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Draft of a Possible Statement by the
Secretary Of War1
December 26, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
The December 23d issue of LIFE magazine carries on page 57 the following comment:
“—if they (soldiers) want to visit Red-Light districts, the Army gives its tacit acceptance provided they patronize Army inspected houses, stop at a prophylactic station on way home.”
This statement was made without the authority or knowledge of the War Department. It is calculated to create a misleading and unfortunate impression. With reference to the problems of liquor and prostitution, the Army feels that it has two obligations or duties,—first to the young soldier himself and to his parents, and secondly, to the interests of national defense.
The policy of the War Department is to proceed in every way to offset these ever present temptations, particularly in the communities adjacent to troop concentrations, by providing comfortable living conditions, wholesome recreations, and diversions for the soldiers in the camps, and through the cooperation of civilian agencies, to see that decent conditions and healthy diversions are available in the near-by towns. For the inevitable few who fail to accept their individual responsibilities for clean living and involve themselves in unfortunate contacts, the Army takes such measures as are necessary to insure that the efficiency of the Army is not impaired. There are lectures to the soldiers, instruction in personal hygiene, and insistence by the Army that the officials of the civilian communities take every possible measure for protection against the spreading of venereal diseases.
The Army recognizes two responsibilities in this matter; one to the parents for the welfare of their sons, and the other to the nation for the efficiency, meaning a healthy Army. We shall continue to spare no pains to meet these obligations.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed draft.
1. Marshall requested that Lieutenant Colonel Edward H. Brooks, chief of the statistics Branch- read the proposed statement and discuss it with Secretary Stimson during the chief of staff’s absence. (Maude A. Young to Brooks, December 26,1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 373-374.