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Memorandum for General Haislip
August 18, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
I will probably be leaving tomorrow for a week’s absence with the Secretary.1 In view of this, I think it is important that a press release be made tomorrow morning on the question of extension of service. The manner of stating our intentions will be of critical importance. We must not appear to be taking action because of unfavorable reactions, but rather because the period of completion of twelve months’ service is approaching for a considerable increment of the Army. I have not time to draft such a document, but I am dictating a few notes, which appear below:
In view of the approaching termination of twelve months’ service for the first increment of the National Guard (some 150,000 men) inducted in September and October, and Reserve officers, and the selectees who were inducted in November, the War Department today announces that the following instructions were being issued concerning the matter.
Assuming our present situation continues without more serious developments, enlisted men of the National Guard and selectees will be released from active duty under the following priorities: 1st, hardship cases, 2d, men of 28 years of age or older not holding non-commissioned rank, and such men holding non-commissioned rank who so desire. 3d, married men who so desire. Men whose three-year term of service has been completed will be discharged unless they desire to reenlist. War Department directions provide that the release from active duty of men of 28 years and over will be completed by December 31st, provided the men will have had at least six months’ training.
Under the assumption that we do not become more seriously involved, it is anticipated that other selectees as well as enlisted men in the ranks of the National Guard will be released from active duty after an average of about 17 months’ total active service, the periods varying from 14 to 20 months depending on the location of the unit and its schedule of preparation.
Instructions were issued by the War Department in March (?)2 directing that 50% of the Reserve officers would be released from active duty at the completion of twelve months’ service. This policy will be carried out in order to provide places for some 30,000 Reserve officers who have not yet been called into service and should be trained, and also to permit the employment of a monthly output of approximately 1200 officers commissioned from the ranks of the Army.
The details have not been completed for covering a similar procedure of relief from service regarding officers of the National Guard.3
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. Marshall left Washington on August 20 with Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson for an inspection tour of the Northwest. They returned to Washington on August 28. (Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 35: 42-49].)
2. February. (New York Times, August 20, 1941, p. 10.)
3. The War Department issued a statement similar in wording on August 19, 1941. The plan would release about 200,000 from active duty: 150,000 National Guardsmen, 10,000 Reserve officers, 20,000 selectees who were inducted in November and December, and 20,000 National Guard officers. (Ibid., pp. 1, 10.)
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. 590-591.