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To General John H. Pershing
February 17, 1941 Washington, D.C.
Someone just handed me the attached clipping from a local paper regarding Eli Pershing. Recalling my questioning you about this man because of his continued pressure on me, and your replies and what you thought of him, I am sending you the clipping.1
I have not yet been able to have an appointment with Bishop Freeman, but I will do so as soon as practicable.2 The last week has been a little worse than any of the preceding, and I am now starting on a series of hearings on the Hill. I was before the Foreign Relations Committee not long ago and Thursday before the Deficiency Appropriation Committee on the $700,000,000 bill. I will be before the Senate Committee Wednesday, I think, for general questions on any subject, and I suppose most of it will relate to the Lease-loan bill. The latter part of the week I will be before the House Appropriations Committee on the big Appropriation bill. Then over to the Senate for the corresponding hearings.
We have had quite a time getting the organization going to correlate the various welfare activities in the communities adjacent to camps. This has been greatly complicated by pushes and pulls from within here in Washington, with a variety of purposes.3
I sometimes think that the ordinary job of Chief of Staff, even in these days, I could handle on a two-hour a day basis, but it is these other matters that are very time-consuming and exceedingly trying. If my sense of humor survives, I am all right.
I hope you are enjoying pleasant weather and are feeling better. Katherine is down with a bad case of Flu; it started in her throat, then went to her ears, then her teeth, then the sinus and then the top of her head. It can go no higher.
G. C. Marshall
Document Copy Text Source: John J. Pershing Papers, General Correspondence, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Typed letter signed.
1. Eli Pershing was a distant relative of the general’s and a captain in the Signal Corps Reserve.
2. Pershing had telegraphed the chief of staff that James E. Freeman, Protestant Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C., was “very anxious for service in some capacity. Preferably similar to that during the World War when he was given a roving commission by Secretary [of War Newton D.] Baker to visit all commands throughout the country as a sort of co-ordinator of religious work.” (Pershing to Marshall, Telegram, February 5, 1941, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Colonel William R. Arnold, chief of Chaplains, wanted all religious activity coordinated by corps area, army corps, and army chaplains. He thought, however, that Freeman could be used in community-army post relations. (William R. Arnold Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, February 10, 1941, GCMRL/ G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected]; see Marshall to Pershing, March 10, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-386 [2: 440-41].)
3. On the difficulties of army post relations with nearby communities and of organizing facilities for soldiers, see Marshall to Stimson, February 6, 1941, NA/RG 107 (SW Safe, Welfare and Recreational-Joint Army and Navy), and Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1947), pp. 379-80.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 425-426,