5-563 To Frank McCarthy, September 30, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 30, 1946

Subject: China

To Frank McCarthy

September 30, 1946 Nanking, China

Dear Frank:

I saw your last letter to Hickey and appreciated your generous references to me.1 I also saw your reply to _____ who is doing an autobiography of me.2 Your hesitance about writing to me is quite unnecessary as I would be delighted to hear from you and of you, and Mrs. Marshall would also. I am not so closely engaged now as I was in Washington or earlier out here, so you need not fear that you are bothering me.3

Katherine spent the summer in the mountains at the summer capitol, Kuling—3500 feet above the Yangtze river valley and 250 miles up the river from Nanking. They gave her a lovely and commodeous stone bungalow with a couple of acres of grounds and five old and large trees—a rarety in China. Staffed it with servants for her, provided sedan chair and 6 chair coolies and the same for me with 8 bearers.

I, of course, could only be there from time to time.  I made 9 trips between the torrid heat of Nanking and Kuling and it is something of a trip—2 hours by plane, 3/4 hours by gun boat down the river and across, 1/2 hour by car and 2 hours by chair up the mountain by a circuitous and fantastic path with frequent stretches of stone steps, one of 937 at about a 40º angle.  Down the mountain only required one hour but was rather exciting with running coolies and precipitous steps and sheer drops of hundreds of feet at one’s elbow.

Katherine remained at Kuling from mid July until ten days ago.  Then she flew straight in to Shanghai with Madame Chiang and was there 5 days shopping and lunching and dining with Madame’s relations.  She is back in Nanking now and the weather is fallish and delightful.

Sally looks after my affairs at home and does a good job of it.  A Colonel Carter is my go-between for the State, War, Navy, Commerce Treasury departments, the President, the Surplus property and Maratime people and the Import-Export bank.  He has presidential authority to deal direct with all concerned in my name or the President’s, and does a remarkable job of correlating an international problem of vast complexity and many requirements.  He should be Executive Secretary of the State Department, its what they need.

I was glad to learn that Capra’s boy got the stamps.  If he could have just seen the delegation he would have attached more importance to those particular stamps.4  They brought Mrs. Marshall an elaborate star like decoration.  Just what it is I do not know.  Madame Chiang got one like it.  They also gave K. some fine fur skins which will have to [be] died and treated, but are probably of fine quality coming from a region of such extreme cold.

I have gotten along well in health—feel well and am told I look very well, but those about me seem to have a hard time.  I had to send Byroade home.  He had gotten much run down and was off sick for three months.  His replacement with me since last January, Caughey, is off now recuperating from a siege of flu and ear trouble.  Hickey has only had one cold.  He is a splendid fellow.  I had him jumped from warrant officer to first lieutenant and I am now initialing an effort to make him a captain.  He wishes to finish his college course and I have promised him a release in time for the semester commencing in January.  If you people need a very top grade man you should snap him up without delay.  Possibly you might take him on a half day, say 8 to 1 o’clock basis until he finishes his college course.  You would be the gainers, for he is unusual in general allaround efficiency, integrity, morals, religion, athletics and social contacts.  All like him.  He has been virtually my aide, yet does all the office chief clerk job and the stenographic work of our conferences.

Katherine joins me in affectionate regards and all of our best wishes for you.  The Generalissimo is giving her a birthday party on October 8th which evidently will be quite an occasion.  He is her devoted admirer—a new role for him and she has taught him to play Chinese checkers and croquet—the first diversions he appears ever to have undertaken.

Remember me to Byron Price very especially and to Eric Johnson.5  Give my best to Capra.


G. C. M.


Document Copy Text Source:  Frank McCarthy Papers, Correspondence 1946–1949, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format:  Handwritten letter signed.


1. McCarthy had written to Richard Hickey, who had worked in the Office of the Chief of Staff during the war, that “there could be no finer training for men of our generation than to see him [Marshall] in action and to learn at firsthand that nothing can beat the combination of intelligence, integrity and appreciation.” (McCarthy to Hickey, August 29, 1946, GCMRL/F. McCarthy Papers [Correspondence 1946–1949].)


2. Sally Chamberlin passed on to Marshall Frank McCarthy’s comment to her:  “Bill Frye worked on a Marshall book from time to time during the war, and I had a terrible time keeping him from publishing it. (See Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-350 [4:  408–9].)  Now the thing comes up again.  I don’t want to cooperate in any event, and certainly not unless General Marshall approves of the project.”  Frye’s manuscript was due to be finished in November, and he asked McCarthy to assist him in getting access to certain documents and allow himself to be interviewed. (McCarthy to Chamberlin, September 3, 1946; Chamberlin to Marshall, September 11, 1946; and Frye to McCarthy, August 30, 1946, GCMRL/F. McCarthy Papers [Correspondence 1946–1949].)


3. McCarthy had told Hickey:  “I have purposefully refrained from writing the General and Mrs. Marshall because both of them are so conscientious about replying and because I would not wish to add anything to their burden.” (McCarthy to Hickey, August 29, 1946, ibid.)


4. In May McCarthy had asked Hickey to acquire, for Frank Capra’s twelve-year-old son, some Chinese postage stamps and “a few incoming envelopes addressed to General Marshall” with Chinese stamps.  Hickey replied with some stamps and “a few envelopes and some Tibetan postage stamps brought to General Marshall by the Tibetan Good-will Mission.” (McCarthy to Hickey, May 6, 1946, and Hickey to McCarthy, July 27, 1946, ibid.)


5. Price and Johnson were vice president and president, respectively, of the Motion Picture Association of America, McCarthy’s employer.


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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945–January 7, 1947  (Baltimore and London:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 696–698.




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