4-104 Memorandum for General Somervell and the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, September 7, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 7, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the Commanding General, Army Service Forces [Somervell], and the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1 [White]

September 7, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]

Mr. Pelley of the Railroad Association1 called to see me regarding the extremely serious situation in connection with the operation of railroads in eleven western states, roughly from the line Montana-Colorado-New Mexico inclusive, westward. He had discussed their difficulties with General Gross2 and he appealed to me to try to protect them against the withdrawal not only of special men but of any men from the railroads in that region as men of any kind were not available for replacement.

I explained to Mr. Pelley that we were in the legal position of merely submitting our requirements and it was up to Manpower3 to work it out, that we presented certain stipulations as to the percentage that we could accept of uneducated, etc., etc. Whether we can go further than that I did not know.

I also explained to Mr. Pelley that we were through with the development of new divisions and in general Army Corps and Army troops but that we still were in the business of increasing the Air Forces and organizing special troops. I explained the pressing problem of getting additional ground troops of mechanics, etc., into England and additional combat crews for the planes in order that the planes themselves could be flown more frequently and therefore there would be a greater requirement for ground crews to keep them in repair. I explained that the same situation applies to the Mediterranean but on a different basis there, not so much of casualties to the planes and crews as of wear and tear from more frequent missions. He understands that it is a race against time, to get the best of the Germans in bombing before they develop an adequate defense. He therefore understands that we cannot limit our pressing requirements for men for these purposes.

Whether or not there is anything we can do to help him in his present dilemma I don’t know, but I would like a draft of a letter prepared for my signature to Mr. Pelley on the subject.4

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. John J. Pelley was president of the Association of American Railroads.

2. Major General Charles P. Gross (U.S.M.A., 1914) had been chief of the Transportation Corps since July 31, 1942.

3. The War Manpower Commission.

4. Marshall’s reply apologized for being “of such little assistance” and stated: “If you feel the railroad personnel situation in the West is sufficiently critical to justify release from the Army of a number of former railway employees, that matter should be taken up with the War Manpower Commission. If the Commission sees fit to certify to the War Department that the urgency of the situation requires release of men from active duty, the War Department will then determine the number of individuals to be released to civilian status.” (Marshall to Pelley, September 18, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)

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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 121-122.

Digital Downloads




Holding Rights: Public Information
Holding ID: 4-104

Rights: Public Information