2-428 Memorandum for General Haislip, April 19, 1941

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: April 19, 1941

Memorandum for General Haislip

April 19, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]


I had a long talk with General O’Ryan the other day as to the best method of approaching the re-classification of high-ranking officers in the National Guard.1 The military procedure is well understood, but the question whether in time of peace we will not become involved in very serious personal reactions is to be considered.

As a matter of snap judgment, I had in mind the possibility of creating a group of distinguished National Guard officers who would serve as an advisory committee to the Secretary of War (not to me) in the matter of classification of National Guard officers. I am not quite clear as to how they would operate, but I think if the group was composed of well known and trusted men, it might be very helpful in off-setting a reaction that the Regular Army was trying to emasculate or benzine the National Guard.

I have not studied General O’Ryan’s memorandum, because first I wanted to get your reaction.2 I had in mind some such board as this:

General O’Ryan as the Chairman

General Tyndall, who has been a division commander in the augmentation and is now retiring,

General Barrows (former President of the University of California and Commander of the California Division, a very aggressive Reserve officer of the old World War period) and possibly

Colonel Baker, from the Pennsylvania State staff of the National Guard, and now the head of Valley Forge Military Academy, as the Secretary.3

O’Ryan is a man of stern purpose; Barrows, I think, would operate on a very high plane; Tyndall, I am not certain about, but O’Ryan thought he would be a good man and in particular would reflect the present conditions and necessities. Baker is one of the most efficient administrators and executives I have ever seen. His school is the best run school I know of.

Do not circulate this memorandum in your section.4

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 John F. O’Ryan had been the commanding general of the Twenty-seventh Division (New York National Guard) during the World War.

2. O’Ryan’s memorandum is not in the Marshall papers, but his views are noted in a June 13 letter drafted by the Personnel Division (G-1). O’Ryan wanted the fitness of Reserve officers to be judged by a military board under the direction of the chief of staff rather than by an advisory board to the secretary of war. (Marshall to O’Ryan, June 13, 1941, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

3. The officers referred to are: Major General Robert H. Tyndall, former commanding general of the Thirty-eighth National Guard Division; Major General David P. Barrows, commanding general of the Fortieth Division (California National Guard) from 1926 to 1937; and Colonel Milton G. Baker.

4. In mid-June the War Department announced the formation of an advisory board for the reclassification of Reserve and National Guard officers unfit for active service. In the June 13 letter, Marshall advised O’Ryan that he wanted an advisory board which “would relieve the Chief of Staff and the War Department of the inevitable charge that the Regular Army was emasculating the reserve components.” (Ibid.)

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. 480-481.

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