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Memorandum for the Under Secretary of War [Patterson]
November 3, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
On Sunday I had luncheon with General Pershing and explained to him in detail the grave complications involved in the Senate amendment to the 18-19 year old legislation.1 I had with me the attached draft I had made of a proposed note from the General to the President.2
While the General was in a much more alert mental state than on my previous visit nevertheless I found, as I had anticipated and told you, that he was unwilling to commit himself in writing in a matter with which he was not entirely familiar, and he was not in condition to examine into the details. He told me that he did not think he should make any statement except in a matter of “critical importance.” I endeavored to explain that this was an extremely critical matter but I did not make the point and he expressed himself as unwilling to make the statement.
Since your telephone conversation of the other day regarding the Baruch bust I have gone into the matter with General McNair at the War College.3 He talked over the telephone to General De Witt who was Commandant at the War College at the time of the original proposal. It was De Witt who suggested the Army Industrial College—which as you state has no firm place of residence. De Witt’s view evidently was, and McNair’s is, that it would seem a bit odd to place a bust of Mr. Baruch along with busts of Mr. Root, General Pershing, Napoleon, and Frederick the Great. I admit this grouping gave me pause. General McNair is ready to accept the bust, but I should like to talk it over or have you talk it over with Mr. Stimson.4
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. There was considerable sentiment in Congress for requiring that the eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds inducted under the new draft bill be given one year’s training in the continental United States prior to being sent to combat theaters. Marshall had sent letters explaining the army’s opposition to such restrictions to Congressman James W. Wadsworth and Senator Robert R. Reynolds, and these letters had been read during the congressional debates. (Marshall’s letters to Wadsworth [October 17] and Reynolds [October 23] were written in the Personnel Division; they are printed in Congressional Record, 77th Cong., 2d sess., 88: 8270-71, 8582.) The House of Representatives defeated restrictive amendments, but despite Marshall’s letter, Senator W. Lee O’Daniel, Democrat from Texas, introduced such an amendment to the Senate bill on October 23 and the Senate passed the bill the following day. The differing House and Senate versions necessitated a conference committee, but its meeting had been postponed until after the November 3 elections.
2. Marshall’s draft letter for Pershing’s signature concluded: “In our last great war, I was forced by the requirements of the situation in the final struggle prior to the Armistice to commit partially-trained young men to the battle. I can, therefore, judge out of that experience what it means to send young men to war who have not received adequate training. But, I am also familiar with the intricacies of organizing a great Army and it is my opinion that this restriction imposes a fatal limitation on the War Department. It seems to me that it implies a lack of confidence in our leaders, an unwillingness to trust their judgment as to the necessities of the situation. I sincerely trust that such hampering legislation will not be enacted into law.” (Marshall draft, November 1, 1942, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
3. Patterson had told Marshall on October 30 that in the late 1930s a group of men who had served under Bernard Baruch when he was chairman of the War Industries Board in World War I had had a bust made of Baruch. They had offered it to the Army War College, but the gift had been refused. “The bust is in Baruch’s home,” Marshall told McNair, “and he is rather sensitive about it, according to Judge Patterson. Confidentially, Mr. Baruch is extremely sensitive in all of his reactions these days, much more so than heretofore, and he always has been sensitive. The Judge thought that Mr. Baruch would be greatly pleased if we now asked him to let us have the bust to be placed in the War College.” (Marshall Memorandum for General McNair, October 30, 1942, ibid.)
4. In 1947 Marshall told Dean Acheson that he had continually postponed the decision regarding Baruch’s bust. It was formally presented to the National War College on June 13, 1947. (Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department [New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1969], p. 216; New York Times, June 14, 1947, p. 5.)
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. 421-422.