4-511 To Colonel Ralph D. Mershon, September 16, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 16, 1944

Subject: World War II

To Colonel Ralph D. Mershon

September 16, 1944 [Quebec, Canada]

Dear Mershon:

I have your letter of September ninth and I appreciate your generous comments. I am enclosing several copies of the directive you requested pertaining to planning for the post-war Army.1

As to your further generous offer of $10,000 to the Civilian Military Education Fund, I am not prepared at the moment to advise you, but I will look into the matter very carefully, correspond with Gignilliat and write you later.2

While I was in Miami Beach incognito last January I tried to get in touch with you on Tiger Tail road, but the operators would not let me through on your phone. I left a message for you but got no response to that, so I missed seeing you, much to my regret.3

I hope you are feeling well and in good spirits,

Faithfully yours,

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. Mershon, a longtime supporter of efforts to improve civil-military relations and reserve officer training (see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-316 [1: 386-87]), had written to praise Marshall’s August 25 statement of principles which sought to make a case for a postwar military establishment composed of a small professional force supplemented by the military training of “every able-bodied young American.” (Mershon to Marshall, September 9, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected]; War Department Circular No. 347, August 25, 1944.) This statement was praised by members of Congress and various newspapers. (New York Times, September 2 [p. 1], 3 [p. 16], and 6 [p. 18], 1944.) Actually the statement was largely the work of Marshall’s friend, John McAuley Palmer. (See Marshall Memorandum for the President, June 21, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-023 [4: 23-24].) Writing to Marshall concerning the August 25 statement, Palmer said that he was pleased that the country was calling it the “Marshall Plan” and that he hoped to write some magazine articles supporting it. (Palmer to Marshall, September 14, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

2. Mershon had asked Marshall if he thought his proposed donation was necessary or desirable. Marshall had been a member of the fund’s board during the mid-1930s. Brigadier General Leigh R. Gignilliat was a longtime member of the fund’s board. Marshall later said that he thought Mershon’s contribution would be desirable to help the fund maintain a reserve against the later necessary “earnest efforts” to achieve universal military training. (Marshall to Mershon, September 23, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

3. On Marshall’s Florida trip, see Marshall to Spaatz, January 18, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-202 [4: 237].

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), pp. 586-587.

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