5-130 To Harry L. Hopkins, May 13, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 13, 1945

Subject: World War II

To Harry L. Hopkins

May 13, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]

Dear Harry:

I have just read your note of May 12th and appreciate your writing. I will treat the matter as most confidential.1

As a matter of fact I was not at all surprised to get your news. Political repercussions seemed to indicate such action and your state of health would make it advisable, because you have literally given of your physical strength during the past three years to a degree that has been, in my opinion, heroic and will never be appreciated except by your intimates.2

For myself, I wish to tell you this, that you personally have been of invaluable service to me in the discharge of my duties in this war. Time after time you have done for me things I was finding it exceedingly difficult to do for myself and always in matters of the gravest import. You have been utterly selfless as well as courageous and purely objective in your contribution to the war effort.3

I am very glad that you are actually to be released from further obligations except of your own personal choosing because I think you owe it to yourself and your family, and I might also say to your friends. Incidentally, if you would care to go down to the White Sulphur again before you are released from Federal service, I would be very glad to have the necessary arrangements made.4 I can’t give you a cottage because they have all been signed up for some time to meet the regurgitation of generals from Europe. But I can have you and Mrs. Hopkins given a normal Greenbrier Hotel room and you would have available the medical service of the hospital.

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. Presidential adviser Harry L. Hopkins had written to the chief of staff: “Personal and Confidential. My dear George: Before it is announced and in the hope that you will not have heard it from anyone else, I want you to know that I am leaving the government in the next few weeks.” (Hopkins to Marshall, May 12, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

2. Hopkins had conferred with President Truman at the White House in early May. “Asked about his future status,” reported the New York Times, “he replied that he was still Special Assistant to the President but advised that no inference should be drawn from that.” (New York Times, May 5, 1945, p. 16.)

3. “He rendered a service to his country which will never even vaguely be appreciated,” Marshall wrote to Hopkins’s widow on January 30, 1946. (See Marshall to Mrs. Harry L. Hopkins, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-340 [5: 434].) Writer Robert Sherwood reflected, “Despite all the differences between their characters and experience, Roosevelt and Hopkins were alike in one important way: they were thoroughly and gloriously unpompous. The predominant qualities in both were unconquerable confidence, courage and good humor.” (Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History [New York: Harper and Brothers, 1948], pp. 8-9.)

4. “Mrs. Hopkins told me recently that the time Mr. Hopkins spent at White Sulphur when you sent him down there a year or so ago had been most beneficial from every point of view,” Frank McCarthy reported to the chief of staff. “Particularly since he felt, in those surroundings, a complete detachment from anything official or annoying.” (McCarthy Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, May 12, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Hopkins had recuperated in early May to July 4, 1944, while staying at the U.S. Army’s Ashford General Hospital at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. See Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-235 [4: 275-76], and #4-390 [4: 460-61].

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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 184-185.

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