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Memorandum for the Assistant Secretary
of War [Patterson]
December 9, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Thursday afternoon I made a brief tour of the Glenn Martin plant, and found somewhat the same condition of affairs that had impressed me several weeks earlier.1 A large number of jigs for B-26 medium bombers were standing idle, and presses and other heavy machinery were not carrying the full load. My queries in each case elicited the same response, a shortage of aluminum, for which orders were placed in June and deliveries promised in September.
Here we seem to have a rather complete difference of opinion—if one may use that word with regard to something where factual data should be available. On the one side we learn that there is no shortage of aluminum, and on the other I find a manufacturer who says that he cannot obtain it in sufficient quantity, and that our Army program is seriously delayed for that reason.
There was another phase of this matter that I have no data on at all, but which may have an important bearing on the situation. The Martin plant is turning out a British light bomber, and there seemed to be much more activity in that section of the plant than there was in the section devoted to the Army orders.
I am growing more and more concerned over the delivery rate for our Army planes and I am hopeful that everything possible will be done to get at the actual facts in the confusing state of affairs regarding aircraft production.
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. Marshall and Major General Henry H. Arnold had toured the Martin factory near Baltimore, Maryland, during their hunting trip with Glenn L. Martin, November 4-5. See Marshall to Martin, November 6, 1940, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-298 [2: 346].
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), pp. 365-366.