3-571 Memorandum for General Somervell, March 26, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 26, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for General Somervell

March 26, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]


The President talked to me today about Army and Navy consumption of foodstuffs.1 I told him what you had done in regard to the soldier ration and he was much interested.

He expressed the belief that possibly we were accumulating too heavily in our reserve supplies and he spoke of a report he had just received, apparently from the Department of Agriculture, as to the percentage of the entire output that was being requisitioned for the Army and the Navy and, I assume, Lend-Lease.

Will you have prepared for me a statement of your findings and action on the soldier ration and a paragraph or two on reserves of food stocks for Army consumption.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. General Marshall had a meeting at the White House on March 26 at 11:30 A.M.

2. Lieutenant General Brehon B. Somervell replied that studies had determined that “there had been an unnecessarily large wastage of food,” principally due to inadequate messing arrangements, serving unpopular foods, failing to tailor menus to meet local needs, and preparing too much food. A vigorous educational campaign had been undertaken to impress everyone with the need to conserve food. The Office of the Quartermaster General had issued master menus which emphasized conservation of critical food items, and menus would be predicated upon the nutritional differences of soldiers performing different activities. Somervell denied that the army was accumulating excessive reserve stocks and pointed out that the army purchased certain canned goods for the navy and marines. Moreover, he noted, army purchasing had not interfered with civilian demands, and canned vegetables were more readily available to civilians in 1942 than during 1935-40. (Somervell Memorandum for General Marshall, March 27,1943, NA/RG 160 [ASF, Chief of Staff, 194243].) For more information on this subject, see Marshall Memorandum for the President, March 29,1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-577 [3: 615-16].

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. 608-609.

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