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To Brigadier General John McA. Palmer
October 26, 1923 Washington, D.C.
My dear General John:
. . . As you have no doubt seen in the papers, General Pershing sailed for France last Saturday on the “Leviathan.”1 We got him off without anything getting into the papers until after the boat had left the dock. It was a pretty strenuous affair cleaning up business in the War Department without the knowledge of his purpose getting to more than two or three individuals. He took Mrs. Butler with him.2 She will return on November 20th and the General expects to remain from two to four months. He hopes to work on his book but has some doubts as to whether he will manage this as he really needs a period of complete relaxation and the south of France in the winter or even Paris afford delightful opportunities for this purpose. I don’t believe he autographed the photograph you desired before his departure, but it will be done as soon as he returns. I have just been working on his annual report as Chief of Staff, which he had no time to consider before his departure so has embarrassed me with the responsibility for what he is to say.
We have retired the faithful Ford in favor of an Oakland sedan, with the result that I now go home on the street car, Mrs. Marshall doing all the riding. She is quite delighted with this raise in the world, but will spend the remainder of the year counting pennies.
We intend to motor up to New York for the Army-Navy game as the General wishes me to act as host, in his absence, to the guests he has invited to sit in his box. I think we will run over to Atlantic City on our way back to see my mother.
Please write often and give me the benefit of your viewpoint as to duty with troops, and also what you and Mrs. Palmer are doing.3
With my love to you both,
Document Copy Text Source: John McA. Palmer Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Typed letter signed.
1. Omitted here are 120 words acknowledging receipt of an October 25 letter from Palmer (which was not found in the Palmer papers) and telling of changes of duty for several mutual friends. General Pershing’s trip to France was partly a vacation and partly in connection with his position as chairman of the newly created American Battle Monuments Commission.
2. Mary Elizabeth (“Bessie”) Pershing Butler was one of General Pershing’s sisters.
3. Palmer had recently been assigned to command the Infantry at Fort William D. Davis, Gatun, Canal Zone.
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 244-245.