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Memorandum for the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1 [Shedd]
June 13, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Mr. Mastick and Mr. Cross came to me to see if I would help them to approach the President for the purpose of securing $5,000,000 of his $200,000,000 fund, to enable them to set up the necessary YMCA facilities to meet the augmentation of the Regular Army this summer and into the winter.1
I told them that there would be many considerations of probable priority for the use of the President’s $200,000,000, and I did not think I could specifically recommend this.2 However, I did say, and I do think that it is very important that the YMCA be prepared in advance to set up in the nearby towns clubs and assembly places for the enlisted men of these new organizations, and around the Air schools that we are getting under way. It is important that the arrangement be managed so that such assembly places will be installed immediately rather than two or three months late, as occurred to a certain extent with the First Division.
I am not interested in the entertainment feature; I think the ordinary movies and things provide for this. I am not interested in the distribution of free goods; the soldier gets pay to buy these. I am intensely interested in his having a warm, cheerful place to sit down, play cards or engage in similar simple activities; and keep him off the streets as much as possible. I am particularly interested that whatever is to be done be so arranged for that it is accomplished quickly and not after the usual two or three months of fighting to maintain morale and set up a bad situation in the nearby towns.
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. General and Mrs. Marshall had been invited to, but were unable to attend, a June 3 luncheon meeting given by Mrs. Roosevelt at the White House for the purpose of discussing proposals for enlarging the Young Men’s Christian Association’s role in providing recreational facilities for servicemen near military installations. Seabury C. Mastick, a New York lawyer and the chairman of the Y.M.C.A.’s Army and Navy Department, had presented the luncheon program. Harry D. Cross was a member of senator Mastick’s department. Frank R McCoy sent Marshall a report on the meeting. (See Marshall to McCoy, June 12, 1940, LC/F. R McCoy Papers.) The War Department announced its policy regarding civilian welfare activities on July 15. (See New York Times, July 16, 1940, p. 14.)
2. In his message to congress of May 16, President Roosevelt had requested—in addition to the $696,000,000 for the army and the navy—$200,000,000 in discretionary funds for the president. This became law on June 13. (Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940, p. 203.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 241.