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Memorandum for General Osborn1
January 31, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
The Secretary of War has discussed for several days an appropriate message from the President for soldiers going overseas or to isolated garrisons like in Alaska. He has drawn on Kitchener’s famous message, that of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. in 1918 and that of King George V. As this decidedly pertains to morale, I bring it to your attention.
If a message from the President is decided upon, what form should it take? Kitchener’s was in the Soldiers’ Handbook. I do not recall how King George’s was transmitted. Theodore Roosevelt’s message went with a Bible.
The delivery of such messages could be handled at the Base ports maybe as the most effective moment for placing them in the hands of the soldier. However, this is suggested without careful thought in the matter.
For the form of the message, I mean, is it printed or lithographed, is it specially set up, etc., etc.
What about messages of several types, particularly for those garrisons on little islands such as Canton, Christmas, in the Far Pacific? Might it not be desirable to have these rather special messages addressed to the loneliness and isolated hazards of the post.
A soldier en route to Ireland is in one state of mind, one en route to Hawaii is in another, and those en route to little islands still another, those headed for the great struggle of the Far East might be approached with different technique from all of the others. I doubt whether we can scatter our shots so as to manage different approaches in these matters; however, it is well worth considering.
I regard it as very important that we work out some method of reaffirming, as it were, from time to time our intense interest and concern in the isolated garrisons.
This is very hurriedly dictated, and must not be interpreted too literally.
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. Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn was chief of the Morale Branch.
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. 92.