2-024 Memorandum for General Gasser, August 4, 1939

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 4, 1939

Memorandum for General Gasser

August 4, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]

With reference to my uncompleted statement of this afternoon, regarding certain changes, I wish to have considered:

Gradually, without any publicity and undue stirring up of people, I wish to eliminate such features in the War Department as are a continuation of old days when the Army was a very small affair. I am referring to matters which are of a character applicable to post command rather than to a department of the Government charged with the national defense and spending of one billion dollars a year.

I hope to make a beginning in this business by transferring to the Headquarters of the District Commander of Washington certain present War Department activities. For example, the custom of officers arriving in Washington and registering outside the office of The Adjutant General, should be transferred to the other headquarters; the actual list of registrations to be furnished The Adjutant General whenever he wants it or needs it, but the officers coming into town should report to General Murray’s headquarters rather than to the War Department proper.1

General Murray’s headquarters should take care of automobiles, of course, under such policy as the Chief of Staff establishes. I have found this being handled by the Secretary of the General Staff, the Chief of Staff’s Aides, etc.

I have considered the possibility of authorizing General Murray’s headquarters to issue all leave orders O.K.’d and made by the Chief of arm or branch or section of the General Staff. Those that appear to require disapproval under the governing policy could be referred to The Adjutant General by General Murray.

Take the recent job of Colonel Crane in connection with General Monteiro’s visit;2 he was practically using G-2 as an administrative headquarters to coordinate things, except for the few arrangements made by General Murray. G-2 should lay down the policy but Gen. Murray should designate the officer to follow it through.

I would be opposed to enlarging General Murray’s office to any material extent, if at all, because I think he should be merely authorized to call in officers from the surrounding garrisons for specific jobs of brief duration, just as White House Aides are brought over from Fort Myer, etc. This would be excellent training for a lot of young officers.

I wish you would look into this whole matter and see what you can develop. I have talked to General Murray about it without getting any distance, and I recently had a conversation with General Adams, in which he only conceded the automobile matter.

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. Brigadier General Maxwell Murray (U.S.M.A., 1907) commanded the Washington Provisional Brigade; his offices were in the Munitions Building, Major General Emory S. Adams had been the adjutant general of the army since May 1, 1938.

2. Colonel John A. Crane, of the G-2 division, was chief of the Military Attach_ Branch.

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. 27-28.

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