5-039 Memorandum for General Handy, February 21, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 21, 1945

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Handy

February 21, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]

Confidential. For His Eyes Only

General Somervell brought up to me the other day the question of Chaplain Arnold’s retirement, whether or not he was to be continued as Chief of Chaplains.1 At the moment I believe I told him I had no thought of changing, but since then another approach to the matter has occurred to me.

There has been considerable criticism on the part of the Protestant Church group regarding the poor quality of the representation of the Protestant Church affairs in Chaplain Arnold’s office. He, Arnold, can hardly be blamed for this because he has a very delicate proposition on his hands when he deals with the senior Protestant personnel, regarding which he has talked to me several times. This same difficulty repeats itself in the various Corps Areas where the senior is not usually the most competent official. A Protestant group headed by Bishop Sherrill2 of Boston informally commented on the situation and Bishop Sherrill suggested two names for appointment as Chief of Chaplains, one of whom was Luther Miller, an old protégé of mine and an unusually efficient man.

Thinking this matter over the other day it suddenly occurred to me that it might be a good thing to make Miller Chief of Chaplains and transfer Arnold to The Inspector General’s Department. We have a doctor Major General who looks after Medical matters in that department and we might well have Arnold to perform the same function for religious matters.

What do you think of this?

It still retains Arnold on active duty as a distinguished Catholic but at the same time turns to a Protestant as the head of the Chaplain Corps.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. Major General William R. Arnold, a chaplain in the U.S. Army since 1913, had served as chief of Chaplains since December 1937.

2. Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts Henry K. Sherrill, who had served as a U.S. Army chaplain overseas from 1917 to 1919, served during World War II as chairman of the General Commission on Army and Navy Chaplains, an interdenominational group that supervised the selection of Protestant chaplains for the armed forces.

3. The War Department announced on April 1, 1945, that Major General William R. Arnold was designated assistant inspector general in the office of The Inspector General of the Army, where his duties would relate to the Chaplain Corps and religious matters concerning the army. Chaplain Arnold formally retired at the age of sixty-four on June 30, 1945. (War Department Press Release, April 1, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Brigadier General Luther D. Miller, who served as Sixth Army Chaplain in the Pacific, was designated acting chief of Chaplains on April 12, 1945, and became chief of Chaplains in July. (TAG to Miller, April 12, 1945; Henry Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, July 5, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 201 Miller, L. D.].)

For General Marshall’s previous discussion of this subject, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-612 [4: 699–701]. See also Marshall Remarks at the Annual Conference of Supervisory Chaplains, April 5, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-090 [5: 131].

Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981– ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945–January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 54–55.

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