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To Admiral Harold H. Stark
August 24, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
I was distressed yesterday to learn that you had called up during my absence from the office and were on your way out of town to be gone for several months. Not distressed that you were going to have a rest in the country with Mrs. Stark, but that I had missed seeing you.1
From the press notices, I saw that they did you high honor before your departure from England, which is a small portion of what you deserve.2
I hope you are in sound health and can enjoy the relaxation from heavy responsibility. Confidentially, I submitted my request for relief to the President a week ago and asked him informally, in answer to his question, to let me out by the end of this month. I doubt that I get out this quickly but feel reasonably certain that I will be released before the end of September. Arnold is talking about going out but I think plans to remain in office until my successor is in the saddle.3
With affectionate regards to you both,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Stark, former commander of United States Navy Forces in Europe, had arrived in the United States on the Queen Mary (along with almost fifteen thousand troops of the Thirtieth Division) on August 21. (New York Times, August 22, 1945, p. 14.)
2. On August 13, Stark had been received by the king and queen at Buckingham Palace. His farewell dinner that evening was hosted by the lords of the British Admiralty in the famous painted hall of Greenwich Naval College. (Ibid., August 14, 1945, p. 14.)
3. Arnold and Marshall had discussed retirement during the Potsdam Conference. Arnold offered and Marshall accepted a five-dollar wager that Marshall would still be in office six months after Japan capitulated. Arnold also met with Eisenhower, whom he presumed would be the next army chief of staff, and agreed that Carl Spaatz would succeed Arnold as head of the U.S. Army Air Forces. (Arnold, Global Mission, pp. 586-87.)
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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 287-288.