2-013 To General John J. Pershing, July 17, 1939

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: July 17, 1939

To General John J. Pershing

July 17, 1939 Washington, D.C.

Dear General:

I have been following your recent movements and condition through your letters to Adamson, which he has shown me. Also I have picked up a little data on you from the newspapers—your appearance at Marseilles for example.1

I am sorry you had such a gloomy, damp time in Paris, but apparently now you are enjoying fine weather and the surroundings are more stimulating.

I have been intensely busy of late, with accumulated business that occurred during my absence in Brazil, with the taking over of the new job, with the official duties and entertainments in connection with the visits of two Latin-Americans, General Monteiro of Brazil, and General Trujillo, of the Dominican Republic, and most pressing of all, the formal initiation of the Air Corps augmentation program and other matters pertaining to the Army included in that bill. We have been involved in settlements regarding contracts for almost $150,000,000 of construction and $120,000,000 for airplanes, including the matter of types, which is General Staff business, and the commencement of the actual business of recruiting, training, re-sorting or re-grouping personnel to meet the 32,000 men we are adding to the Air Corps and the Coast Artillery.2 Then, I have had to be before Congress several times of late, and am very much pleased as apparently we have gotten the Lieutenant General bill through Congress, which I think essential for the development of the four field armies along business lines, particularly as pertains to planning and genuine organizing and set-up of the National Guard phases of munition and defense measures. I got by the Senate Committee in a three minute hearing, they acting for adoption while I was present. The House kept me thirty minutes, but passed the bill the next day. It is No. 2 on the Senate Calendar now and no fight is anticipated. We are having quite a battle with the revitalization measure.

I have only had a chance to see Mrs. Marshall for a few days since my return from Brazil. She is at Fire Island. I flew up there Saturday noon and back this morning. Incidentally, ten miles off shore from Long Island I was with her at seven a.m. today, took an amphibian plane near the dock, and was here at my desk at 8:10 a.m., of course having gained an hour in difference of time. Also, on my flight down I saw R.O.T.C. training at Sandy Hook, three columns of R.O.T.C. and C.M.T.C. units moving across the Parade ground apparently for a march, at Dix, practically the same situation at Meade; I saw drilling on the parade ground of R.O.T.C. and C.M.T.C. at Hoyle, took a look at the Ordnance Depot near Philadelphia, got a glance at Holabird—all before I reached my desk at 8:10 this morning. I have flown up several times.

I move out to Myer August 1st, but Mrs. Marshall will not return to town until September. Molly spent part of last week with me but has gone back to the seashore. My sister arrived this afternoon from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to spend a week with me. I leave for Chanute Field, Illinois, Friday morning, inspect there that afternoon, and take the National Guard dinner for me in Chicago that night (Dawes, Robert Wood and some others you know will be there), lunch at the Arlington race course Saturday morning, and present a cup at the Arlington Classic that afternoon; I will have dinner with the Corps Area Commander at Sheridan Saturday night, and lunch with Dawes Sunday, leaving the air field near Evanston at two o’clock for Washington.3

The Brazilian trip was terrifically strenuous—I covered six states and generally was on the steady go from eight in the morning until one or two the next morning—flew something over 2,000 miles while there. They gave me a marvelous reception which built up after a few days to sometimes 50,000 to 75,000 people. I gave Monteiro a wonderful air trip entirely around the United States. He saw Langley Field, bombing; Fort Monroe, anti-aircraft; Barksdale Field with GHQ air group maneuvers; Randolph Field with students from there and Kelly; Fort Sam Houston and a review of our stream-lined division, Fort Bliss and the Cavalry Division, Grand Canyon, March Field and air group maneuvers, San Pedro and the Fleet, where he was received by the Admiral, Hollywood and Louis Mayer, where Norma Shearer was his dinner partner,4 Hamilton Field and more air maneuvers, a review of the troops at the Presidio and Exposition, a view from the air of the entire fleet as it came through the Golden Gate, a luncheon in Kansas City, the Mechanized Force at Knox, the Ford factory in Detroit, cadets at West Point, troops near Governors Island, the Exposition in New York. Here he had luncheon with the President, and returns from New York Wednesday to have an interview with the President, Sumner Welles and myself. He sails for home on the 21st.5

I have had to give dinners and attend dinners around here until I am sick of the business.

Mrs. Marshall has gained seven pounds since her violent attack of poison oak serum, and she only has two more to pick up before she is back to normal.6 Craig is automobiling about New England. I had a note from him this morning.

I am getting entirely too much publicity for my own good. It will start up resentment in the Army, I think. Hagood gave me an elaborate write-up in the Saturday Evening Post last week.

With my most affectionate regards, and the hope that you are not over doing,

Faithfully yours,

G. C. Marshall

P.S. We got Adamson on active duty July 1st.

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

Document Format: Typed letter signed.

1. Marshall had been instrumental in having George E. Adamson, Pershing’s personal secretary since before World War I, legally designated by Congress in March as “Military Secretary to the General of the Armies” with the rank of colonel and placed on the army active list. At this time Pershing was in France, where he normally spent his summers.

2. These issues are discussed in: (1) House Military Affairs Committee, Facilitating Procurement of Aircraft, report to accompany H. R. 7267, 76th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington: GPO, 1939); (2) House Appropriations Committee, Third Deficiency Appropriation Bill, Fiscal Year 1939, report to accompany H.R. 7462, 76th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington: GPO, 1939).

3. Molly P. Brown was Marshall’s stepdaughter, and Marie Singer was his sister. The Illinois National Guard dinner at the University Club of Chicago on July 21 had a guest list of one hundred men, including Sixth Corps Area Commander Major General Stanley H. Ford; former Vice President Charles G. Dawes; Sears, Roebuck and Company President Robert E. Wood and Chicago Daily Tribune publisher Robert R. McCormick. Julius Klein published a flattering story about Marshall’s visit in the August issue of the Illinois Guardsman (pp. 4-5).

4. The United States Fleet was commanded by Admiral Claude C. Bloch. Louis B. Mayer was in charge of production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios where Norma Shearer had been a popular star since 1926.

5. Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles coordinated most United States relations with Latin America. On July 20, Marshall dictated a farewell message to G

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