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Memorandum for General G. A. Lynch1
July 19, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
I am endeavoring to have Congress authorize the President, in the present situation, to make temporary promotions. He has already the authority for the Reserves and the National Guard when called into active duty. In my opinion it is exceedingly important that as quickly as possible we give effect to the vital influence of leadership, by creating major generals for the command of divisions, and corps if the National Guard comes into the service, and brigadier generals for the important posts in the development of troops. It is also, I believe, of equal importance that we be able to give the temporary rank of captain to most of our first lieutenants.
What I would like you to do, on a purely personal basis without the knowledge of anyone in your office, is to give me a list of the colonels and lieutenant colonels who stand at the top of leadership efficiency, in your opinion, for selection for temporary brigadiers. I would like these all arranged on a basis of priority, and it would probably be best for you to make up your list in three groups, one of older officers whom you feel can give vigorous leadership in the organization and training of combat units, another group of younger men, who would come under the present policy for making permanent promotions, and a third group of still younger men in age, and lower in rank if not in age, whom you think are outstanding to the extent of justifying their advancement over the heads of large numbers of officers.
I would like to have such a list the latter part of next week.
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. Major General George A. Lynch was the chief of Infantry. This memorandum was also addressed to Major Generals John K. Herr (chief of Cavalry), Robert M. Danford (chief of Field Artillery), and Joseph A. Green (chief of Coast Artillery).
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. 271-272.