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Memorandum for the President
September 7, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
With reference to your question as to what had been done about the transportation of men on cargo vessels, the following is submitted.1
Army controlled cargo vessels (80) have transported small groups totaling slightly under 4,000. The accommodations for these troops were hastily constructed while vessels were loading in ports. A complication was involved in this matter due to the Navy limitation that unescorted vessels of less than 15 knots would not carry passengers. This limitation was later modified to permit passengers on all unescorted vessels of over 10 knots.
The War Shipping Administration did not think it advisable to attempt the construction of troop accommodations on cargo ships while they were building, because they felt it would slow up construction out of proportion to the advantage to be gained. Completed vessels are now having these accommodations added.
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. Following the Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting on September 1, Marshall went to the White House to confer with the president, who asked what had been done about his March suggestion that to save shipping small groups of soldiers be transported on cargo vessels. (See Marshall Memorandum for the President, March 18, 1942, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-132 [3: 134].) Upon investigating, Marshall was dismayed to discover that administrative delays prevented the issuance of instructions to implement this procedure until June 10. Since that time 529 persons had been transported to Pacific destinations and 3,096 to Atlantic by this method. (Major General C. P. Gross Memorandum for General Somervell, September 2, 1942, and Marshall Memorandum for General Gross, September 3, 1942, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 570].)
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), p. 347.