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Memorandum for General Somervell
December 17, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I noted this morning your memorandum regarding permanent construction and I am in agreement with the logic of the present policy.1 However, I would like to get your views regarding a situation such as I described at Bragg, where there can be no doubt, as far as is humanly possible to perceive, that military activities will continue after the war on a larger scale than at all but a few other installations in continental United States. I am not referring to new construction but to repairs.
In this classification, off hand I would place Benning, Sill, I suppose Ord on the West Coast, and Knox.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. Somervell’s memorandum stated that “major construction for the Army within the Continental United States was completed several months ago,” but “numerous requests are being received for the construction of family quarters for officers, swimming pools, service clubs, and other facilities not originally provided because War Department Policy contemplated only the minimum facilities which were essential to the war effort. Many such requests are for permanent-type construction, on the theory that we know fairly definitely what installations will be retained for post-war use and that it will be an economic saving to the Government to construct permanent facilities at this time.” General Somervell, however, believed that the army’s postwar needs were still unclear, that it was unwise to use scarce manpower and materiel “to provide extra conveniences,” and that such permanent construction would tend to violate the army’s “Gentleman’s Agreement” with Congress. Under Secretary of War Patterson concurred. (Somervell Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, United States Army, December 12, 1944, NA/RG 160 [Office of the Commanding General, Desk File, Chief of Staff U.S. Army].)
2. Somervell reiterated his recommendations and was supported by G-4’s Supply Division. Marshall seems to have dropped the matter.
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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 695.