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To Lieutenant General Charles E. Kilbourne
February 26, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
I have just read your note of February twenty-fourth regarding the bust. I have gotten hold of a copy of the Secretary of War’s reply to Captain Massie which I am attaching hereto. It is self-explanatory.
My trouble would be in finding time for the purpose. I am greatly honored by the desire to have a bust of me, but I must admit I am a little superstitious. I don’t like the sound of the word “bust”. However, if you will have Mr. Tregor give me some idea of the time requirements I can make an intelligent reply. Incidentally, I don’t know your Mr. Tracey.1
I find these long trips of mine very strenuous, not so much from the travel as from the strain imposed by the critical nature of the proceedings. Then when I return home I find such a large accumulation of business along with the usual daily continuation of business that it is almost impossible to find a moment to catch my breath. Since my return from Africa I have been trying to find three or four days in which to relax and arm myself for the hard days to come but as yet I have not been successful.
I hope Mrs. Kilbourne and you are both well and that things at VMI are not too badly torn by the war requirements. Incidentally, I have been reading with interest, articles in the Atlantic Monthly on the War Department’s attitude as to colleges, etc., and of course I receive a great many letters of protest from VMI alumni.2
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. Robert W. Massie, president of the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors, had written to Secretary Stimson to ask permission for sculptor Nison A. Tregor to make a bust of General Marshall for E. A. Tracey, president of the Majestic Radio Corporation, who wished to donate it to the institute. Marshall had written the reply for Stimson’s signature saying that War Department approval was not necessary. (Massie to Stimson, February 19, 1943, and Stimson to Massie, February 23, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Tracey presented the bust to V.M.I. in May 1943.
2. The nation’s nonfederal military colleges had not been granted special treatment for their students by the War Department and they were consequently harder hit by the draft and enlistments than most nonmilitary colleges. Kilbourne told Marshall that he had a standard reply to V.M.I. alumni who expressed their indignation regarding this to him: “The War Department is conducting a war and should not be interrupted by delegations of protesting Congressmen and others. V.M.I. had the choice of giving wholehearted support to the War Department or trying to continue on a peace-time basis, which, of course, would have required us to fill barracks with youngsters under 18 and form preparatory classes. We elected to support the War Department.” (Kilbourne to Marshall, March 1, 1943, 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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 565-566.