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Monday, February 23, 1942

Message to Macarthur was approved by President and dispatched. I’m dubious about the thing! I cannot help believing that we are disturbed by editorials and reacting to “public opinion” rather than to military logic. “Pa” Watson is certain we must get MacArthur out – as being worth “five army corps”. He is doing a good job where he is, but I’m doubtful that he’d do so well in more complicated situations. Bataan is made to order for him. It’s in the public eye; it has made him a public hero; it has all the essentials of drama; and he is the acknowledged king on the spot. If brought out, public opinion will force him into a position where his love of the limelight may ruin him. We’re having our troubles in joint Army-Navy problems. Admiral King, C-in-C of U. S. Fleets, and directly subordinate to the President, is an arbitrary, stubborn type, with too much brains and a tendency toward bullying his juniors! But I think he wants to fight, which is vastly encouraging. In a war such as this, when high command invariably involves a President, a Prime Minister, 6 Chief’s of Staff, and a horde of lesser “planners”, there has got to be a lot of patience – no one person can be a Napoleon or a Caesar! And certainly there’s no room for a Pope or a Gates! It’s a back-breaking job to get a single battle order out – and then it can’t be executed for from 3 to 4 months!!!