2-440 Memorandum for the Secretary of War, May 5, 1941

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 5, 1941

Memorandum for the Secretary of War

May 5, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]

Subject: Important matters under Consideration.

1. The instructions for the commanders of bases in British possessions, withheld last week at the direction of the President—presumably on the request of Mr. Hull—leaves the commanders concerned without guidance in the event of emergency. If Mr. Hull is to secure a modification of the present instructions, I think a decision should be reached as quickly as possible.1

2. The President has directed that, on the request of the Governor of Arkansas, two companies of infantry be sent to Arkansas City to prevent the possible lynching at the time of the trial of a negro for rape. The date for the trial is May 15th. A Presidential proclamation is necessary, and a draft has been prepared by General Gullion and O.K’d by the Solicitor General. Signature by the President should be obtained as soon as possible in order that the Proclamation may be placed in the hands of General Strong, the Corps Area Commander, to be issued by the Commander of the troops in the event that a mob gathers.

3. The matter of General Miles’s successor remains to be determined. The vacancy to which I wish to assign General Miles, Commander of the First Corps Area in Boston, occurs on May 15th. There should be a commander there at that time because of the tremendous activity in preparation for the summer program. Also General Lee, if he is to be General Miles’s successor, should take over here as soon after General Miles’s departure as possible.2

4. The designation of a new commander for the Third Army.

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. According to the navy’s western Hemisphere Defense Plan Number Two of April 21, 1941, the United States assumed defense for territory west of twenty-six degrees longitude and including Greenland and the Azores. Should naval vessels or aircraft from belligerent nations which did not have possessions in the hemisphere cross this line, they would be warned; if the warning was ignored, they would be attacked. The army drafted instructions to its base commanders in Bermuda, Trinidad, and Newfoundland, according to the naval plan. At this point state Department officials urged caution. Secretary Stimson then redrafted the instructions on May 10,1941, to direct army base commanders to resist any attack by belligerents with all the force at their disposal. The army did not, however, send similar instructions to the Puerto Rican and Panama Canal departments. (Conn and Fairchild, Framework of Hemisphere Defense. pp. 107-9.)

2. Brigadier General Sherman Miles was the assistant chief of staff, G-2. He did not assume the corps area command until February 1, 1942. Brigadier General Raymond E. Lee, military attaché in London, replaced him on that date.

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Holding ID: 2-440

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