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Memorandum for the Secretary of War
April 28, 1941 Washington, D.C.
Subject: Civilian Aide to the Commander of the Field Forces.
As Commander of the Field Forces pro tem, it seems to me desirable that I have available a civilian reaction on the development of the field forces, training centers, etc.1
To be of real value to me, the man would have to have a reasonably good background on Army requirements, as well as a practical understanding of the influences of the human factors involved in the military mobilization of a democracy like ours. What I have in mind is, such a man traveling about the country where he could see what is going on with the troops, with no specific objective in mind other than the intense interest of a patriotic citizen. His reactions might relate to any subject that seemed of importance to bring to my attention.
There are very few people that I would be willing to risk on such a basis of contact with Army, Corps and Division Commanders, Corps Area Commanders, and lower echelons. Outstanding in my mind is Mr. Osborn.2 I spoke to him about this and he seemed interested, but before considering the matter any further, I would like to have your approval or disapproval both as to the idea in general, and as to the individual in particular.3
G. C. Marshall
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), Secretary, General Staff, Notes on Conferences File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. Concerning Marshall’s role as the commander of the Field Forces, see editorial note #2-001, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [2: 3-4].
2. Frederick H. Osborn was chairman of the Joint Army and Navy Committee on Welfare and Recreation, which advised the secretaries of war and navy on morale questions.
3. Stimson returned the memorandum to the chief of staff with the following handwritten note at the bottom: “Osborn is so vitally important now as head of the Morale Advisory Com that I do not like to let him go. I took this same position as to his becoming Director of Selective Service and he gave that up. Could you get someone else? HLS”
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. 486-487.