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To Colonel John F. Landis
November 20, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
Thanks for preparing and for sending me your thesis on the ROTC. I have had it gone over by the particular staff officers concerned with the ROTC here in the War Department, and have given it a careful reading myself. There is not a complete agreement with you in all your points, but there is in regard to many of them.
I am inclined to think that a great difficulty with the ROTC lies in the fact that certain units were authorized too quickly, that is before they had the necessary facilities, so that we have them on our hands and they have not the means for the proper functioning of the unit. That seems to be the case somewhat at the University of Indiana, and it is a very difficult one for the War Department to meet. The complication about all building problems lies in the fact that the precedent carries over into the National Guard, and a similar pressure is developed in connection with the Reserve Corps. You can see that if we become involved in a building problem that includes ROTC or National Guard, and maybe in the future certain facilities for the Reserve Corps, there will be practically no money left for the actual Army. Your own experience will indicate to you something of what is possible—witness the poverty stricken condition under which we operated at Benning for years and years.
I had a very pleasant conversation, entirely unexpected with Dr. Wells the other day, and also a gracious note from him following my visit to Indianapolis.1
With warm regards,
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. Herman B. Wells, the president of Indiana University, had written to express his appreciation at hearing Marshall’s address to the Reserve Officers’ Association of Indiana on October 28. “I mingled with the crowd for some time following the dinner and found approbation of your remarks quite general. It was amazing what a feeling of confidence you instilled in the audience. On all sides, there was general agreement that our national defense is in safe hands.” (Wells to Marshall, November 13, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)
Wells had invited Marshall to speak to the student body at Indiana University while he was in the Indianapolis area for the Indiana Reserve Officers’ Association meeting. “I am very intent on obtaining adequate R.O.T.C. armory facilities for our unit. At present we have none. Frankly, recent state appropriations to us have been so generous that I fear that it is going to be difficult to obtain additional amounts for construction. I can think of nothing that would stimulate interest in our R.O.T.C. more than your coming here and making a short convocation address, broadcast over a state-wide hook-up.” (Wells to Marshall, October 2, 1939, ibid.) Marshall declined the invitation due to previously scheduled engagements. (Marshall to Wells, October 4, 1939, ibid.)
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. 106-107.