America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

Don’t ever say ‘communism’ –
Order hamstrings Civil Service men in investigations

Inquirers into federal workers’ loyalties further must not ask any questions about unions

Law violation blamed on OPA in House probe

Agency accused by investigators of exceeding its authority

Professor’s son admits slaying his sweetheart

‘I put my arms around her and lost my head,’ former sailor confesses

Further news requested on Patton case

Senators want to know if he figured in other incidents

Gal sailors ignore anti-tattoo advice

Navy will strengthen fleet serving under MacArthur

Adm. Kincaid, new Southwest Pacific commander, confirms reinforcement report
By William C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Blast wrecks Jap cruiser hit by large bomb

1,000 more Japs slain as Americans advance on Bougainville
By Brydon C. Taves, United Press staff writer

Simms: Odds are against push into Europa before next April

Stalin informed of approximate date for second front and is believed to be satisfied with time
By William Philip Simms, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Seabees work like demons on Tarawa

By Richard W. Johnston, United Press staff writer

With the U.S. Marines at Tarawa, Gilbert Islands – (Nov. 26, delayed)
The Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack flutter peacefully over the shattered cocopalms and down on the beaches, the surf ripples among the bodies of our dead, but here on the landing strip at Tarawa the Seabees are working like demons.

They are working to convert the bomb-picked Jap landing strip – once a major threat to our island positions in the Pacific – into a new air base for the planes which will help us take a few more steps toward Tokyo when we have consolidated our positions at Tarawa and Makin.

The Seabees swarmed over the airstrip while Jap machine-gun bullets still whistled overhead from their last-stand positions on the north end of the island.

Our fighter planes soon will come in.

There is still occasional gunfire as our patrols mop up Jap remnants huddling in the flame-seared wreckage of their cocolog blockhouses. You can never tell when you will run into a straggling sniper.

One fired a burst of rifle shots at Lt. John Popham of New York and me the other night as we headed for our foxholes in anticipation of a Jap nuisance raid. He missed us by inches but hit a Seabee, Fireman C. R. Witmer of Maxwell, Iowa, in the foot.

This dispatch is written while folks at home are sitting down to platters of Thanksgiving turkey. We share that spirit of Thanksgiving. Most of all, we are thankful to be alive. But for the chance of battle, we would be in one of the cemeteries on the island, hanging grotesquely from the barbed wire in the surf or lying among the wounded who have been taken aboard ships en route to hospitals.

Pacific bases will help subs boost Jap toll

Imposing record shows vast possibilities of underseas craft
By Col. Frederick Palmer, North American Newspaper Alliance

McQuaid: ‘Jap’ bodies near Tarawa turn out to be American

Yanks kill 4,500 of enemy but suffer heavy losses
By B. J. McQuaid

Betio Atoll, Tarawa, Gilbert Islands – (Nov. 24, delayed)
“Look at all those dead Japs down there,” someone in our plane cried out as we flew low over Betio’s reef and our pilot coursed slowly back and forth “dragging” the treacherous waters for a safe landing area.

There were scores of these bodies, floating in gruesome incongruity upon the surface of this deceptive smiling southern sea.

But when we got ashore, we found that they were not Jap bodies.

Most of them were the corpses of young Americans who died off Betio’s glistening beaches in order that their comrades and fellow Marines might successfully storm some of the most formidable shore defenses in the history of warfare.

Losses may be heaviest

Among the assault troop personnel, the total casualties, when finally tabulated, will probably run the heaviest of any engagement in this war.

Maj. Gen. Julian C. Smith of Elkton, Maryland, 58-year-old commander of the 2nd Marine Division which took Betio, today personally escorted Maj. Gen. Holland M. Smith, commander of all amphibious troops in these Gilbert Islands operations, on a three-hour hike around the battleground. I tagged along, with Bob Trumbull of the New York Times, who flew down from Makin with me and was the only other correspondent to get ashore both at Makin and Tarawa.

Looks like holocaust

What we were shown was a rubble heap of ragged palm stumps, battered installations and rotting corpses. It looked more like the scene of some ghastly holocaust than any battlefield I had seen or of which I had heard or read. Compared to this, our show up at Makin was a pink tea party, Guadalcanal a picnic and Rendova, New Georgia and Vella Lavella penny ante.

The bodies of Marines lining the beaches and the twisted smoke and blackened hulks of their half-submerged landing craft, are but part of this sickening picture of slaughter and desolation – and thank God, a lesser part.

For every American body on the beach, there are many Jap carcasses lying inland within a few yards of shore.

Virtually all killed

With the exception of several score of prisoners, said to be mostly Korean laborers, and a handful of snipers and skulkers, still to be dug out, the Marines killed every Jap on the island.

