4-023 Memorandum for the President, June 21, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 21, 1943

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the President

June 21, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]


Subject: Secret Demobilization Studies.

I wish to bring to your attention certain work on the above subject that has been going on in the War Department since last November, not because it has been completed, but because I fear one of the usual leaks into the press which might give you concern if not irritation. The purpose of this memorandum is merely to bring the matter to your attention so that you will know what is going on. I have talked this over with the Secretary of War and he agrees with me that such a note as this appears desirable.

Last November I selected a retired officer with a very broad comprehension of military requirements and had him secretly consider some major factors from the purely military point of view that would inevitably be concerned in the demobilization of the Army.1 Later he had the result of his views considered by the G-3 section of the War Department in order to consider some of the broad matters of policy involved.

As practically every detail concerned with policies immediately involved matters of shipping, materiel, transportation, etc., under the control of the Army Service Forces, for convenience I had a select board secretly organized under General Somervell to survey the various military involvements.

My desire was to determine as nearly as practicable what would probably be the broad policy so far as military requirements are concerned of the demobilization and after this had been whipped into fair shape to have the Secretary of War take up the matter with you. In this way I hope to reach a point where we would be ready whenever you so directed to submit this data to whatever civilian agencies were coordinated to meet the general problem.

In all of this I insisted on the utmost secrecy for several reasons.

First, to avoid publicity which would lead to a relaxation of the war effort.

Second, to avoid the inevitable tidal wave of proposals and debates which are bound to be concerned with the great problems immediately concerned with the demobilization policy.

Third, to have at least the nucleus of the military requirements in a fair state of preparation before the larger aspects of the demobilization questions were undertaken.

My purpose in submitting this memorandum is merely to tell you what is going on. Admiral Leahy is familiar with all of the foregoing.

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 had had his friend Brigadier General John McA. Palmer, whose 1940 book America in Arms: The Experience of the United States with Military Organization had been widely praised, recalled to active duty in November 1941 as a special consultant to the War Department on issues related to the citizen-soldier. See Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-598 [2 672-73], and #3-593 [3 633-34].

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. 23-24.

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