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Memorandum for General Tompkins
November 26, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I have read Senator Wadsworth’s draft with the statement on universal military training to be presented to the labor leaders and find it acceptable.1 However, I think the portion that refers to the status of the individual after the completion of training might be presented in a better light. As I understand it practically every physically fit male would be under the same liability for service in a national emergency, therefore why imply that only the graduates of the universal military training course would be called upon for such service?2 Would not practically all of the physically fit males have had the universal military training? Therefore, why feature their status in the reserves, unless we still have in mind that some such continued relationship as is involved in a return for further training at stated intervals.
If 18 years is believed to be the age at which all men should be called for universal military training, the statement is acceptable. However, I was under the impression that we had in mind the period 18 to 20 years inclusive, allowing some option on the part of the individual.
Might it not be well to include somewhere in the statement the fact—under the premises—that the ranks of the Army and Navy under the system proposed would be maintained entirely on a voluntary basis as heretofore? The difference would be that while the individual volunteered for such service, he would have had under the law a year of purely training.
Penned note: By all means clear this with S/W and Mr. McCloy.3
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. For background on Wadsworth’s statement, see note 1, Marshall Statement on Universal Military Training, November 16, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-589 [4: 672].
2. Congressman Wadsworth (who had been a United States senator from 1915 to 1927) had written: “After completion of the training, they shall be passed to and enrolled in appropriate reserve components of the Army or Navy, including the aviation branches of those services, and should remain in the status of reservists for several, let us say 4, 5, or 6, years. As reservists they shall not be subject to active military service except in the event of a national emergency proclaimed by the Congress. Concurrently with such a proclamation, the Congress will determine how many of the reservists are to be called to active duty and under what conditions. It is highly probable, almost certain, that in such a situation the Congress will, by appropriate enactment, set in motion the process of selection, closely paralleling our present wartime processes.” (Statement on Universal Military Training Prepared by Senator Wadsworth for Labor Leaders, no date, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 353 (November 24, 1944)].)
3. This postscript was typed on the copy retained in Marshall’s papers.
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. 677.