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Memorandum for the Secretary of War
September 17,1940 [Washington D.C.]
Subject: Arlington Cantonment and Arlington Experimental Farm.
With the personal approval of the President the War Department recently increased the garrisons of regular troops at the Arlington Cantonment and Fort Myer, concentrating two regiments which had heretofore been widely separated—the 12th Infantry and the 3d Cavalry. This action was taken because of the importance of having a strong garrison of regular troops permanently located near the federal area of the national Capital.
The President also approved the transfer of Arlington Farm from the Department of Agriculture to the War Department in order to provide additional space required by this increase. The Budget Bureau approved $3,200,000 for the Department of Agriculture to purchase a site in lieu of Arlington Farm, and $4,000,000 for the War Department to construct the necessary buildings and installations on the Arlington Farm site.1
The Senate recently passed the necessary legislation to make this action effective. In the House, the bill (S. 4107) was referred to the Committee on Agriculture. It has been placed on the Union and Consent Calendars, but may die a natural death unless a determined effort is made to process it through the House.
Since the importance of this project is greater now than at the time the bill was introduced, and since the President has been personally interested in this matter, I recommend that action be taken through the White House urging the Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture to expedite passage of this legislation before Congress adjourns.2
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. The United States Experimental Farm was at the southwestern end of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Since early 1939, the army had sought to establish a permanent Infantry garrison near the Virginia end of the bridge, “within quick reach by motor or marching of Capitol Hill.” (Malin Craig Memorandum for the Secretary of War, March 16, 1939, NA/ RG 165 [OCS, 21050]. In this file are also several memorandums on this subject written by then Deputy Chief of Staff Marshall.)
2. The Senate bill divided the farm between the Interior and War departments. On September 30, the House amended the bill to give the entire area to the army and to increase the construction funds to $5,000,000. With certain modifications, the Senate agreed to these amendments, and the revised bill was signed by the president on November 29.
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. 312-313.