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Memorandum for General Wesson1
March 3, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
With reference to your telephone conversation of the other day regarding a release on plans for certain Ordnance materiel, for Holland I believe, and with regard to the recent developments in this matter: What do you think of the proposition of reconsidering all items of Ordnance—and other munitions—on the basis of the relative advantages of secrecy versus the opportunities for civil industry to become familiar with the manufacture of the items concerned?
We had a discussion the other day over the French query as to 3-inch anti-aircraft guns, whether or not it was best to release the plans for the private manufacture in this country of the present 3-inch piece, or the plans for the new lighter weight 3-inch piece. In this connection, it seems to me that it would be distinctly to our advantage to have the more modern, that is, the light weight piece, in manufacture in civil industry, particularly if it can be done without expense to us.
I want to get your general idea, on a purely informal basis, before taking the matter up with the Chief of Staff towards having a definite study made of all material on that particular basis.
It may be that you have already had such a study prepared, but I am not clear on the subject.
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. Major General Charles M. Wesson (U.S.M.A., 1900) had been army chief of Ordnance since June, 1938.
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 706-707.