2-052 To General Malin Craig, September 19, 1939

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 19, 1939

To General Malin Craig

September 19, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]

Dear Craig:

Since Parks left for the War College,1 I do not follow your trail so well, but he did give me your San Francisco address.

Pa Watson was very anxious to locate you some time back—I gave all the details to Parks to handle—for the purpose of having you broadcast daily, I believe, for the Cincinnati Radio people. At about that time word came from you, I think from near the Grand Canyon, that you were being pursued by radio people and were saying nothing.

You know, I think you timed your affairs very beautifully, because you certainly left me on a hot spot. We are getting along fine, but the engine is never on idle speed. I find several great advantages in the offices being here in the Munitions Building. In the first place, you do business with the Staff with great convenience and celerity. I have the Assistant Chiefs of Staff in here frequently and it only costs them a minute or two to get here and we settle things in a hurry, and then they are back at work. Anyone else we happen to need can be brought in in a few minutes, and not notified until the need actually arises.

Then, there is the matter of lunch and relaxation. I go out to Myer for lunch; they telephone from here when I start and I walk right to the lunch table—on the glassed-in porch—from the car and then I have half an hour or more to relax in a more restful atmosphere than here at the office or at the Army and Navy Club. It only takes six minutes to go from here to the house, which is about three minutes less than required to go to the Army and Navy Club. Then, too, I find the change a very restful one, and return to work in much better spirits. Another thing, as it works out now, fifteen minutes after I leave the office I am in riding clothes and on a horse, and I have been getting in an hour’s riding practically every day. Of course, some days I do not get started until 5:30, but I try to leave here about 4:10. This riding has done me a world of good and I am able to keep things in focus and shed almost all worries.2

I reach the office about 7:30 and by 8:30 I have pretty well cleaned up on things. Miss Young is losing sleep by coming in early too. For a time Parks drove her down on his way to the office. I find that if I do not get in here before 8:30 I never catch up, and there is so much of original planning, as it were, to do.

We have made many more motions than have appeared in the press and I think we are really on our way to a sound development. The new organization for Infantry divisions was adopted three days ago, and with this first increase we are going up to five of these divisions, along with corps troops.3 We are headed to full peace strength of 280,000, and a total increase of 126,000 for the National Guard, with about double the number of pay drills and two rations a month—one for week-end shooting and one for week-end field training. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done regarding munitions which we lack which can be remedied quickly. Of course, we are after the money to place large orders.4

What do you think of General Pershing’s statement and of its reception by the public and the press? Before you condemn it, I had better tell you—and most confidentially—that I wrote it.5

With affectionate regards to both of you,

Faithfully yours,

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Major Floyd L. Parks had left his position in the Office of the Chief of Staff on August 16, 1939.

2. Lieutenant Colonel Terry de la M. Allen had selected two horses from Fort Riley, Kansas, for Marshall’s use. Marshall wrote to Allen: “I am delighted with the two animals. . . . It is very hard to get in any exercise here and I have to do it on the jump, riding after I leave the office in the evening, and at a most uncertain hour.” (Marshall to Allen, September 7, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

3. The War Department announced on September 16 that the Regular Army would be organized into the new “triangular” divisions which had been under consideration since 1935. The existing First, Second, and Third divisions would be reorganized as soon as possible, and two new divisions—the Fifth and Sixth—were to be created. The United States was the last major military power to adopt this kind of organization.

The World War “square” division typically contained over 20,000 troops in two brigades of two regiments each. The objective of the new organization was to create a less cumbersome command and to obtain a more controllable and a maneuverable unit. Several echelons of command were eliminated and better relations between combat branches were made possible. The new division would have a peace strength of approximately 8,953 (officer and enlisted) and a war strength of 11,903. Animal transportation was to be eliminated, thereby speeding the division’s movements, although the infantry still walked. Divisional firepower was increased, despite a reduction in the number of artillery pieces. (Lieutenant Colonel Harry C. Ingles, “The New Division,” Infantry Journal 46 [November-December 1939]: 521-29; “The New Division” [editorial], ibid., 584-85.)

4. The previous day, Marshall wrote to Lieutenant General Albert J. Bowley that “things are in a very uncertain state now and will continue so until Congress is assembled, public opinion has crystallized a bit, and the President makes some basic decisions. Confidentially, we are pressing to grow up to peace strength for the Regular Army and to a total increase of 126,000 enlisted men for the National Guard, and to secure large appropriations for deficiencies in munitions and certain non-critical items. It is impossible to tell from day to day just what action will be authorized.” (Marshall to Bowley, September 18, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

5. On September 13, 1939, his seventy-ninth birthday, General John J. Pershing issued a public statement praising President Roosevelt’s efforts to strengthen the nation’s armed preparedness. “I feel that this is especially necessary in the case of the Army, which had been reduced since 1921, so far as ground forces were concerned, to a mere skeleton of the peace establishment authorized by Congress in the National Defense Act of 1920.” The statement also urged Congress to provide funds for increasing the army to full peace strength. Pershing had made numerous stylistic changes in Marshall’s September 11 draft and added a concluding paragraph recalling the “deplorable situation” when the country entered the World War. “Then not a single move had been made, from a military point of view, to prepare for it. That experience, with its costly lesson, I am happy to say, appears certain to be avoided in the event that we should again become involved in war.” (“Views on World Crisis,” September 13,1939, LC/J. J. Pershing Papers [General Correspondence, Statements].) The Washington, D.C., Evening Star and the New York Sun praised Pershing’s statement. (Clippings from various newspapers are preserved in LC/J. J. Pershing Papers [Scrapbooks].)

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. 59-61.

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