America at war! (1941--) -- Part 2

U.S. State Department (December 31, 1942)


Memorandum by the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, to the Secretary of State

Washington, December 31, 1942.

The following paragraph is quoted from a personal letter received this morning from General Eisenhower:

This morning I received your telegram concerning the functions of the State Department in developing the economy of this particular theater. I agree with every word of it and I can assure you that no trouble whatsoever will occur in the execution of the plan. I shall be obliged if you will assure the Secretary of State of my desire to assist him in every possible way. The sooner I can get rid of all these questions that are outside the military in scope, the happier I will be! Sometimes I think I live ten years each week, of which at least nine are absorbed in political and economic matters.



The Under Secretary of State to the Yugoslav Ambassador

Washington, December 31, 1942.

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: I have given further attention to the memorandum which you left with me on December 19, in which you quoted the text of a report recently made by General Mihailović concerning the military action against the Ustaše, Germans, and Italians in Croatia, and have noted particularly General Mihailović’s statement that whatever Partisan fighting is now in progress against the forces of occupation and the Ustaše in Croatia is carried on by units under General Mihailović’s command. The series of newspaper articles to which you referred have also come to my attention. In this connection I have also given further study to your memorandum of December 16, which contained related information.

As I have repeatedly assured you, the Government of the United States has complete confidence in the patriotism of General Mihailović, and full admiration for the skill, endurance, and valor with which he and the Yugoslav patriots associated with him have continued their noble struggle for the liberation of their country. We consider that the military actions in Yugoslavia to which you refer constitute an important element in the general conduct of the war of the United Nations against the Axis powers.

Believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

740.0011 European War 1939/26833: Telegram

The Chargé in Finland to the Secretary of State

Helsinki, December 31, 1942 — 2 p.m.
[Received December 31 — 9:51 a.m.]


Officer cited my 1300 today expressed great indignation last night at what he termed stupidity of Witting which resulted in suppression of our and Finnish Legation’s propaganda activities. He said he hoped there would soon be a new Foreign Minister in Helsinki and intimated he thought there would be.


740.00112 European War 1939/7536: Telegram

The Chargé in Sweden (Greene) to the Secretary of State

Stockholm, December 31, 1942 — 4 p.m.
[Received December 31 — 2:42 p.m.]


Boheman appeared before Committee of Foreign Affairs of Riksdag yesterday and presented all British arguments. Committee including Chairman Unden and many very friendly to Great Britain and United States voted unanimously to advise against releasing two ships now lying in Göteborg.

Mallet saw Boheman yesterday afternoon and presented suggestion about ship to take off cargoes from Dicto and Lionel (see my 3709, December 30, 3 p.m.). Boheman appeared relieved at this slight possibility but was non-committal. He promised to expedite consideration.

Repeated to London.


840.48 Refugees/3504: Telegram

The Ambassador in Mexico to the Secretary of State

Mexico City, December 31, 1942 — 5 p.m.
[Received 11:06 p.m.]


Embassy’s telegram No. 1243, December 30, 7 p.m.

The Foreign Office has issued a statement containing the text of the exchange of notes between Padilla and Sikorski regarding a limited arrangement for the admission of Polish refugees to Mexico. The number of Poles accepted will be in accordance with the capacity of the country.

Transportation to Mexico will be without expense to the Mexican Government. Expenses of their sojourn will be borne by the Polish Government. Repatriation at the expense of the Polish Government will take place at the first propitious moment after the [war]. Poles while in Mexico will be distributed where they can contribute to the economy of Mexico without [conflicting] with Mexican citizens.

Texts of the notes will be forwarded by airmail.


U.S. War Department (December 31, 1942)

Communiqué No. 281

North Africa.
One of our forward patrols engaged a small enemy detachment, inflicting casualties and taking some prisoners. Our artillery shelled enemy positions in the Heidous area. Roads leading from Tunis were bombed and machine-gunned by our aircraft during the night of December 28-29.

One enemy fighter was shot down by our patrolling fighters yesterday. The bomber attacked Sousse and other objectives. No aircraft is missing.

U.S. Navy Department (December 31, 1942)

Communiqué No. 234

South Pacific.
On December 29th and 30th, “Catalina” patrol bombers (Consolidated PBY) made several harassing attacks on enemy installations in the Munda area of New Georgia Island. Results were not reported.

On December 30:

  1. At 2 a.m., a force of “Airacobra” (Bell P-39) and “Wildcat” (Grumman F4F) fighters attacked and destroyed five enemy barges at Vangunu Island in the central Solomons.

  2. At dawn a “Dauntless” (Douglas SBD) dive bomber destroyed a large caliber enemy gun on Guadalcanal.

  3. At 6 a.m., “Dauntless” dive bombers, with “Wildcat” escort, attacked enemy installations in the Rekata Bay area of Santa Isabel Island. Buildings on the east side of the bay were bombed and strafed and three float-type planes were strafed on the water.

