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To DeWitt Wallace1
September 20, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear Mr. Wallace:
The attached letter from General Palmer has been written more or less at my suggestion, therefore I feel it desirable to give you some background on General Palmer.
In the first place, he refers to the fact that Congressman Andrews furnished Mr. Palmer, of your staff, with his statement to The Select Committee on Post-War Military Policy, last April, on our past military policy. To make certain this reference is clear I enclose a copy of that statement.2
General Palmer has been the deepest student of the underlying facts and the fundamentals regarding our military policy in the past that we have had in the Army, or out of it so far as I know. Furthermore, he is a trained writer both in a minor fictional way—for McClure’s many years ago—and of historical studies. The last being the Life of Von Steuben.3
I think that whatever he prepares will be in thoroughly readable style, and I am quite certain that it will be worthy of public interest.
I had in mind, when I was talking to General Palmer, that he would prepare the article, submitting it for your consideration. However, he has chosen instead to merely discuss his preparation with you. I hope you will be favorably disposed.4
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. Wallace was editor of Reader’s Digest.
2. Walter G. Andrews was the ranking Republican on the twenty-three-man committee. Palmer testified on April 24, 1944, but he sat regularly with the committee as an adviser. Palmer’s role in postwar military planning in 1943 and 1944 is discussed in I. B. Holley, Jr., General John M. Palmer, Citizen Soldiers, and the Army of a Democracy (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982), pp. 636-65.
3. General von Steuben (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1937).
4. Reader’s Digest already had a writer working on the issue, and despite Marshall’s efforts, the magazine was unwilling to publish Palmer’s piece in addition to Thomas M. Johnson’s (which was published in December as “Military Essentials for Our Postwar Safety”). In October, Marshall wrote to Ben Hibbs, editor of the Saturday Evening Post, who accepted the article. Hibbs changed the title of the article from Palmer’s “An Army of the People” to “General Marshall Wants a Citizen Army,” asserting that “General Marshall’s name is, of course, magic so far as readership is concerned” and would “boost readership by from 25 to 50 per cent.” The essay was published in the December 23, 1944, issue. (Kenneth W. Payne to Marshall, September 22, 1944; Marshall to Wallace, October 4, 1944; Minnich Memorandum for General Marshall, October 21, 1944; Marshall to Hibbs, October 22, 1944; and Hibbs to Palmer, November 6, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 594-595.