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To Brigadier General John McA. Palmer
November 13, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
Orders were supposed to have issued today placing you on active duty. The understanding is, pursuant to our telephone conversation, that you have no obligations of office or office hours, that you are merely available to me for consultation in the matter of Army organization as pertaining to the citizen forces, and that you are immediately available as a consultant to the Executive Committee of the National Guard people, who have already requested your advice. I attach a copy of a letter I have addressed to the three National Guard officers of this committee who called on me the other day, which is self-explanatory.1
Now, most confidentially, I am sending you, in the form of a possible press release, an outline of future action by the War Department which intimately concerns the National Guard. Whether or not we follow this plan must be maintained for the present as a close secret, because if we announced something and then later the international situation prevented us from going through with it, we would be immediately charged with another breach of promise. I send you this in order that you can turn over in your mind the ideas presented so that at some later date I can call you up and arrange a conference on the subject. Meanwhile, if you feel disposed you can discuss the matter with Colonel Leitch in G-3 or General Twaddle of that section.2 Understand, I am not pressing you in any way for an immediate reply. Also please understand that this press release might not be used until after the New Year.
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. Marshall wrote to Brigadier General Charles H. Grahl and Major Generals George E. Leach and Ellard A. Walsh: “It occurred to me that in justice to General Palmer and as a valuable assistance to you gentlemen that it would be appropriate to place him on active duty. Accordingly I have taken this action today and I am notifying you as a member of the National Guard Executive Committee that he is at the disposal of that committee in an advisory capacity.” (Marshall to Grahl, November 13, 1941, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) For previous correspondence on the National Guard reorganization issue, see Marshall to Palmer, October 25, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-583 [2: 652-53].
2. Lieutenant Colonel William B. Leitch was a member of the Mobilization Branch of G-3.
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. 672-673.