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Memorandum for General Moore
September 22, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
The President at the conference today brought up the question of tanks.1 In brief these were his directions:
For you to proceed with an effort to find a way to double tank production.
For you to proceed in every way possible to increase the present tank production between now and July 1, 1942, by 25% so that the expedited deliveries could go to export.
For us to release 50 tanks, light or heavy or both, over and above our present promised releases, out of the production of the next three months.
In this last connection I commented on the fact that the matter of penalizing ourselves in addition to 50 tanks was not really the serious phase of the matter. What we would be troubled about was that this was merely a lead-up to still heavier diversion from us to the British and Russians. He accepted this last comment in good part but gave me no assurances, however I at least made the point.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. Marshall and Secretary of War Stimson had met with President Roosevelt at noon at the White House. The minutes of a conference two days previous in the chief of staff’s office with representatives from G-1, G-3, G4, and W.P.D. called to discuss preparation of information for the meeting with the president reveal that Marshall anticipated discussing “a proposal to reduce the strength of the Army in order to make available more materiel for other purposes. . . . The proposals which have been made are as follows: (1) to reduce the size of the Army; (2) to reduce the amount of materiel being used by our Army; (3) to reduce the strength of our forces in the bases. The Chief of Staff pointed out that whatever data is presented to the President must be in concise form and not contain technical language of any kind. Each particular subject should be covered in not more than one paragraph. The Chief of Staff also pointed out that steps are being taken to reduce the garrisons in Hawaii and Panama; that the situation in the Philippines might be decisive within the next two months, and that our present augmentations there, particularly of air, are of outstanding importance. The question of reducing the forces in the bases is tied in with the continued maintenance of the British Navy.” (William T. Sexton Notes on Conference in Office Chief of Staff, September 20, 1941, NA/RG 165 [OCS, Chief of Staff Conferences File].)
2. That same day Marshall wrote to Colonel Robert W. Crawford (U.S.M.A., 1914) of War Plans Division about his meeting with Roosevelt, where the president had reviewed a memorandum entitled “Ground Forces” prepared by War Plans Division. “I do not believe he is of the opinion that there should be any reduction in the military forces,” Marshall wrote. “I think he is looking everywhere to find ways and means to secure materiel for Russia.” (Marshall Memorandum for Colonel Crawford, September 22, 1941, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 613-614.