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Memorandum for General McNarney
July 28, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
I want the matter of reports looked into immediately. I am not talking about routine reports. My reference is to those called for by the Air Corps and by G-2 in particular; also, though not exactly reports, the immense number of cables or radiograms being sent daily to commanders. Bonesteel told me that while he was guessing, and probably exaggerating, it seemed to him that about fifty a day came to his headquarters which submerged him in detail, however much he might struggle against it.1
I know there is a tendency to acquire a mass of most recent information here in order to make quick replies, queries, and furnish information without delay. But this is very distracting to people in the field and tends to make the reports valueless in time. I saw this to a pronounced degree in the First Army in France; I think it has developed now to a serious state.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. Major General Charles H. Bonesteel was commanding general of the Iceland Base Command.
2. Deputy Chief of Staff Joseph T. McNarney directed Inspector General Virgil L. Peterson to conduct an investigation regarding the reports and radiograms required of defense commands and overseas forces. (Colonel Otto L. Nelson Memorandum for the Inspector General, July 29, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 319.11.) The editors have not located a report of this investigation.
On the previous day Peterson had written to Marshall that in February he had discussed with Lieutenant General Walter Krueger at Third Army headquarters the reduction of administrative paperwork. Since then Krueger had made great progress and had submitted recommendations to the Army Ground Forces commanding general “for the elimination of certain reports now called for by the War Department.” (Peterson Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, July 27, 1942, ibid.)
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), p. 282.