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Memorandum for Admiral Stark
November 6, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Joe Louis.
As I told you over the phone, we have no power with relation to the Selective Service induction procedure, and the Selective Service people expressed unwillingness to grant Louis a further deferment—one already having been granted him. In this connection, there has been a feeling that his manager or lawyer was endeavoring to secure delays until his 28th birthday in March, which would eliminate him from draft consideration.
As to his availability for the fight on January 9th in the event that he is inducted into the Army prior to that date, we will be willing to grant him reasonable training opportunities, as well as a furlough from Christmas to include the day of the fight. It would be necessary in doing this for us to state, if pressed by critics or newspaper men, that this exception was made at the request of the Navy.1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Louis knocked out Buddy Baer in the first round. The champion passed his physical examination on January 12 and was inducted into the army on January 14. (New York Times, January 13 [p 20] and 15 [p 11], 1942.)
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. 665-666.