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Memorandum for General McNarney
October 3, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
With reference to the attached notes from the Secretary of War regarding the Cabinet meeting yesterday, as relate to the manpower situation (paragraph 2, page 4)1 I am inclined to think there is a confusion regarding the figures, and that the Marine strength may not be included in the 7,200,000 referred to. I talked to the President at noon yesterday, and while I only had a few minutes for this particular subject he indicated approval of the strength we proposed, but wished to avoid going to Congress at the present time for the large strength involved, in pay and ration. He said “Tell them we will ask for more later.”
I commented that in view of what Admiral Leahy had told me of the President’s refusal to give his approval at this time of the 1943 Troop Basis, I had been prepared to propose that he give us quarterly approvals, 75 days in advance of the commencement of each quarter; but that in view of what he had just stated I would have to look into the matter more carefully to figure out how to approach the Budget phase. I meant by this that I did not know how we would ask Congress for a limited portion of the pay and ration funds required.
The President gave me the definite impression that he had no objections to our program. As a matter of fact he thought he had approved the 7,200,000 program. I told him that he not only had not approved it but that he had actually disapproved the program for 1942 that he had previously approved—this through a misunderstanding of the calendar year rather than the fiscal year basis for our request.2
I don’t think there is any complication about our going ahead on the 7,200,000 other than to adjust the matter of requests on the Budget for pay and rations in accordance with the President’s desires. This also means of course that there should not be any publicity regarding the approved program of 7,200,000.
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. See Stimson Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, October 2, 1942, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers (Memoranda, Minutes of Meetings, etc.). In copies of his memorandum to McNarney that Marshall sent to the heads of Services of Supply, G-1, and G-3, he enclosed a copy of the paragraph cited, which read: “There was a long discussion over manpower in the Cabinet. The publicized estimate of [Selective Service Director] Hershey that we should ultimately need an army of 13,000,000 was mentioned by one of the Cabinet members as something that had scared the entire United States and was having bad repercussions among the farmers and industries as indicating an inevitable great shortage of labor. The President mentioned that he had had an interview this morning with the Chief of Staff in which he had told the Chief of Staff that the total of the Army and the Marine Corps would be limited to 7,200,000 up to the end of 1943, amounting to about a limit of 6,700,000 for the Army alone. McNutt announced that the estimate of his department was a total of 9,000,000 for the armed forces with certain limitations or 10,500,000 without limitations. I did not catch what the limitations were.”
2. See Marshall Memorandum for Admiral King, August 26, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-294 [3: 320-21].
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), pp. 381-382.