1-490 To General Malin Craig, May 27, 1938

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 27, 1938

To General Malin Craig

May 27, 1938 Vancouver Barracks, Washington

Dear General:

I returned to the post last night after an absence since May 8th, involving the tactical inspection at Wright and Missoula, and maneuvers with the Division at Lewis. My orders caught me at Missoula, and I have just returned now to start on the re-adjustment of my affairs toward pulling up stakes here and moving to Washington. I had been planning to sail from San Francisco on June 18th on the St. Mihiel as ordered, but a letter this morning indicates a possibility that on the small St. Mihiel I will not even rate a bathroom, as General Tracy and General Humphrey seem to be scheduled for that trip.1 I have not talked to Mrs. Marshall yet, but I am loath to introduce her to her first transport trip on the basis of a little room in the tropics without a bath. Will you be very frank in telling me whether there will be any embarrassment in my applying for a month’s leave, to carry me over to the sailing of the Republic?2

I do not even know that I want to do this, but before attempting to reach a decision, I would wish to know that any delay on my arrival in Washington would not be an embarrassment to you.

Mrs. Marshall will undoubtedly spend the summer at Fire Island, off Long Island, where she has a cottage, and I rather expect to locate myself on a temporary basis until the fall.

My recent trip was very interesting, and I learned a great deal of practical value to me in my inspection of the small units of the 4th Infantry, as well as in handling the pathetic little 15th Infantry during maneuvers. There is such a vast difference between our war contemplations and technique, and these dwindling infantry units, that it requires more brain and more cleverness—and above all, common sense, to handle these little fellows than to maneuver or train the large organizations contemplated.

I had a letter from Stone in Panama asking me to be prepared to talk over defense plans with him. He assumes that I am going to WPD. I have heard something from the people in San Francisco regarding Alaska and the Aleutians, again on the assumption that I am going to WPD. I am not making any assumptions, but if there is anything I should familiarize myself with en route, I would appreciate your having the appropriate party in the War Department advise me accordingly.3

Looking forward with a great deal of genuine pleasure to seeing you and Mrs. Craig in Washington,

Faithfully yours,

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Vancouver Barracks, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Brigadier General Joseph P. Tracy (U.S.M.A., 1896) commanded the Ninth Coast Artillery District at the Presidio of San Francisco from January 1, 1937, to June 18, 1938. On leave beginning June 19 until his retirement on October 31, 1938, Tracy would be en route to his home in Washington, D C. Brigadier General Evan H. Humphrey (U.S.M.A., 1899), having left his station in the Philippine Islands on April 30, was en route to Brooklyn, New York, to assume command of the New York Port of Embarkation on July 6.

2. “There is no objection in the world to your taking leave enough to keep you from sailing on the San Mihiel,” Craig replied. “I would do the same thing if I were in your place." (Craig to Marshall, June 1, 1938, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Vancouver Barracks].)

3. Major General David L. Stone had commanded the Panama Canal Department since April, 1937. Craig replied that he still planned on Marshall being assigned to War Plans, but that he should relax, sightsee, and not be concerned with any official business while en route to Washington, D.C. (Ibid.)

Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 600-601.

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