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Memorandum for the Secretary of War
April 16, 1943 Washington, D.C.
Subject: Moral Rearmament.
Last week Senator Wadsworth1 asked me please to see Mr. H. Birchard Taylor, the Vice President of the Cramp Shipyards in charge of personnel matters. He wanted to talk to me about the Moral Rearmament movement in its relation to the workers in the Cramp Shipyards and the importance of giving it general support.
I saw Mr. Taylor who had with him Mr. Antony Geyelin, a former railroad official who was taking quite an active interest in the Moral Rearmament movement. The burden of their presentation was that the MR movement had been tremendously beneficial in improving the situation between workers and management in various parts of the country and specifically in the Cramp Shipyards. They felt it had reduced the turn-over materially and had favorably affected absenteeism and very favorably affected the efficiency with which the workers addressed themselves to their jobs. Specifically their request centered on the fact that 17 of their principal workers were now in the Army and therefore not available. They had a very small reserve whose members would probably soon be inducted. At the moment they were endeavoring to get together enough men to work in the Lockheed Plant in Los Angeles.
They submitted a list of those in the Army and I have attached it, with the names of the individuals, their ages, and their present assignment. A further fact was brought to my attention, which is shown on another list attached hereto, indicating that all but two of the men were born outside the United States.
I had a little familiarity with this movement and about a year ago met at Fort Myer a few of the workers, seyeral of whom are on the attached list. Their sincerity seemed evident but I only know of the effectiveness of their results from what I have been told by my recent visitors and from casual reports.
What is actually wanted by these people is to have the members now in the service furloughed in order that they may meet the Lockheed situation in particular and several others that are arising. As such a matter is entirely within your province I am merely passing on the statement of the case to you.2
G. C. Marshall
[P.S.] They have talked to Judge Patterson and to Gen. Hershey.3
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), 080, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.
1. Formerly a United States senator, Congressman James W. Wadsworth, Jr., was a Republican from New York.
2. This memorandum was referred to Under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson, who informed Secretary of War Stimson that he had talked with Mr. Taylor. Moral Rearmament leaders sought draft deferments for those civilians connected with the movement and discharge or furloughs for those individuals associated with the organization who were already serving in the armed forces. Patterson informed Stimson that his investigation had revealed that the movement had not “had any substantial effect in promoting war production.” He stated his firm opinion that these individuals should not be discharged, furloughed, or receive any draft deferment. “It is my feeling,” wrote Patterson, “that the Army should not discharge or furlough men for the purpose of boosting other men’s morale.” (Patterson Memorandum for the Secretary of War, April 20, 1943, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 080].)
Chief of Chaplains William R. Arnold wrote to Marshall on April 17 regarding the Moral Rearmament movement: “The patriotic purpose of the organization is, in my opinion, beyond question. The specific type of its religious content is a matter of acrid dispute.” (Arnold Memorandum for General George C. Marshall, April 17, 1943, ibid.) Deciding not to release the men, the secretary of war informed Senator Harry S. Truman in September that “the proposal was not feasible and that the War Department, for many compelling reasons, could not accede to the request.” (Stimson to Truman, September 16, 1943, ibid.)
3. General Marshall added this handwritten postscript. Major General Lewis B. Hershey was director of the Selective Service System.
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. 646-647.