There were some 4,500 in all, including about 3,500 combatant troops. These were Imperial Marines, the best Japan can put in the field. Judging from the few corpses which were not withered and mangled beyond recognition by our flamethrowers and incendiary shells, these were husky, strapping fellows, many more than six feet tall.

Though about 60 Japs have been killed so far today in isolated pockets, including a nest of snipers which killed two of our own Marines in the area through which Gen. Holland Smith had been escorted a few minutes earlier, this island is now considered “secured.” In half-a-dozen crude cemeteries, our own dead are being buried in long, straight rows. Soon the last traces of battle will have been removed.

Breeze carries stench

But tonight, the breeze over Betio carries the nauseating stench of death and stale cordite and this smell is a fitting accompaniment to the physical appearance of the tiny island.

From far out at sea, Betio’s appearance betrays its ugly secret. Seen 10 miles away, from our low-flying plane, Betio’s flat skyline appeared to have been gnawed by rats or eaten away by locusts.

Nearly all the palms are minus their fronds and coconut clumps. They stand like flame-seared skeletons of telephone poles, as a result of the heavy naval bombardment which prepared the way for the first waves of landing craft. It seems unlikely that any Japs survived this blast until you get ashore and study their installations.

Pillboxes line beach

The Jap’s proficiency as a digger-in is well known, but on this island, he surpassed himself. Pillboxes lining the beaches are less than 10 feet apart – a solid perimeter of defense all around the atoll. Inland, similar defenses are constructed in death mutually supporting each other and covering every square yard of the island except the runways of the airfield.

Betio is only 800 yards across at the widest point and 2.5 miles long. Nowhere on this sliver of land except on the airfield can you take 20 steps in any direction without encountering a prepared defensive position. Some are just deep dugouts covered with multiple layers of coconut logs, coral rock and sand. But many have solid concrete walls and roofs a foot or two, and in some cases as much as five feet, thick.

The Jap dead who litter the interior of nearly all these positions were not the victims of bombing or shelling. The Marines had to go in and kill them, with flamethrowers, rifles, knives, bayonets, grenades, tanks and small-caliber field pieces, which were, in some cases, dragged by hand up to these flame-spitting, heavily machine-gunned fortresses and discharged at point-blank range into their nearly inaccessible apertures.

Took guts and skill

We gave the Marines much new equipment for this job as well as a tremendous amount of naval and air support, but these things, valuable as they were, do not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath with what the Marines themselves contributed. What it took to do this job was guts and skill on the part of each individual foot soldier, and competent, devoted leadership by officers and non-coms.

We took Tarawa in three days. We might have failed to take it at all. Had the Japs staged a determined counterattack during the first night, while they had our troops pinned down on several isolated and dangerously shallow beachheads, the headlines and communiqués which America has been reading might have been very different.

Editorial: That $25,000 income limit

Editorial: Battle of Berlin

Background of news –
After the Gilberts, the Marshalls

By Bertram Benedict, editorial research reports

Heroines forever

By Maxine Garrison

Radio oversteps bounds, invites regulation

Borderline jokes, fake patriots are tiring
By Si Steinhauser

In Washington –
Treasury plans to cut cost of bond advertising

Purchase of newspaper mats halted; other economies to be brought about by curtailing publicity services

Doubt voiced on Roosevelt’s election plans

GOP strength, progress of war bring about shift of opinion
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Völkischer Beobachter (November 30, 1943)

Neue große japanische Erfolge –
4 Flugzeugträger und 2 Kreuzer versenkt

dnb. Tokio, 29. November –
Das Kaiserlich japanische Hauptquartier meldet:

Japanische Marinelufteinheiten griffen am Abend des 26. November feindliche Kriegsschifformationen westlich der Gilbertinseln an und versenkten zwei große Flugzeugträger. Dabei ging ein japanisches Flugzeug verloren. Diese Schlacht erhält in Zukunft den Namen „Zweite Luftschlacht bei den Gilbertinseln.“

Am 27. November fand ein erneuter Angriff auf weitere feindliche Einheiten in den gleichen Gewässern statt, wobei zwei weitere Flugzeugträger versenkt wurden, davon einer großen Typs, der sofort unterging. Weiter wurden zwei Kreuzer versenkt, während ein großer Kreuzer oder ein Schlachtschiff Beschädigt und in Brand gesetzt wurde. Die japanischen Verluste betragen fünf Flugzeuge. Diese Schlacht wird den Namen „Dritte Luftschlacht bei den Gilbertinseln“ erhalten.

Ferner hat ein japanisches U-Boot am 25. November in den Morgenstunden einen feindlichen Flugzeugträger westlich der Insel Makin angegriffen und so schwer beschädigt, daß mit seinem Totalverlust zu rechnen ist.

