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Memorandum for General White
November 3, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
I go to a meeting this morning at 12:00 o’clock with the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, Mr. McNutt, General Hershey, and several others. I understand Mr. McNutt is going to bring up the question of stopping all voluntary enlistments. I wish you would give me a brief memorandum of the points regarding which I should be on guard.
I especially should like to be informed as to what the attitude should be towards voluntary enlistment in the Navy and Marine Corps if such enlistments are stopped for the Army. General Hershey talked to me yesterday at considerable length as to what was happening in the classification of men, the fact that 3,000 jobs had been in effect put on the deferred list and that the result would be, if not is being, that the Army would only get the least competent men available.
I shall probably want to talk to you about this some time this morning.1
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. An undated memorandum—with no author indicated, but probably written in the Personnel Division—summarized the army’s position regarding voluntary enlistments. The key point was that uniform standards should be applied to all the armed services and their reserve components, otherwise “the Army would still receive, in large part, Navy and Marine Corps rejects.” In addition, the army wished assurance that U.S. Navy and Marine Corps manpower allocations under Selective Service would not cause a reduction in army allocations. Finally, the army was concerned that if the tendency toward deferments of able-bodied men in certain broad job categories continued, “the armed forces would receive only the unskilled, the untrained, the clerical workers, and the unemployed. We cannot make our Army from these classes alone.” (Document filed with a copy of Marshall’s memorandum in NA/RG 165 [OCS, 343].) Voluntary enlistments were eliminated by Executive Order 9279 effective on December 5, 1942.
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. 420-421.