202 (Shapeto 2) March 15.2 He also recommended date for public release this INFO and in meantime recommended absolute secrecy so that story won’t leak piecemeal prior to SHAPE announcement. (This latter point most important in terms impact over here.) Suggest you contact Defense with view to seeing Shapeto 2 which gives full details re command set-up. [MacArthur.]

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  1. Dated March 9; renumbered as 5295 by the Department of State and printed p. 485.
  2. The military message under reference here has not been found in Department of State files; regarding the emergent NATO command structure, see the editorial note, infra.