4-315 To Harry S. Truman, March 23, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 23, 1944

Subject: World War II

To Harry S. Truman

March 23, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]

Dear Senator Truman,

I received your letter regarding General Lowe and of course shall drop the matter of his assignment to the War Department Separations Board.1 It was suggested because he appeared to be the only available general officer with suitable qualifications and background for service on the Board at this time.

The other question raised in your letter, as to why General Lowe was relieved from the Office Chief of Staff and detailed as a member of the General Staff and placed in the Civil Agencies Group, was simply an administrative matter. In our efforts to meet the manpower requirements everyone has been forced to rigid economies and my office is no exception—as a matter of fact it has more or less to be the model. I found that I was charged in the surveys, for convenience of administrative bookkeeping, with men on duty as far off as India and with all those scattered about Washington, on a wide variety of duties over which I had little or absolutely no control. The decision was then made that the Office Chief of Staff and General Staff list should be held to a rigid accuracy and the hundreds of other officers accounted for in some other manner, one more accurately related to their services. As the result of these instructions, General Lowe was placed in the Civil Agencies Group along with a large number of other officers.

A possible solution to your objection would be to reassign General Lowe to the General Staff, placing him back in the Legislative and Liaison Division and designating him as the Liaison officer with your Committee. While it is my personal opinion that the present arrangement is more suitable, if you prefer the alternative I shall have the necessary orders issued.2

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. Senator Truman replied to Marshall’s letter to Brigadier General Frank E. Lowe asking him to represent the Reserve officers’ interests on the Secretary of War’s Separations Board. (See Marshall to Lowe, March 16, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-297 [4: 350-51].) “I am constrained to declare him non-available at this time,” Truman responded. “You will recall that the present position of Executive to this Committee was established by reason of my conferences with you in the summer of 1942; that I made no suggestion as to personnel and that General Lowe was your selection. The Committee is wholly satisfied; General Lowe has had nineteen months experience; the volume of work is increasing, will in my opinion continue to increase, and I cannot approve transfers except they be for combat service assignment.” (Truman to Marshall, March 20, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

2. Truman replied that he was pleased and grateful that General Marshall would make no change in Lowe’s assignment. Concerning Lowe’s status in the War Department, Truman wrote that “your thought and position is clear to me and I have no desire to increase your present load by adding a relatively minor administrative matter. I have discussed the present set-up with General Lowe who points out that there is no change in the policy which permits him to see you when necessary and that is the important thing. He has recommended that no further action be taken and that is my decision.” (Truman to Marshall, April 19, 1944, ibid.) On July 25 Major General Charles D. Herron informed Marshall that the Bryden Board was still overloaded with Regulars and National Guard officers. (Herron to Marshall, July 25, 1944, ibid.)

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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 368-369.

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