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To General John J. Pershing
December 10, 1941 Washington, D.C.
General Watson1 tells me the President is very much touched by your offer of services, and has written you his acknowledgment, releasing both your letter and his letter to the press this afternoon.2
The President has asked me to take up with you the possibility of your being designated to head all matters pertaining to casualties. He thought it would have a very beneficial effect on parents to feel that you were personally giving direction to these matters. Of course he realizes that we must not impose heavy duties on you; however I thought that if you would authorize the use of your name, the machinery of the War Department could function without pressure on you. It would be understood that your ideas would largely govern.
I am dictating this very hastily in order that you could get it this afternoon, and I would appreciate your telling me over the ‘phone tomorrow your reaction to the proposition.3
A copy of this letter is being sent to Colonel Adamson.4
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. Major General Edwin M. Watson was the president’s military aide and secretary.
2. Pershing wrote to express “supreme confidence” in President Roosevelt’s “calm and determined leadership”; he offered his services “in any way. . . to the last ounce.” Both letters are printed in New York Times, December 11, 1941, p. 4.
3. Pershing declined to serve in this capacity. Marshall told Secretary Stimson that Pershing “seemed to feel that it was not of special importance and I think his desire was to have the President say that he would utilize the General’s services as military advisor.” (Marshall Memorandum for the Secretary of War, December 11, 1941, FDRL/F. D. Roosevelt Papers [OF, 31271.)
4. Colonel George E. Adamson was Pershing’s military secretary.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 12-13.