5-221 Memorandum for Mr. McCloy, August 25, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 25, 1945

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for Mr. McCloy

August 25, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]

I agree that the practicability of integrating Negro elements into white units should be followed up. It is further agreed that the results of the survey of the Information and Education Division should not be released for publication at this time, since the conditions under which the platoons were organized and employed were most unusual.

The Special Planning Division is making an over-all study of postwar utilization of Negro troops. The material being used as the basis for the study was obtained from the several combat theaters. It is estimated that conclusions and recommendations will be completed about 1 October. I recommend the attached report be submitted to Special Planning Division for consideration in connection with the over-all study.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. Various reports by the U.S. Army’s Air, Ground, and Service forces indicated a general acceptance of the traditional racial status quo (i.e., segregation). On the other hand, commanders generally agreed that black units should be made more efficient. Civilian civil rights spokesmen asserted that segregation was the underlying cause of poor black unit performance. In September, McCloy recommended that the secretary of war turn the matter over to a board of general officers to recommend a revision of the army’s policy with regard to African Americans. Late in September, Marshall appointed Lieutenant General Alvan C. Gillem, Jr., chairman of the Board of General Officers on Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Post-War Army. The Gillem Board completed its work on November 17 and submitted its rather ambiguous conclusions about future policy on racial integration. The issue would continue to fester for several years. (MacGregor, Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965, pp. 138-43, 153-66.)

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. 289-290.

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Holding ID: 5-221

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