From the Stars and Stripes archives

Marshall assures allies U.S. will remain until Europe is secure

Gen. Matthew Ridgway, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and Gen. George C. Marshalll, former Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense and then-chairman of the U.S. Battle Monuments Commission, arrive at the dedication ceremony for the first memorial in an overseas cemetery to fallen World War II U.S. servicemembers at Suresnes, France, on September 13, 1952.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 14, 1952

SURESNES, France, Sept. 13 — Gen George C. Marshall declared today that the U.S. forces in Europe "will not go home until our friends here feel that our presence is no longer essential to their freedom."

The former Secretary of both Defense and State, who is now chairman of the U.S. Battle Monuments Commission, spoke at the dedication of the first memorial in an overseas cemetery to the U.S. dead of World War II.

The high-ranking audience, which included a U.S. Cabinet member, five ambassadors, at least 57 officers of general's or flag-officer's rank and other dignitaries, also heard Gen Matthew B. Ridgway declare that his Allied armies were resolved to "crush to earth" any aggression which may arise.

A special address from President Truman was read by U.S. Ambassador to France James C. Dunn and a message from French President Vincent Auriol was delivered by Prime Minister Antoine Pinay.

The ceremony was a symbolic dedication of all World War II memorials. Suresnes contains 1,541 World War I dead and 24 unknown servicemen of World War II. The cemetery is about five miles from Paris.

Marshall, who resigned as Secretary of Defense a year ago yesterday, said that "Americans will not leave Europe to the mercy of ruthless aggression."

"We will not go home till our friends here feel that our presence is no longer essential to their security, when we can leave a land free of terror — a land where the dignity of the individual is supreme ..."

Following a speech by Marshal Alphonse Juin, CG, Allied Land Forces, Central Europe, Ridgway, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, delivered the dedicatory address.

Ridgway said: "We are here to reaffirm out utmost resolve — to deter aggression, if that be possible, or to crush it to earth yet once more if unable to prevent its occurrence."

Fourteen wreaths were laid at the memorial. They were offered by seven nations in which U.S. war dead are buried, six American veteran organizations and President Truman.

Participating in the ceremonies was a composite company of 193 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines commanded by Lt Col Robert M. Walker, USAREUR Gp Hq.

The invocation was given by Army Chap (Col) J. B. Murphy. The prayer was recited by Air Force Chap (Lt Col) Samuel Rosen and the benediction was given by Navy Chap (Lt Cmdr) William N. Lyons.

As Chaplain Lyons gave the benediction, a sudden breeze whipped the flags and created a sound effect which was heightened by the volley of the firing squad and the blowing of taps.

The monuments commission was created in 1923 with General of the Armies John J. Pershing as chairman. Today's ceremonies were directed by Brig Gen Thomas North, ABMC secretary.

The soldiers participating in the composite company were members of the 18th Inf Regt, 1st Div, under Maj Gen Thomas E. Wilkerson; airmen of the 7495th Hq Supply Gp and 73d Air Depot, under Maj James N. Van Pelt, USAFE Hq; and sailors and marines from U.S. Naval Activities, London, under Capt Winston Folk.

The music was provided by the 75th Army Band, Com Z Hq, under the direction of WOJG Vance B. Lester. A composite color guard was led by Sgt Patrick Rooney, 7966th Hq Det, Orleans.

Additional high-ranking guests included Air Secretary Thomas K. Finletter and a Congressional delegation composed of Sen John McClellan (D-Ark.), Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-Tenn.), Sen. Guy Cordon (R-Ore.), and Reps. Olin E. Teague (D-Tex.) and Leo E. Allen (R-Ill.).

Also Gen Omar N. Bradley, Army Chief of Staff; Gen Lauris Norstad, commander-In-chief, Allied Air Forces, Central Europe; Gen Alfred M. Gruenther, SHAPE chief of staff; Lt Gen Edmund B. Gregory, SHAPE; Gen Thomas T. Handy, deputy commander-in-chief, U.S. European Command; Lt Gen Manton S. Eddy, commander-in-chief, USAREUR; Maj Gen Withers A. Burress, VII Corps CG; Maj Gen Ivan L. Bennett, Army chief of chaplains.

Also Maj Gen Harry Vaughn and Maj Gen Robert H. Landry, special assistants to President Truman; Maj Gen Courtland Van R. Schuyler, Maj Gen Aaron J. Bradshaw, Maj Gen William W. Eagles, Brig Gen Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Brig Gen James F. Early, and Brig Gen James M. Hare, of SHAPE.

Non-American guests included French Foreign Secretary Robert Schuman, Minister of Defense Rene Pleven, and Minister for War Veterans,, Emanuel Temple; British Ambassador Sir Oliver Harty, Canadian Ambassador Gen George P. Vannier, Philippine Charge d'Affaires Dr. Octavio L. Maloies, and Netherlands Charge d'Affaires Jonkher HK van Rijekevorfel.

Dunn, reading the message from President Truman in which the Chief Executive expressed regret at not being able to attend, noted that today was the anniversary of the birth of Gen John J. Pershing, who led American forces in World War I.

"We should never forget that the Americans lying now in military cemeteries died while helping to turn back and defeat aggression wherever they met it," the message from Mr. Truman said. "Our homes, schools, workingmen, farmers, industries, all are free today of domination by alien 'supermen' because of the courage, determination and sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors and airmen."

Dedication ceremony for a memorial to U.S. servicemembers killed in World War II at the Suresnes, France, military cemetery, September 13, 1952.

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