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To Brigadier General Duncan K. Major, Jr.1
January 8, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
I have just this moment read your highly informative letter of January 5th, and I am delighted to find that everything seems to be going so harmoniously and effectively on the West Coast.2
I would not attempt to evaluate the profit that will come from these maneuvers, because in one sense it is intangible, and in other ways it is very concrete. In every respect it is tremendously important, because I believe during these coming maneuvers, commencing with your maneuver, we are going to wash more theory, cumbersome practice and excessive mimeographing out of the Army than even the most optimistic could hope for.
I am in hopes that I can get away in time to see the landing, but at the present moment I am involved with very important hearings before Committees of Congress which are extremely critical in their possible effect. Confidentially, already an attack is building up against the cost of these maneuvers, largely due to an unfortunate statement in the Associated Press which caused the hoi-poloi and many people on the Hill to think that I am involving them in the expenditure of $26,000,000 for one concentration in the Southeast. This is going to be rough sledding for me before the Committees, but belief in the righteousness of the cause makes me rather indifferent to the attack. My only worry is to find the necessary diplomatic skill to secure what we need. All this is most confidential.
Thank you for writing in such detail.
P.S. I checked over your old quarters at Benning the other day. Now-a-days rank goes up on the hill near the golf course, and your quarters are in second priority.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Major was commander of the San Francisco Port of Embarkation.
2. The navy’s cooperation for the January 15 joint exercise had been secured, commercial shipping arranged, and labor problems resolved, Major reported. “The Navy was most cooperative and willing and I had a perfect understanding with them as to our respective jobs and the line of demarkation between them when I left.” The navy also arranged to train the army’s transport masters. “As this is the first time more than one Army transport has participated in such a joint exercise this training will be of great value to our transport masters.” Commercial vessels for the exercise were hard to obtain because of the short period of use and the labor instability on the West Coast. “My own guess is that we will never have any difficulty with the unions. My impression is that they don’t want to mix up with the Army.” (Major to Marshall, January 5, 1940, GCMRL/ G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General]. The politics of the maritime industry’s labor organizations received extensive coverage in the American press in 1939; for example, see the New York Times, November 4, 1939, p. 9, and November 6, 1939, p. 3.) On the problems associated with ports of embarkation, see Memorandum for General Gasser, March 26, 1940, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-144 [2: 178-80].
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 137-138.