WASHINGTON -- Establishment of an "European theater of operations for United States forces" -- presumably a prelude to eventual opening of a second European front by the United Nations -- was announced by the War Department today.
Designated as commander of the new war theater was Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 51-year-old strategist and until now assistant chief of staff in charge of the Army's operations division.
Area of Combat
In Army parlance a "theater of operations" normally means an area of actual or prospective combat, as distinguished from a training area. The American forces in Northern Ireland and England thus far have been engaged in training.
Establishment of the European operations theater follows close after formal announcement that the need for creation of a second European front was agreed upon in the recent conferences here between President Roosevelt and Soviet Foreign Foreign Commissar Molotov.
Many U. S. Army officials have visited London in recent weeks, conferring with British leaders about combined operations by British troops and the thousands of U.S. troops which have been landed in Britain. General Eisenhower, Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall, and Air Forces Chief Lieut. Gen. H. H. Arnold, have been included in these talks.
Already in London
A dispatch from London revealed that General Eisenhower arrived there last night. It also disclosed that he had conferred with Mr. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill now conferring here with the President as late as Monday.
The War Department made public a statement by General Eisenhower in which he said formal establishment of a European theater "is a logical step in coordinating the efforts of Great Britain and the United States."
He noted that Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt, in their December conferences, "heartened the people of the United Nations by moving swiftly to merge the military and economic strength of Britain and the United States for a more common common effort."
Cites Yanks in Britain
"At that Washington conference," he said, "they set a more effective pattern for unqualified partnership than has ever before been envisaged envisaged by allied nations in pursuit of a common purpose. Only recently they have met again to bring combined action into even closer coordination. coordination.
The presence here in the British Isles of American soldiers and pilots in rapidly increasing numbers is evidence that we are hewing to the line of that pattern."
General Eisenhower's appointment does not change the status of Maj. Gen. James E. Chaney as commanding general of U. S. forces in all the British Isles, or of Maj. Gen. Russell Hartle as commander of U. S. forces in Northern Ireland.
General Eisenhower's command tops both.
General Eisenhower was bom in Tyler, Tex., Oct. 14, 1890, attended the U. S. Military Academy and entered the Army as a second lieu tenant in 1915.