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To Austin V. McClain1
October 10, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Mr. McClain:
Replying to your letter of October 9th, I must be very frank and tell you that up to the present moment I have nothing prepared for my talk on October 14th at Washington and Jefferson College. I am in the same predicament regarding remarks for the National Guard meeting on Friday evening, and before the 600 industrialists in Washington on Thursday [Wednesday] evening, and at the moment I see no hope of preparing anything. So I am afraid you will have to take me just as I am without benefit of preparation. The fault is somewhat my own because of unwillingness to farm out such productions. I have been so extremely busy here in the War Department that I have not been able to attend to anything but the duties of the moment. I will simply have to do my best on Saturday.2
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. McClain was assistant to the president at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania. On Saturday, October 14, the college was bestowing the honorary degree of Doctor of Science upon Marshall, and he was to give a ten-minute address at dinner. McClain had written to ask Marshall to send a copy of his intended remarks. (McClain to Marshall, October 9, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. In the draft of his brief acceptance remarks, Marshall included the following observation: “I hope it will not be thought inappropriate to the occasion for me to express this thought, that what we have most to fear, at the moment, is the possible effect of superficial thinking and bellicose emotionalism, rather than the fear of militarism in this country. It seems to me that we might be compared at this hour to a very young giant in a position of tremendous power, possessing all those generous youthful qualities of virility, idealism and directness of purpose, untempered by the wisdom of the years.” (Draft address [marked “revamped orally”], October 14, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Speeches].)
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. 78-79.