The Pittsburgh Press (December 31, 1942)

Allied drive for Tripoli from 3 sides

Axis raids Casablanca; big de Gaulle force comes from south
By Edward W. Beattie, United Press staff writer


London, England –
The British Navy was in contact with enemy forces in northern waters today, the Admiralty said tonight. An enemy cruiser was damaged and withdrew from the action and an enemy destroyer was last seen in a sinking condition. The Admiralty announced that the operations were continuing.

London, England –
Adolf Hitler in an order of the day told the German Armed Forces today that:

The year 1943 perhaps will be a difficult one but certainly it will be no more difficult than the past one.

The order was broadcast from Berlin.

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Africa needs food quickly

Riots forecast unless aid is sent soon

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Giraud arrests 12 to foil assassination of U.S. envoy

By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

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Happier New Year

By Florence Fisher Parry

When we were young, we wished on the moon and made solemn New Year’s Resolutions. But as we grew older, we came to know that the moon was withdrawn and indifferent, and that New Year’s Resolutions were like other fond dreams: unrealizable; too perfect.

The important thing we came to know, was the aspiration that lay behind our wishes and our dreams, and that it is Heaven, instead of Hell, that is paved with good resolutions. What matters most, it seems to me, is that we want to be better; is that we want to be better; is that we yearn for a perfection beyond our power to achieve.

So now, when the New Year rolls around again, and find ourselves too wise to make resolutions knowing full well that they won’t be kept, we know that this does not mean that we are any less fine than we were when we wished on the moon, and sat down and listed, as children, our neat little new resolutions.

But there is something about this New Year that is different from all others we have ever known. We feel the need of some concrete touchstone, some definite reaffirmation of faith and intention. And I think that all over the world today people are signing, within themselves, a pledge of some kind or other.

My own is very terse, and simple, and as far as I am concerned, all that I can hope to manage. It is:
To keep well, work hard and face it.

It covers all the ground I am able to travel.

Now in order to put a seal on the pledge, I resorted to a very simple device when I was up home and which I offer to you; for I have found it to work when other devices fail.

Go if you can to the grave of some loved one from whom you can well take example. Your father, perhaps your mother, your husband or wife or child.

And standing there, immersed to the memory of their example, you will find the strength to make and the strength to keep your new resolution, whatever it may be.

It might be thought that this year more than any other, would be the hardest to face. Suspense and all the other agonies of separation and uncertainty have entered nearly every home in America.

Newsprint 10% cut to fall heavily on bigger city papers

Shortage of pulpwood and manpower forces immediate reduction to 1941 levels; deeper shades probably later; publishers’ board helps frame program

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5% victory tax becomes effective at midnight

Many employees to pay levy on last part of 1942 income because of payroll technicalities

Flood strikes West Virginia and Ohio towns

Many families evacuated; East Liverpool and Steubenville hit
By the United Press

The flood sweeping down the Ohio river Valley today inundated cities, towns and highways, drove thousands from their homes and closed many war production plants.

Swollen streams east of the Allegheny Mountains in New York State and westward as far as the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, above and below St. Louis, sent other hundreds fleeing from flood-threatened homes.

Downstream from Pittsburgh along the flooded Ohio River, emergency preparations went forward to care for flood victims in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

East Liverpool hit

Ohio officials believed the flood threatened to reach the proportions of the 1937 disaster. They estimated that already more than 600 families had been removed from flooded homes in Ohio and West Virginia. From East Liverpool, near where the river enters the state, to Marietta, about 150 miles down, the river had passed the flood stage.

The flood in East Liverpool foiled an attempt to steal a truck loaded with $450 worth of beer.

The thieves seized the truck, but after they drove five blocks, it stalled in five feet of water.

At Steubenville, officials anticipated a crest of 52 feet, equal to the peak of the 1937 flood. Flood level is 38.5 feet.

Steel factory shut

Highways on both Ohio and West Virginia sides of the river were closed and workers in industrial plants were instructed to go home late yesterday if they lived in areas that might become isolated. Families were evacuated at Empire, Mingo Junction, Brilliant and Stratton. At Youngstown, the flooded Mahoning River closed the Republic Steel Corporation plant.

At least one Cleveland war plant was shut down and several others had curtailed production to a minimum today as the result of a shortage of natural gas which developed after a landslide near Hasting, West Virginia, broke two main pipelines.

A spokesman for the East Ohio Gas Company said all industrial operations in the district were receiving only an average of about 25% of normal supply.

Pipeline washed out

The Mississippi, south of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, washed out a section of the Texas-Illinois oil pipeline.

In New York State, the Mohawk, the Chenango and Larger Susquehanna were on the rampage. Firemen at Syracuse removed 30 families from flooded homes in the southern section of the city while at Utica a “public emergency” was announced when 800 homes were flooded.

