4-164 To Colonel William T. Sexton, November 22, 1943

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 22, 1943

Subject: World War II

To Colonel William T. Sexton

November 22, 1943 [Cairo, Egypt]


My dear Sexton:

I am sending this by courier, who leaves tonight.

For your eyes only, I am giving superficial consideration to the possibility of continuing on around the world instead of returning by the Atlantic. Whether or not I take Handy with me I have not discussed with him, but I rather think I will not do this. Admiral Cooke may also make the same trip. I would not visit India other than to cut straight through to Ceylon, and I would move pretty rapidly through the Pacific Theater. I imagine, if I can make my start immediately after coming south from Teheran to Basra, that it will not add more than a week or ten days to my time of absence.1

I am giving the foregoing so that you can translate any radio from me stating that I am returning via the Pacific.

I wish you would send by return courier a nomination for General Patrick Hurley to be a temporary Major General—no publicity to be given this.2

Have the returning courier bring me a summer cap and my khaki kepi, also a waist belt—none were included in my baggage.

Please send by the courier reports of correspondence handled for me, with such additional notes of more important papers that you think would be of interest and that I might find a basis of some radio instruction to you.

Tell General McNarney I have been much concerned to read in two naval bulletins of prominent athletes turned down by Army medical officers or, as in the case of the catcher of one of the ball teams, placed on limited service because he had had a couple of broken fingers. I fear a serious scandal in this matter if this action was taken by Army doctors. It is ridiculous from my point of view to place on limited service a man who can catch with his broken fingers a fast ball. If he can’t handle a machine gun, I am no soldier. What I have in mind is to check up on these particular cases, having the Inspector General go into the matter with the doctors concerned, to see if we are guilty of a serious dereliction. If the rejections were carried out by local boards, that is another matter, but if an Army officer on active duty is a participant, then we are responsible, and I don’t want any damn nonsense about this thing. I have seen dozens of men with half a dozen serious complaints, in addition to their years, passed by their Army doctors—and now to find great athletes, football and baseball, exempted is not to be tolerated.

Tell Mrs. Marshall I am well and the weather has been fine and the scenery magnificent. I cannot say more for reasons of secrecy.

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. Concerning this trip, see editorial note #4-169, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [4: 199-200].

2. Hurley was then in Cairo, but the president intended to send him to Teheran to prepare for the conference to be held there with Stalin. (Foreign Relations, Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, pp. 377, 440.) Concerning Hurley’s previous activities as Roosevelt’s roving ambassador, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #3-498 [3: 531-32].

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. 190-191.

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