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To Joan Bright
May 4, 1946 Nanking, China
My dear Joan:
Your letter of April 18th reached me in Nanking—where I arrived day before yesterday from Chungking in record time. I appreciated very much your writing and was greatly interested in the news you had to tell me.1 I have not yet seen General de Wiart. I probably will in a very few days and will thank him then for his services as a King’s Messenger.2
We transferred from Chungking to Nanking day before yesterday and we have gotten settled here in a very comfortable house.3 You have your troubles there and we certainly have them here as General de Wiart probably told you. I have not yet found an opportunity to relax. I think I have been busier here in China and during my four weeks in the United States than at any time during the war—which seems a rather remarkable statement, but I think an accurate one.
Mrs. Marshall returned with me which is a great help to me as it makes my moments here of possible relaxation very pleasant.
I was sorry not to be available at the phone when you called up Leesburg. Particularly sorry that I did not get to see you when you passed through Washington.
I spent part of a day with Frank in Hollywood en route from China and en route back to China, which was very pleasant. I had to see Frank Capra, the great moving picture director, who did the various films for me during the war, because I am again deep in the film business to facilitate my work here.
Frank McCarthy looks well and is delighted with his job. However, most confidentially, he had a terrible experience two weeks before my arrival. Leaving one of the principal hotels in Los Angeles after dinner one night he took a taxi and the doorman put a sailor and a civilian in the taxi with him—which is the custom. Frank was busy with his own thoughts and paid no attention to them, endeavoring to read the headlines in the paper by flashing streetlights. The taxi turned up a dark street, stopped and a door was opened by the sailor and the first Frank realized that anything was wrong, they propelled him out of the car almost on his face. Thinking he was dealing with a drunken sailor he reacted accordingly and as the sailor got out, Frank floored him, but a second later the civilian—a heavy-weight—landed on Frank from behind and knocked him out. They beat him up, blacked both his eyes, knocked out two front teeth, tore a tendon in his side, sat on his chest, and robbed him. He made a quick recovery and his morale appears to be undamaged.
Please give my warm regards to General Ismay, and with the same to you.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, China Mission, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia..
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Bright had written from her London office, to which she had just returned following five months away at a series of conferences in Bermuda and a visit to Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia. She commented on people she had met, her disapproval of Ralph Ingersoll’s Top Secret (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1946), and aspects of life in England. (Bright to Marshall, April 18, 1946, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [China Mission, General].)
2. Lieutenant General Adrian Carton de Wiart had been special British military representative in China since 1943; his job was to facilitate exchanges of views between China and Britain. De Wiart had delivered Bright’s letter to Marshall, who had him to dinner on May 6.
3. Regarding the shift of the Chinese government capital, Embassy Second Secretary John F. Melby noted: “With a great heave, the diplomatic corps was pulled out of Chungking yesterday [April 23] and dropped into the walled city of Nanking. . . . The remaining brass from Chungking, including Marshall, arrived over the airfield [on April 28], as did General de Gaulle. Fourteen layers of planes were stacked up in blinding weather to be talked in and down one at a time. As luck would have it, de Gaulle was high in the air and hence low on the list to land. This annoyed his self-appropriated sense of priority and he peremptorily and repeatedly demanded of the hapless lieutenant in the control tower that all others be sent away until he had landed. Finally, an exasperated Marshall broke in: `General de Gaulle, this is General Marshall. The lieutenant is in absolute command of this field. You will do exactly as he tells you. This is the last I want to hear from you.’ The ensuing silence was impressive.” (John F. Melby, The Mandate of Heaven: Record of a Civil War; China, 1945-49 [Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1968], pp. 113-14.)
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. 537-539.