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Memorandum for the Secretary of War
February 28, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Organization of Residents for Civilian Defense.
The organization of local residents for Civilian Defense as suggested, under legal and competent authority, has merit. War Department opinion in this respect is that such local groups if organized by State authorities should become part of the State guard organization for which there is congressional authority. This affiliation would carry with it legal rights and automatic recognition by the Federal Government. These local groups might be called “Local Defense Force—State Guard Reserve”, or a similar appropriate title.
War Department equipment or personnel, are not now available for this purpose nor is there any prospect that the materiel situation will materially change in the near future.1
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: Franklin D. Roosevelt Papers, President’s Secretary’s File, Supreme Court, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas had received a letter from an Oregon friend and retired army man who recommended that the military organize and supervise “irregular” troops for local defense. Douglas sent these observations to President Roosevelt, who forwarded them to the War Department. Secretary Stimson replied on March 2 and supported the comments in Marshall’s memorandum, which he enclosed. (Douglas to Roosevelt, February 18, 1942, and Stimson to Roosevelt, March 2, 1942, FDRL/F. D. Roosevelt Papers [PSF, Supreme Court].) The War Department’s role in civil defense and its attitude toward state guard forces is discussed in Conn, Engelman, and Fairchild, Guarding the United States and Its Outposts, pp. 70-79.
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 112-113.