‚Zu hoher Blutzoll‘

tc. Lissabon, 29. November –
Kritik an dem ,zu hohen Blutzoll,“ den die USA.-Truppen bei den Kämpfen um die kleine Gilbertinsel Tarawa zahlen mußten, übt die New York Herald Tribune am Sonntag. Das Blatt bemängelt vor allem auch die „ungenügende Unterrichtung“ der nordamerikanischen Öffentlichkeit über die hohen Verluste. Abschließend fordert dann die New York Herald Tribune, daß „besserer Gebrauch“ von Flugzeugen und Schiffsgeschützen gemacht werde, um das Leben der nordamerikanischen Soldaten zu schützen.

Die Luftschlachten bei den Gilbertinseln

In zwei neuen Luftschlachten bei den Gilbertinseln hat die japanische Marineluftwaffe der USA.-Marine wiederum schwerste Verluste zugefügt. Besonders schwer wiegt die Versenkung von vier Flugzeugträgern, durch die der nordamerikanische Verlust an Flugzeugträgern seit Beginn der neuen USA.-Offensive auf elf Flugzeugträger gestiegen ist. Davon sind sechs bei den Kämpfen um Bougainville in der Inselgruppe der Salomonen und fünf Flugzeugträger bei den Gilbertinseln versenkt worden. Dazu kommt der Untergang von vier USA.-Schlachtschiffen sowie einer Reihe von Kreuzern und Zerstörern, die bereits auf dem Verlustkonto der neuen USA.-Offensive im Pazifik stehen.

Bei den Kämpfen um Bougainville haben die Marinebehörden in Washington es dabei bewenden lassen, die harten Schiffsverluste einfach abzuleugnen. Jetzt, bei den Kämpfen um die Gilbertinseln, hat sich der Marineminister Knox aber genötigt gesehen— wie bereits berichtet – die Öffentlichkeit in den Vereinigten Staaten auf schwere Verluste vorzubereiten. Knox mußte gestehen, daß die Japaner im Raume der Gilbertinseln erbitterten Widerstand leisten, aber er hat bisher über die Höhe der USA.-Verluste an Kriegsschiffen und Menschen noch nichts Genaueres bekanntzugeben gewagt. Um so genauer sind die japanischen Meldungen, die von der Schwere dieser Kämpfe im Pazifik zeugen.

Immer klarer zeigt sich, daß die USA.-Offensive im Pazifik das Ziel hat, in die Nähe jenes Seeraumes zu kommen, in dem man auf nordamerikanischer Seite den zentralen Pazifikstützpunkt der Japaner vermutet. Das ist das Gebiet der Inselgruppe der Karolinen mit der Koralleninsel Truk, um deren angeblich gewaltigen Ausbau durch die Japaner so viele Nachrichten verbreitet worden sind. Die Karolinen haben aber nach Westen und Süden ein weites Vorfeld, dessen erste Stellung die Bismarckinseln und die Marshallinseln bilden. Darüber hinaus hatten die Japaner sich bald nach ihrem Kriegseintritt Vorpostenstellungen auf den Salomoninseln und den Gilbertinseln geschaffen, die sie den Engländern abnahmen. In diesen Vorpostenstellungen tobt noch der Kampf. Nachdem die USA.-Marine durch die schweren Verluste an Schlachtschiffen und Flugzeugträgern bei Bougainville nicht in Richtung der Bismarckinseln mit dem Hafen Rabaul weiterkamen, richtete der Feind seinen Hauptstoß gegen die westliche japanische Vorpostenstellung im Bereich der Gilbertinseln, wo die USA nun ebenfalls hohe Schiffsverluste verzeichnen mußten.

Die Gilbertinseln liegen beiderseits des Äquators und bestehen aus einer langen Reihe kleiner Koralleninseln. Die ganze Gruppe hat nur eine Bodenfläche von nicht einmal 500 Quadratkilometer. Die japanische Besatzung auf den Gilbertinseln hat sich mit einer Verbissenheit verteidigt, die auch der Feind anerkennen mußte. Vor allem aber haben die Nordamerikaner auch dort wie auf den Salomonen erfahren müssen, wie kostspielig es für sie ist, Angriffsoperationen über die weiten Seeräume des Pazifischen Ozeans zu unternehmen. Mit großer Mühe haben die Vereinigten Staaten die Kriegsschiffsverluste des ersten Kampfjahres gegen Japan insbesondere an Schlachtschiffen und Flugzeugträgern durch Neubauten und Reparaturen auszugleichen versucht, um Reserven für die Pazifikoffensive zu schaffen. Schon jetzt aber hat Japan seine Schlagkraft im Pazifik erneut bewiesen. Die Japaner haben allein durch den Einsatz der Marineluftwaffe der USA.-Flotte Verluste von außerordentlicher Härte zugefügt, ohne daß die japanische Flotte selbst einzugreifen brauchte. Mit verhältnismäßig geringen Kampfmitteln hat der japanische Gegenangriff Gewaltiges erreicht und damit einen Vorsprung für das weitere harte Ringen im Pazifik gewonnen.

