2-184 Editorial Note on Increased Budget Requests, May 1940

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 1, 1940

Editorial Note on Increased Budget Requests

May 1940

Although the House of Representatives had not yet held hearings on the changes the Senate had made in the army’s budget or on the president’s additional requests of May 16, Marshall and his staff were at work on a request for still more money, primarily for ordnance, tanks, and aircraft. In 1946, while editing his wife’s memoirs, General Marshall inserted a long handwritten addition regarding the army’s budget requests of May 1940; a portion of this addition concerns the president’s May 31 request for a supplement to the military budget.

“Meanwhile the German Army swept down over France, the world seemed to be rocking on its axis. Now manufacturers who previously would not bid on government contracts for fear of labor uncertainties, etc., and to conserve the interests of their stock holders, were in a purely patriotic frame of mind ready to take chances on literally any contract. Hence the second message to Congress about two weeks later which asked for 709 million for the army. At first the President was outraged at Mr. Morgenthau and George bringing up a proposal for a second message after so short a time, but he was quickly convinced that he really had no choice in the matter, it clearly must be done, and George worked on the draft of a second message.” (The above is printed with minor editorial changes in Katherine Tupper Marshall, Together: Annals of an Army Wife [New York and Atlanta: Tupper and Love, 1946], p. 70. This episode is also mentioned in Marshall Interviews, p. 331: “Morgenthau called me up and told me that the manufacturing industry now would bid on these things which they had refused to do before. . . . The president was furious.”)

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. 228-229.

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