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Memorandum for the Inspector General [Peterson]
January 18, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
I wish you would have your officers go over the troop dispositions in the District of Columbia for the security of Governmental installations, communications, etc. The dispositions for the air and antiaircraft dispositions need not be considered in this matter, but the troop dispositions across the Potomac to include Fort Myer and Alexandria will be covered.
I wish this looked into from the viewpoint of the efficiency with which this matter is now being handled, as to whether or not we are overdoing these measures and what reductions might be recommended, and the effectiveness of the general framework of command and control.
As a very small example of some of the possible inconsistencies I notice sentinels along the west wall of Arlington cemetery and I can’t think of what the necessity for these could be; I notice a number of men involved in the guarding of the Memorial Bridge and I don’t quite see the necessity for such numbers; I have been told of heavy demands for guard detachments in the District, but I don’t know what has happened in this respect; I notice a large number of guards around the War Department Munitions Building. Please have all of this reviewed for my private information. I wish to use this investigation as a basis of departure towards correcting these matters throughout the United States as I am told a tremendous number of troops have been deployed for these purposes. The first deployment in the emergency was, I think, a wise one, but we cannot go ahead indefinitely on that basis, otherwise most of our troops will be tied up in home defense rather than in offensive action against the enemy.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. For another document concerning the pressure on the army to detail soldiers to guard home-front installations, see Marshall Memorandum for the Assistant Secretary of War, February 24, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-108 [3: 109-11].
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. 68-69.