1-556 To Colonel Morrison C. Stayer, February 11, 1939

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 11, 1939

To Colonel Morrison C. Stayer

February 11, [1939] Washington, D.C.

Dear Stayer:

Your long hand note came this morning and I will make immediate reply.

In the first place, I seem to be improving despite a violation of the doctors orders. I seemed to be feeling so much brisker and energetic for several weeks that I decided to drop the medecine and watch the effect for a short time. I had been having occasional skip beats, usually about one in thirty, or rather fumbled beats; sometimes as often as once in fifteen. But since I have gotten well started on walking rapidly both ways, down to the office and home at night, rain or shine, my pulse seems to have largely straightened out. I have noticed for some days that it goes steadily and strongly. Tonight it is a steady 69 while I am lazing around.

I had been walking home at night, but intentionally at a rather slow rate, but once I got started on walking down also, and feeling so sprightly, I began to hustle along as was my custom, with the apparent result that my pulse has steadied down. Maybe it comes about through loss of more weight. I am now down to 172 from that 182 of last September when you first examined me.

The work has been strenuous, with frequent hearings on the Hill, but it comes easy and the rush and pressure does not disturb me. As a matter of fact, the time I get restless, or nervuous, is when the desk is clear.

As to your affairs: Guy V. Henry was talking about you at lunch out at Myer yesterday, and praising you very highly; also little Patty, who voiced her praise rater accurately in her description of the Riley hospital. I dropped a discrete hint that some of these medical fellows here I thought were jealous of your success in administration and in handling people. I would have coached him direct in what he might say to General Craig had I been certain that he does not air such matters to Mrs. Henry.1

Then this morning Barney Legge came in for a moment and spoke of seeing you recently, and stating his hope that you would be surgeon general.2 I am afraid that what you need is a management of line officers rather than of medical fellows. The more I see of what is going on the more it become apparent to me that the deliberate recommendation or urging is destructive. The informal praise, by chance as it were, is what seems to do the trick, at least to the extent of giving one man the edge on others of approximately identical records. All straight pressure seems merely to irritate and stiffen resistance. . . .3

With warm regards,

Faithfully yours,

Document Copy Text Source: Morrison C. Stayer Papers, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Author-typed letter signed.

1. Major General Guy V. Henry (U.S.M.A., 1898) had commanded Fort Riley, Kansas, between July, 1934, and his retirement in January, 1939. Patricia V. Henry was his younger daughter.

2. Lieutenant Colonel Barnwell R. Legge (The Citadel, 1911) was an instructor at Fort Leavenworth’s Command and General Staff School at this time. He had been an officer in the First Division’s Twenty-sixth Infantry during the World War. During the 1929-30 and 1930-31 school years, he had been a member of the Infantry Board at Fort Benning.

3. One paragraph regarding some of the activities of various members of Marshall’s family has been omitted.

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. 696-697.

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