1-237 To General John J. Pershing, October 30, 1925

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: October 30, 1925

To General John J. Pershing

October 30, 1925 Tientsin, China

Dear General:

Your letter of July 15th reached me after a long delay somewhere en route, probably here in China. I am very sorry to have seemed so dilatory in replying.

Your desires regarding Martin Egan and myself handling your Memoirs and Adamson and myself supervising the disposition of certain official papers and manuscripts, will be followed out by me to the letter. I am much gratified to feel that you have such confidence in my judgement and should these tasks ever fall to me I will give to them my best effort.1

It seems absurd to talk of such an eventuality, as I look to you to far outdistance Senator Warren in continuing physical activity and energy,2 provided you do not permit the Washington official social whirl to demand of your time to the exclusion of outdoor relaxation.

I have seen nothing in the papers recently about Arica affairs, so I suppose matters are moving along without undue violence.3 I certainly hope so.

Out here the pot boils over and appears to grow daily more involved. An American gun boat with Marines is due here today to reinforce our garrison for the defense of the Tientsin concessions and this possible port of entry. No one, official Pekin or elsewhere, knows just what the present situation is leading to. There are three military leaders now in the field and their possible alignment with or against each other is continuing to be a matter of conjecture. Fighting has started, south of this province, but reports are too conflicting to judge of results.4

Recently I spent a week in Pekin with Mrs. Marshall. We dined with the Minister & Mrs MacMurray and young Robert Bacon and his wife.5 The latter couple we dined with again the one night they were in Tientsin.

During dinner two evenings ago a telephone message from Doctor Heiser (Ex-Philippine Health official) arrived.6 I picked him up at the hotel and he spent the evening with us, boarding his boat for Shanghai at midnight. He is on a trip around the world, due to reach New York next June, and now en route for Manila. We had a very pleasant evening over recollections of Naushon Island days—particularly the boat race—, and he gave me news of Governor Forbes, Bowditch and many others.

My Chinese has progressed far beyond my knowledge of French or Spanish, and is very useful. It will be a great asset to me if real trouble develops out here.

Mrs. Marshall and Mrs. Coles are both well, and happy in enjoyment of China.

With affectionate regards, believe me always,

Faithfully yours,

G. C. Marshall, Jr.

My best to Quek.

Document Copy Text Source: John J. Pershing Papers, General Correspondence, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Document Format: Handwritten letter signed.

1. To Marshall and Egan, Pershing left “the completion and handling of my memoirs and the disposition of the funds, of course under the executor.” He directed that Marshall and Adamson “go through my files and destroy any worthless correspondence, preserving the rest to be turned over to Warren, and handling anything that might be considered worthy of publication.” (Pershing to Marshall, July 15, 1925, LC/J. J. Pershing Papers [General Correspondence.)

Martin Egan, a former war correspondent in the Philippine Insurrection and later editor of the Manila Times (1908-13), had been a civilian aide to Pershing in 1918. Since 1914, Egan had been a member of the staff of J. P. Morgan and Company of New York.

2. Senator Francis E. Warren, Pershing’s father-in-law, was eighty-one years old. In 1924 he had been reelected to the United States Senate seat from Wyoming he had held since 1890.

3. In mid-July, Pershing had sailed for South America to serve on the commission attempting to resolve a dispute festering since 1883 between Chile and Peru over ownership of the provinces of Tacna and Arica. Pershing’s mission failed, and he returned to the United States in late February, 1926.

4. Sun Ch’uan-fang, tuchun of Chekiang province and formerly an ally of Wu P’ei-fu, marched his troops into Shanghai on October 17 and began moving northward toward Shantung. Feng and Chang, meanwhile, maneuvered for position in Jehol and Chihli.

5. John Van A. MacMurray, an expert on Far Eastern affairs and formerly an assistant secretary of state, became United States minister to China on April 9, 1925. Robert L. Bacon, at this time a Republican congressman from the First District of New York and a Reserve colonel in The Field Artillery, was the son of Robert Bacon, former ambassador to France (1909-12) and member of General Pershing’s staff at Chaumont.

6. Victor G. Heiser had been chief quarantine officer and director of health in the Philippines, 1903-15. At this time he was a director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s International Health Board.

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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 281-283.

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