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Memorandum for General Weible1
May 20, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
Reference the attached memorandum from Bishop O’Hara to the Special Planning Division for consideration.2
Bishop O’Hara has represented his views in this matter since the initial mobilization. There exists a difference of view between the Bishop and the War Department as to the practical measures to control this menace to armies.3 The inference that the War Department has, in effect, deceived the public by its representations of statistics, etc., is without foundation and I know would be deeply resented by the Secretary of War, as it is by me.
While some measures might be conceived that will smooth the way in regard to this particular issue, yet at the same time it must be borne in mind that in effect Bishop O’Hara is opposed to a measure which we hope will secure the peace of the world because of his disapproval of a single measure which has the approval of the Secretary of War after long consideration and considerable experience.
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. Walter L. Weible, who began his service as a private in 1917 and rose to major general by 1944, was director of training for Army Service Forces.
2. On March 18, Weible had met with Archbishop Francis J. Spellman, military vicar for the United States, and John F. O’Hara, auxiliary bishop of the Army and Navy Diocese, “in an attempt to determine the position of the Catholic church on the question of Universal Military Training.” He found Spellman open-minded on the subject but O’Hara “quite frank and out-spoken in his objections.” Weible asked O’Hara “to enumerate for me in a memorandum the reasons why he objected to Universal Military Training.” (Weible Memorandum for General Marshall, May 17, 1945, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 353 Training 1944-46, Sec. IV].)
3. O’Hara, who had been promoted to Bishop of Buffalo on May 8, particularly objected to the army’s policy of distributing condoms to its troops in order to hold down the venereal disease rate. Most recently, he had written to protest the arrival in Hollandia, New Guinea, of “three hundred tons of rubber contraceptives, consigned to the Army there.” (O’Hara to Marshall, March 7, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) In his May 17 memorandum, Weible had recommended that O’Hara’s letter be sent to the Special Planning Division with a directive from Marshall to recommend action that would meet O’Hara’s objections.
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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 195-196.