2-010 To General Malin Craig, July 13, 1939

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: July 13, 1939

To General Malin Craig

July 13, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]

Dear Craig:

Your postal from Weatogue has been received, translated, and deeply appreciated.1 I like the look of that set of quarters, which shows unmistakable evidence that no quartermaster ever got within a block of it.

I have been coming to the office at 7:30, trying to catch up with business, which necessarily is pretty heavy these days. It goes on about as you will recall it and up to the present moment I have been able to retain my sense of humor. Gasser, poor devil, is bowed under a mass of work.2 I have rather walked out and left him flat in the role of master negotiator. I have given one dinner and gone to about seven of the Latin-American type, but I am almost through that business. I had tea on the south portico of the White House with the Dominicans the other day, Admiral Leahy and myself were the outsiders, about twelve people in all—very pleasant; the President poured.3

I went out to the house once for thirty minutes to give them Mrs. Marshall’s selection of papers from the samples I had taken to Fire Island. Tell Mrs. Craig I am having them look into one purchase for her beautifully arranged kitchen, to see if it is not too expensive. That is a dish-washer, which I think is a very practical thought on the part of the Acting Chief of Staff. (Miss Young evidently doesn’t think so judging from her expression).4

You are missed by everyone, as evidenced by daily comments. Up on the Hill, where I have been battling the Lieutenant General bill, your name is in every other sentence.5 I told you in the spring during one of your most depressed and irritated moments that what was worrying you was kitchen stuff; that so far as the Army, the public, and Congress were concerned you occupied a unique position in their appreciation and confidence. I think that statement is completely borne out by the situation today.

I received a note from Hagood yesterday morning, sent a nickel across the street, and have been apologizing to myself ever since. He writes me up in the Saturday Evening Post. While I was at the White House Tea, one of the Aides gave the President a new buffalo nickel and said General Hagood had sent it to him to buy this copy of the Saturday Evening Post. At the time I did not know that I was involved.6

The Secretary called me in the other day to be photographed with him and McNutt. I think I was a sort of anti-political prophylactic.7

Tell Genevieve I received her sweet note and appreciate her taking the time to write. I quote below one paragraph from the letter of the Manager of the Pocono Manor Inn, to whom I had written for rates. You may be interested, but the rates paralyzed me. I have destroyed the catalogue but preserved the letter.

“We are indeed honored to learn that General Malin Craig enjoyed his brief visit to Pocono Manor to the extent that he would favorably comment regarding same upon his return to Washington. My great regret is that the General must have been intentionally very quiet and in the background, because until your letter arrived, I had no knowledge of his presence here. Otherwise I assure you that my personal attention would have been devoted to his comfort and pleasure.”

My affectionate regards to you both.


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. General Craig’s postcard from Weatogue, Connecticut, is not in the Marshall papers. Craig’s handwriting was such that his staff frequently “translated” it word-by-word below his writing.

2. Brigadier General Lorenzo D. Gasser had been acting deputy chief of staff since July 1.

3. General Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, army chief of staff of the Dominican Republic and that country’s former president, was visiting the United States in order to discuss arms and security arrangements and to spur negotiations regarding customs revenues. (Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, 1939, 5 vols. [Washington: GPO, 1955-57], 5: 579-81; Army and Navy Journal, July 15, 1939, p. 1081.) Marshall gave a dinner for Trujillo on July 9. The White House tea took place on July 11.

4. Marshall was having the chief of staff’s Quarters No. 1 at Fort Myer, Virginia, remodeled. (See editorial note #2-016, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [2: 20-21].) Maude A. Young, Marshall’s personal secretary, had been secretary to the chiefs of staff since 1918.

5. Except for the chief of staff, the highest rank in the army at this time was that of major general. Officers of this rank commanded most service branches, the nine corps areas, and the three overseas departments. The four continental army headquarters were each headed by the senior corps area commander under that headquarters.

On July 11, Marshall testified before the House Committee on Military Affairs in support of H.R. 7093 which would promote the four army commanders to lieutenant general. This new rank would allow Marshall to select the most efficient officer, regardless of seniority, to command an army. In addition, as a lieutenant general was equal in rank to a vice admiral, of which there were several on duty, the army would gain a greater degree of rank and status parity with the navy. (GCMRL/ G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Testimonies].) The lieutenant generals bill was signed by the president on August 5.

6. Retired Major General Johnson Hagood had written a laudatory essay entitled “Soldier” for the Saturday Evening Post, July 15, 1939, pp. 25, 62-64.

7. Paul V. McNutt took office on July 13 as the first Federal Security Agency administrator. A lawyer, he was formerly a national commander of the American Legion (1928-29) and governor of Indiana (1933-37). At this time there was some talk of him as a Democratic candidate for president in 1940. (For example see New York Times, July 8, 1939, p. 2.)

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. 10-12.

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