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Memorandum for the President1
May 29, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
The following is submitted for possible inclusion in your Message to Congress:
The almost incredible events of the past two weeks in the European conflict, particularly as a result of the use of aviation and mechanized equipment, together with the possible consequences of further developments, necessitate another impulse for our military program. An investigation into manufacturing resources since my message of May 16th, to determine the practicability of placing additional orders with industry for special materiel, both to provide an early expansion of existing production facilities, and to obtain increased quantities of the special weapons concerned, has caused the War Department to submit to me an urgent recommendation that increased appropriations for the National Defense be secured before the adjournment of the present Congress.
Over and beyond these requests for materiel is the evident requirement for the immediate creation of additional production facilities to meet present deficiencies in facilities for the manufacturing of munitions, such as guns, ammunition and fire control equipment, since they require a long time to create and to reach quantity production. The increased gravity of the situation indicates that action should be taken without delay.
The following supplemental estimates are therefore submitted to the Congress: For tanks and mechanized equipment—$90,000,000; for additional bombs and other ammunition for planes—$26,900,000; for storage facilities for additional bombs and ammunition—$2,900,000; for 105 mm guns and ammunition—$8,640,000; for antiaircraft materiel to equip eight additional regiments—$30,400,000; for 2,850 combat air planes completely equipped to speed up existing production facilities and to provide for the further increase of the GHQ Air Force—$300,000,000. For further research and development of all airplanes and all types of munitions—$23,700,000; for the erection of additional production facilities for guns, ammunition and fire control equipment—$200,000,000.2
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), Emergency File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Marshall wrote this for Secretary Woodring’s signature.
2. In his message, the president refused to specify a figure beyond “over a billion dollars” for both the army and the navy. The agencies involved would present their specific programs to Congress. The memorandum Marshall discussed with the president on May 29 asked for $706,274,000. (Copies of the army documents pertaining to this request are in NA/RG 165 [OCS, Emergency File]. The president’s message is printed in Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940, pp. 250-52.)
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 229-230.