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Memorandum for the Secretary of War
December 11, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Attached is a proposal for the organization of a War Department Community Service Committee. Its preparation was just being completed when the announcement appeared in the press of the appointment of Mr. Paul V. McNutt as Coordinator of Health, medical, welfare, nutrition, recreation, and other related fields of activity affecting the national defense.1
It is very important that we bring about without further delay the coordination of the various welfare activities so that they can start their work in the communities in the vicinity of troop concentrations. At the present time each group is in a state of indecision pending a general policy as to how the matter of raising funds is to be coordinated, and just who is to do what. Meanwhile the troops lack the services of these organizations and the situation will grow serious if there is much more delay.
In a recent broadcast I referred to the necessity for active work by the various welfare organizations in the local communities adjacent to Army concentrations, explaining that we could handle matters on the reservations. They all come to me now for a definite basis of departure.2
Would you be willing to send the attached plan to Mr. McNutt and get an informal comment by him as to whether we might not go ahead, on the War Department side, on this basis immediately, leaving to him and his committees the question of the decision as to fund raising campaigns and matters of that nature.3
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. Paul V. McNutt was administrator of the Federal Security Agency, which had been created in April 1939 to consolidate numerous health, education, and welfare organizations. The announcement of his added duties was made by the White House on December 3. (New York Times, December 4, 1940, pp. 1, 20.)
2. See Marshall’s radio address of November 29, 1940, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-311 [2: 358-59].
3. No copy of the plan attached to this memorandum was retained in Marshall’s files. Several days later Marshall sent to the secretary a list of possible candidates for the committee. (Memorandum for the Secretary of War, December 23, 1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) At his January 9, 1941, press conference, Stimson announced the formation of the War Department Committee on Education, Recreation, and Community Service. (January 9, 1941, Yale/ H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 32: 94]; Army and Navy Journal, January 11, 1941, p. 504.)
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. 366-367.