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Memorandum for General McNarney
February 18, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
The President was disturbed over our washing out the college courses, however, he accepted the business. Towards the future he wished to know if there was any pressure he could bring to bear on the manpower people which would produce more men for us. Apparently he referred to possible exemptions or deferments now in force over which he could command control. This was all stated to the Secretary of War.1
If you will determine what pressures he might exert or what orders he might give to improve the situation for us, let me know so that the Secretary of War can so advise the President.2
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. Secretary of War Stimson discussed Marshall’s proposal to reduce the Army Specialized Training Program with President Roosevelt on February 18. (See note 2, Marshall Memorandum for the Secretary of War, February 10, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-241 [4: 288-89].) Stimson noted in his diary: “The President then asked whether it would not be possible hereafter to get Hershey and McNutt to squeeze out young men who had been deferred in industry and on the farms and to replace them with women. I pointed out that there might be difficulty in getting the local boards to do it and said I did not know whether we had power to force them to do so. He thought it might be a matter of regulation which we could handle. . . . He agreed with everything and said that if I wanted him to he would authorize Somervell to go to Hershey and McNutt and try to get them to take these steps.” The secretary of war talked the matter over with Marshall, who “is going to see Somervell and the Staff with a view to getting this matter put under way with the President.” (February 18, 1944, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 46: 61].)
2. On February 22, 1944, Marshall’s office sent to Roosevelt a memorandum, which had been prepared by the G-1 staff, for the president’s signature to be sent to Paul V. McNutt, chairman of the War Manpower Commission, and Major General Lewis B. Hershey, director of the Selective Service System. The memorandum regarding occupational deferments emphasized that Selective Service had not delivered the quantity of men expected, and almost five million men had been deferred for occupational reasons. “Deferments for industry include over a million non-fathers, of whom 380,000 are under 26 years of age. Of almost a million non-fathers deferred in agriculture, over 550,000 are under 26.” McNutt and Hershey were advised “to review all occupational deferments with a view to speedily making available the personnel required by the Armed Forces.” (Memorandum for Chairman War Manpower Commission and Director Selective Service System, attached to Marshall Memorandum for the President, February 22, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 308-309.