2-328 To General John J. Pershing, December 29, 1940

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: December 29, 1940

To General John J. Pershing

December 29, 1940 White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Dear General:

Katherine and I have been here since the evening of the 26th enjoying a complete rest. Except for the constant temptation to eat too much, the place is perfect for our purpose. We have luxurious quarters, take the baths and massage, walk mile every day, and sleep long hours. We have met no one and so have no war talk and no requests for this or that. Bryden telephones me at noon to get my views or desires on the important points that have come up, and he does not call each day.1

Both the head waiter and the german who rubs me down spoke of your being here several months one winter, working on your book. That must have been in 1929-30.

I plan to fly back to work the morning of January 2d. Katherine will drive back. We came down on the train as the weather was too bad for flying and too disagreeable for motoring. She is getting a good rest, and she needed it after ten house guests and a wedding.2

I am curious to hear Mr. Roosevelts radio broadcast tonight. It is likely to be of great significance.3

I hope your rheumatism is better and that you are feeling well. You certainly looked well when I saw you Sunday. I will be out as soon as I get back to town.

With our affectionate regards,


G. C. M.

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

Document Format: Handwritten letter signed.

1. General and Mrs. Marshall were vacationing at the Greenbrier Hotel resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The chief of staff had written to Deputy Chief of Staff Brigadier General William Bryden: “I wish that you or [Orlando] Ward would telephone me of anything of importance that comes up. 12:30 would probably be the best time. I would like you to telephone me every other day in any event.” (Memorandum for General Bryden, December 26, 1940, NA/RG 165 [OCS, SGS].)

2. Molly P. Brown, Mrs. Marshall’s daughter, and Captain James J. Winn were married at the chief of staff’s quarters at Fort Myer on December 25, 1940. The couple left to live in Panama, where Captain Winn was stationed.

3. On December 29 President Roosevelt delivered his “arsenal of democracy” fireside chat in which he called for United States arms aid to “Britain and the other free nations which are resisting aggression.” (The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940 volume, ed. Samuel I. Rosenman [New York: Macmillan Company, 1941], p. 641.) “I make the direct statement to the American people that there is far less chance of the United States getting into war, if we do all we can now to support the nations defending themselves against attack by the Axis than if we acquiesce in their defeat, submit tamely to an Axis victory, and wait our turn to be the object of attack in another war later on. . . . The people of Europe who are defending themselves do not ask us to do their fighting. They ask us for the implements of war, the planes, the tanks, the guns, the freighters which will enable them to fight for their liberty and for our security. . . . We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply ourselves to our task with the same resolution, the same sense of urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would show were we at war.” (Ibid., pp. 640, 643.)

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. 374-375.

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