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To Clarence Francis
November 22, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear Mr. Francis:
Thank you for your note and the pleasant things you had to say regarding the Hot Springs meeting. I am much interested in the statistics you forwarded regarding universal military training.1
After my talk at Hot Springs and following conversations with a number of you people I felt that the point I had in mind had not been made clear. I was not trying to outline what sort of an organization we should have after the war, how large an Army, etc. What I was trying to do was to impress you people with the importance of following through the development of policies regarding our post-war military organization, otherwise we should either completely lack a respectable military posture or we should be financially bankrupt in maintaining what appeared to be an adequate Army and Navy. I meant by this that your discussion of taxes that morning did not involve a single reference to what would be the greatest headache of all regarding taxes, that is, the military program.
Therefore, whatever we do (and I am not undertaking at this time to say what we should do) we must approach the problem in the most businesslike manner possible and you as businessmen, with an inevitable heavy obligation in taxes, must display far more than a passing interest in the development of the post-war system. It is very much your business from the purely selfish point of view as well as from that of a citizen who is interested in the stability of his country in this troubled world.
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. Francis, chairman of the board of General Foods Corporation, wrote that the meeting of the Business Advisory Council at Hot Springs, Virginia, was “one of the high spots of my career.” In his letter he enclosed the results of a questionnaire sent by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to its members concerning universal military training. Of 2,394 who expressed an opinion, 90.8 percent favored such a system. (Francis to Marshall, November 21, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General]. For another letter on this theme as a result of this meeting, see Marshall to Wood, November 16, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-585 [4: 668-69].)
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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 674.