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Memorandum for General Moore
February 26, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
I wanted to talk to you today in further regard to the Chemical Warfare materiel, but you were out on each occasion.
I had a meeting this morning with the representatives of the War Plans, G-3 and also General Somervell and Colonel Helmick. All were in agreement except War Plans, that we should go ahead on the basis of maintaining materiel for 24 battalions, and should adhere to the present decision to develop a total of 6 battalions of troops in 1942.1
War Plans feels that we should obtain materiel for the entire 18 regiments (36 battalions), unless this creates a serious situation in the priority field. Somervell thought that the amount of money required was trivial by comparison with the other demands and he did not think there was a serious problem in the shell cases. Helmick felt that with the funds for this specifically in the bill now before Congress and with the ability to transfer of funds, which in this particular bill amount to over two billions of dollars, there should be no problem in meeting the financial requirements.
Unless you still feel that I am being misled in this matter, go ahead on the basis of materiel for 24 battalions. This would amount to the modification of my previous direction for 18 regiments-36 battalions.
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. War Department leaders believed that the only effective deterrent to the enemy’s use of gas warfare was fear of United States retaliation; thus the army should develop and maintain a chemical warfare capability. A War Plans Division study on toxic gases recommended that the chief of staff decide upon the number of Chemical Warfare Service units to be organized. On February 13 Marshall directed the War Plans Division to insure the activation of four chemical combat battalions and directed the Budget and Legislative Planning Branch to procure funds to equip eighteen chemical regiments. (Brophy and Fisher, Chemical Warfare Service: Organizing for War. pp. 50-51.)
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. 112.