The Mohawk inundated a wide area south and east of Herkimer and portions of Schenectady.

Allied troops herd Japs into half-mile area

Flying Fortresses raid Rabaul again, fire 2 merchantmen

Textile firms charged with destroying union

Editorial: Happy New Year?

We call out the usual “Happy New Year” as we pass our friends on the street – and then suddenly think that the greeting does not quite fit. How can we be happy when our loved ones are in danger overseas? When even here on the home front there is to be more sacrifice and suffering?

While none of us feels gay in the midst of war, we may find a deeper satisfaction in the months ahead than ever came to us in the years when personal pleasure or profit seemed so important. Now that victory and a lasting peace of justice are the important things, there is great joy in being able to do our bit.

And hopes are higher this year than last – much longer. With good reason.

Last New Year’s Day was grim. Pearl Harbor had seriously weakened us. Wake Island and Hong Kong had just been lost and Manila was falling. The Japs were sweeping on with terrible speed and we knew that many months – at least – would pass before they could be stopped. In the Atlantic, the Nazi submarines were sinking our ships almost at will. In Africa, the British had gained ground, but failed to catch Rommel. The Russians had saved Moscow, but were too weak to knock out the German invaders. Britain was unable

Our government was muddling. Our people had reacted from a false optimism to an even more dangerous case of nerves.

The past year has restored our confidence – the hard way. If ever this nation groped through the depths of disillusionment, these 12 months have been the supreme test. Not until November with the almost simultaneous victory in the south Solomons and out safe occupation of Northwest Africa, did the military tide begin to turn for us. Now, with continued British victory in Libya, the mounting air attacks on Nazi Europe and the great Russian counteroffensives, the initiative passed to the Allies.

Much of this military achievement rests on the almost miraculous American production line. A year ago, we had hardly started the conversion from peace toi war economy. There were delays. There were blunders. There were even a few cases of deliberate, selfish obstruction. But, overall, the joint accomplishment of government-industry-labor in creating a world arsenal in such a short time and on such a huge scale is the most conclusive proof of the genius of America. If we can do that in war, we can do it also in peace – with the same will.

So, anyone who is discouraged today has only to look back to New Year’s Day 1942 to be cheered mightily by our progress.

Our temptation, rather, is to be so much pleased with the improvement that we underestimate the trials ahead. This is evident in the government, which continues to postpone organizational reforms and to pile bureaucratic layer upon layer. It is evident in the petty whining of people, who do not understand that much heavier rationing and taxing, much tighter belts and much more sacrifice of comforts are required than those now complained of.

If a Happy New Year means an easy one, certainly there won’t be any. If it means the privilege of working harder and sacrificing more – that our fighting men and our Allies may have the food and the oil and the weapons and the will to win this war of life or death – it can be a very Happy New Year for us.

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Editorial: The facts would help

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Editorial: Tokyo’s eclipse

Tokyo radio proclaims that an eclipse of the sun, to be visible there on Feb. 5, will be “a feature of the scientific war between Japan and America.” We don’t quite understand this boast, which seems to imply that the eclipse will be some sort of Nipponese monopoly, although it will also be visible from Eastern Alaska and the Aleutians – and, due to the vagaries of the International Date Line, on Feb. 4. But we won’t argue about it.

Let the Japs claim that one. What we’re interested in is the eclipse of a certain rising sun, painfully visible in Tokyo, we hope, not too long after Feb. 5, and destined to be total – and permanent.

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Ferguson: Liberal education

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

New Year arrives for some U.S. troops

Auckland, New Zealand (UP) – (Jan. 1, 1943)
The New Year flashed across the International Date Line today to U.S. forces in the far Pacific while people in the Eastern United States were going to work yesterday and those in the West were still asleep.

Jan. 1, 1943 came to the British Tonga or Friendly Islands at 7:40 a.m., Dec. 31 (ET).

Twenty minutes later, it was Jan. 1 in the Fiji, Gilbert and Ellice Islands and at 8:30 a.m. (ET), the New Year reached U.S. forces here.

At 9 a.m., 1943 reached the troops in the Solomons and French New Caledonia, and at 10 a.m., it was 1943 in Eastern Australia.

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U.S. war casualties now total 55,857

Washington (UP) –
Reported total war casualties of the U.S. Armed Forces reached 55,857 today with a Navy announcement of 1,590 dead, wounded or missing between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15.

The new list included 404 men killed, 631 wounded and 555 missing.

Official Army casualties, reported up to Dec. 7, are 35,460 – 2,009 dead, 3,332 wounded and 30,119 missing. In addition, 112 Army men are listed as “prisoners of war” and another 106 as interned.

Total Marine Corps losses stand at 4,797. Of these, 1,201 were listed as dead, 1,653 as wounded and 1,943 as missing.