E. G.

U.S. State Department (November 30, 1943)

The Assistant Secretary of War to the President’s special assistant

Cairo, 30 November 1943

Memorandum for Mr. Hopkins:

We have worked out with the British an arrangement for handling civil affairs, so called, in conjunction with the European Advisory Commission which I think will be satisfactory:

First, we agree to treat the EAC seriously and to put good men who are familiar with what has already been going on, on the staff to help Winant.

Second, they agree to forget their idea of moving the Combined Civil Affairs Committee to London and will empower their representatives in Washington to go ahead and function.

Third, all recommendations made by the EAC will be first submitted to the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington for their comments and suggestions before being submitted as final recommendations to the respective governments.

Fourth, the Combined Chiefs of Staff will prepare the final directives for the commanders in the field, based on the determinations of the three governments as thus obtained – the detailed planning to be carried forward by the local command.

This general setup was agreed to in my conference with Eden and later Jebb, his assistant, before leaving for Tehran said he felt “London” (whoever that was) would go along. He asked me to prepare a memo embodying this agreement for final confirmation on his return which I have done.

This in my judgement is the best that can be done and I have gotten Hull’s and Stimson’s approval of it. If you say O.K. I think it can be put across. My only concern is as to how expeditiously the EAC will function. I do not get the impression that Winant is a fast administrator but we will give him as good a staff as we can collect. If it works at that end it will work at ours.

Will you phone me?


Draft agreement prepared by the U.S. Delegation

Cairo, 30 November 1943

Liaison between European Advisory Commission and Combined Chiefs of Staff

At the Moscow Conference there was established the European Advisory Commission to which there has been referred civil affairs matters closely connected with military considerations of primary interest to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

It is essential that a liaison procedure be established between the European Advisory Commission and the Combined Chiefs of Staff whereby they can readily exchange views and comments on civil affairs matters.

With these considerations in mind, the following principles are laid down as satisfactory liaison procedure between the European Advisory Commission and the Combined Chiefs of Staff:

a. Tentative recommendations of the European Advisory Commission will be referred to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for their comment prior to final submission of recommendations by the Commission to the three governments.

b. The governments will transmit approved recommendations of the Commission to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, who will prepare and transmit final directives to the appropriate commanders. Detailed planning will be carried forward at the headquarters of the commanders concerned.

c. The British representation on the CCAC will be instructed to participate and empowered to act in all civil affairs matters relating to combined operations, without limitation as to area, that are brought before the committee.

Accepted at SEXTANT Conference
Cairo, Egypt

. . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . .

The Assistant Secretary of War to the President’s special assistant

Cairo, 30 November 1943

Memorandum for Mr. Harry Hopkins:

In the course of my talk with Eden I brought up Hull’s suggestion of a Committee set up somewhat as the Combined Committee to deal with all French questions. All matters relating to our dealings with the French would for the time being be cleared through that committee. Hull’s idea was that this would eliminate the irritation and distrust that now arises in connection with our respective French policies. Eden expressed prompt approval of the idea and today Hull cabled through Stimson to the effect that he thought it would be well to set such a group up in London. I gather it would be most informal and could consist of a military man and a foreign affairs man from each of the governments, calling on other agencies for such economic and other help as they need.

Would the President think well of this idea? If so, I can see that it is pushed along.


Memorandum by the Minister Resident in Saudi Arabia, temporarily at Cairo

Cairo, November 30, 1943

Brief comment on Mr. Jordan’s telegram of November 15, 1943, about arms for Saudi Arabia

In the first paragraph the question numbered (6) was not asked, though the answer was supplied by the King’s messenger. The remainder of the first paragraph is correct, and the second paragraph, insofar as it goes.

What does not appear from Mr. Jordan’s telegram is that King Ibn Saud was informed as a preface to the inquiry that the American and British military authorities in Washington were in consultation on the problem of arms for Saudi Arabia. The King was further informed that the subject of the inquiry would be discussed with the British Minister in Jidda; and the American Minister Resident did discuss it with the British Minister on a date which cannot be stated exactly without reference to records in Jidda, but which may have been November 16 or November 17, 1943.

A noteworthy feature of Mr. Jordan’s telegram is that his concern over apparent lack of collaboration did not lead him to refer to his American colleague to verify the completeness or accuracy of his information before reporting to the Foreign Office, nor did he mention it when discussing arms with the American Minister Resident on or about November 16, 1943. It is also worthwhile to note that the British Foreign Office (or Ministry of State) attributed sufficient importance to this point of procedure to refer it to the highest authority.