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Memorandum for General Hull
February 26, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
With reference to the Civil Affairs Section, General Somervell yesterday suggested to me the name of Boykin Wright as a possible head for the section. He is being commissioned a Colonel and was to have been in Somervell’s organization. As I understand it he is a very high-powered person, and I believe Somervell said of Cabinet stature.
If he were at all desirable there would be the initial difficulty of his lack of knowledge of War Department administration. However, that might be met by having an officer on temporary duty to organize the Section, put it on its feet administratively and then step out. I am suggesting this on the assumption that Boykin Wright is an exceptionally able man and would be acceptable to the Secretary.
I don’t know who is working on the organization of this Section but as you had a primary interest in the directive I am passing this on to you.1
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. In mid-February, Secretary Stimson noted in his diary: “I am creating this Civil Affairs Section in the War Department to carry on the absolutely essential work which is necessary to be done on behalf of Eisenhower. . . . These civil affairs stem directly from the military occupation. They affect its safety and its interest and, although the President obstinately refuses to see it yet, they will inevitably give rise to far-reaching problems which in part at least must be handled by the military commander and his department—the War Department.” (February 11, 1943, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 42: 39].) The division was established on March 1 with Colonel John H. F. Haskell (U.S.M.A., 1925) as acting head; on April 7 Major General John H. Hilldring was made chief. (Documents concerning the Civil Affairs Division’s establishment and duties are printed in Harry L. Coles and Albert K. Weinberg, Civil Affairs: Soldiers Become Governors, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1964], pp. 66-69.) Boykin C. Wright, a New York City lawyer, was promoted to brigadier general in May 1943 and made director of the International Division of the Army Service Forces (as the Services of Supply was called after March 12, 1943).
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), p. 565.