Coast Guard figures are 51 dead, 19 wounded and 134 missing.

In addition, 482 members of the Merchant Marine have been listed as dead and 2,762 missing.

German and Jap figures for interned Americans are 3,138.

Jap sub success denied

Washington –
Elmer Davis, director of the Office of War Production, today denied a Tokyo report that a Jap submarine had sunk a U.S. submarine off San Francisco.

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Ernie Pyle in action

111-SC-165303 - Copy
Ernie Pyle, the Roving Reporter of the Pittsburgh Press, is snapped by an Army Signal Corps photographer in front of an Army tent in Algeria. He is shown with (L-R) Pvt. Raymond Astrackon of New York, Sgt. Ralph Gower of Sacramento and Army Nurse Annette Heaton of Detroit. Sgt. Gower is the man Ernie wrote about in his column of Dec. 14 who learned lipreading from a deaf-mute neighbor when he was a child and made his knowledge vitally useful after the explosion of an enemy shell destroyed his hearing.


Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

With U.S. forces in Algeria – (by wireless)
The roads in North Africa were surprisingly good. They were macadamized, with banked curves just like ours. Driving around the country, we often remarked that it was hard to realize we were not somewhere in the United States.

The long coastal plain stretching across North Africa, between mountains and sea, was, as I’ve said before, very much like parts of our own Southwest. It was bare of trees, but it was not exactly desert. In fact, it was very fertile and almost wholly under cultivation.

The soil resembled red clay, and was a regular gumbo after rain. The Arabs raised some oats, and I saw some uncommonly long strawstacks, but most of the land was in vineyards and olive groves. Across the slightly rolling land, a person could see for long distances – fifty miles or more. The fields were quite large, and at that season most of them were freshly plowed.

Many American soldiers had their first experience of picking olives right from the trees and eating them – or, I should say, biting them, for they tried it only once. There followed the most violent spitting, spluttering and face-making you ever saw. It seems an olive has to be ripened in brine before it’s edible.

They’re black and beautiful on the trees, but they have a bitter, puckering taste that’s beyond description.

We were all impressed by the neatness and cleanliness of the farming country, even though I can’t say the same for the cities. The fields were immaculate. There was no refuse or squandered growth or stuff lying around, as on so many American farms.

Few Arab steeds

The Arabs did all their farming with horses, which appeared to be in good shape. But we seldom saw one of those beautiful Arab steeds that we read about in ''sheik” books. Out in the country there were many herds of goats and sheep, usually tended by small children. We saw cute little shepherdesses, not more than eight years old, in hoods and nightgown-like dresses, who smiled and made the V-for-Victory sign as we passed.

The Arabs seemed a strange people, hard to know. They were poor, and they looked as tight-lipped and unfriendly as the Indians in some of the South American countries, yet they were friendly and happy when we got close to them. As we drove through the country, Arab farmers by the hundreds waved at us along the road, and the children invariably shouted their few American words – "goodbye” or "okay” – as we passed, and either saluted like soldiers or gave the V sign with their fingers.

In half a day’s driving here I got more V signs than I saw the whole time I was in England.

I still haven’t got the religion question straight. Some Arab women wore white sheets and hoods that covered the face, except for one eye peering out. The soldiers called them "One-eyed Flossies.” But they were in the minority. Most of the women showed their faces. As far as I could figure out, the ones who covered their faces were the severely religious, just as at home only a few of the Jewish people are what they call orthodox. The rest were good people, but they didn’t observe the ancient customs and restrictions.

Arab prays

Just at sunset one day we passed a team and a wagon carrying a whole Arab family. The man was down on his knees and elbows at the edge of the pavement, facing east toward Mecca, but the women and children were sitting in the wagon. One of our party remarked:

I guess he’s making a deal for the whole family.

That was the only Arab I saw praying.

No American soldier in this part of Africa has seen a camel. Apparently, these beasts aren’t needed in this fertile region. The Sahara proper doesn’t begin until nearly 300 miles south, and I suppose you have to go there to see camels in action.

There are very few native-owned passenger cars on the roads, but quite a lot of heavy trucks. That’s because of gasoline shortage. But trucks burn alcohol, and even that is short, for the Germans turned most of the grape crop alcohol into their own motors.

As far as I know, there is no such thing as interior heating of homes here in winter. This region used to get coal from France, of course, but that was cut off when France fell. We brought our own coal with us – whole shiploads for running power plants and so on.

Once in a while there were clusters of cactus, and frequently fields were fenced with hedgelike rows of what is known in Mexico as maguey, the plant from which pulque and tequila are made. Apparently, the Arabs don’t keep themselves as well-oiled on their native drinks as do the people in some countries. I saw some drunken Arabs, but they were very rare. The good ones never drink anything alcoholic. It’s against their religion.


Clapper: Foresight

By Raymond Clapper