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2-358 To Lieutenant General Daniel Van Voorhis, January 31, 1941

   
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press



To Lieutenant General Daniel Van Voorhis

January 31, 1941 Washington, D.C.

Confidential

Dear Van Voorhis:

I have just this moment read your letter of January 29th regarding Quartermaster Construction Corps in general, and Danielson in particular. Also the comments regarding Edgerton and Stayer.1

To take the last mentioned first, I am not very sympathetic toward it, particularly regarding Edgerton. I think it a small-minded business, although very human, to criticize the elevation of the Governor of the Canal Zone, in these critical times, to the same rank as that held by his predecessor. Also in the face of the labor problems involved down there, and the general situation, I do not find much use for the criticisms in Stayer’s case.

The reaction to the reorganization of the Construction Division up here, and your feeling regarding Danielson, is fully comprehended, and I wish to give you this confidential information. I have had a list of promotions in to the President since December 15th, most of the men urgently needed for actual commands. Some were so urgent, as in the case of Corregidor, that we have had to hold the colonel selected for that command in Manila, since his arrival six weeks ago, because several senior colonels of the Coast Artillery are on duty in Corregidor. We have had divisions here in heavy training with only one general officer in the division.

Our trouble in securing the nominations has been the President’s reluctance to make so many general officers for the Army, and it has been a very difficult business to bring it to final approval two days ago, with a much reduced list. Originally, I had Danielson on to be a brigadier general to offset exactly the reaction you talk about. We have had to forego that, as well as the promotion of seven Corps Area Commanders to major generals, the customary rank for those positions, whose responsibilities have increased a dozen-fold since the days when a major general commanded the Corps Areas.

I intend, at the first possible moment, to secure the promotion for Danielson, but the latter part of your sentence recommending this puzzles me a little bit. You write “. . . at least to the temporary grade of brigadier general.” The next time you write let me know what you mean by “at least.” Possibly you refer to placing him at the head of the Construction Branch.

I might tell you that I have had a terrible time with this construction business. It has caused me more headaches than anything else connected with the expansion program.

There is no objection to your telling Danielson, most confidentially, that I am trying to get him promoted.

Your P. S. in regard to the confidential matter of ship guards is noted and your action appreciated.2 A further radio on this subject went to you two days ago.

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. In early 1941, in a series of orders, the War Department reorganized the Office of the Quartermaster General, separating administrative from planning and control functions. The reorganization of the construction function began in 1940 when Congress assigned Air Corps projects to the Corps of Engineers. In late 1941, War Department and congressional concern for excessive construction costs, because of waste and duplication of effort, led to legislation granting construction functions to the Engineers. (Erna Risch, The Quartermaster Corps: Organization, Supply, and Services, 2 volumes in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1953-55], 1: 11-17. See Memorandum for the Secretary of War, April 1, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-411 [2: 463-64].)

In his January 29 letter, Van Voorhis complained that the reorganization of construction depressed the morale of his Quartermaster Corps personnel. He already believed that most of these men did “not measure up,” but he thought there were a few capable men under his command. He considered Colonel Wilmont A. Danielson to be the most efficient and submitted his name for promotion “at least to the temporary grade of Brigadier General, if consistent with law.” Both Glen E. Edgerton, governor of the Panama Canal Zone, and Morrison C. Stayer, the zone’s chief health officer, had been promoted to brigadier general on October 1, 1940. Van Voorhis observed that this did not help morale among his Quartermaster Corps officers. (Van Voorhis to Marshall, January 29, 1941,GCMRL/G.C.Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

2. See Marshall to Van Voorhis, January 24, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-351 [2: 396-98].

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 404-405.

 

#2-359

To Leonard K. Nicholson1

February 3, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]

Dear Nick:

I have just this moment received your note of January 30th, with the original of the Cartoon on me. I appreciate very much your letting me have it.2

These are pretty strenuous days. I can only wish that I could sit on the radiator again and cogitate on what was wrong with the administration of the Cadet Corps, and what the three of us might do and should we get something to eat.3

Buster Peyton is now a Corps Commander with headquarters at Columbia, South Carolina. He has under him three divisions and a number of special troops—about forty or fifty thousand men.4

With thanks and affectionate regards,

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. Nicholson, publisher of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, had been Marshall’s roommate all four years at the Virginia Military Institute.

2. This cartoon is on the following page.

3. Marshall comments on this use of the heating system in the V.M.I. cadets’ rooms in his letter to Cadet Walter S. Grant, Jr., January 6, 1930, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-283 [1: 349].

4. Philip B. Peyton, also a roommate at the Virginia Military Institute, was promoted to major general on October 1, 1940, and was commanding general of the First Army Corps.

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 405.

{Cartoon “Doctor vs. Quacks”, p. 406}

#2-360

Memorandum for the Secretary of War

February 4, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]

Subject: Army Chaplains.

With the tremendous influx of young men into the military forces, to pass the million mark in March, the pressure on the War Department regarding the welfare of these men is steadily growing in intensity. Religious organizations, the W.C.T.U. [Woman’s Christian Temperance Union] and kindred interests are increasingly urgent in their requests for reassurance and in their proposals for War Department action.

Under these conditions it is not believed that the present situation in the Corps of Chaplains is in the best interests of the service, particularly from the viewpoint of the public reaction. Under existing law, the Army is required to have one dentist in the grade of general officer. The law permits the appointment of a veterinarian in the grade of general officer. At the same time the Chief of Chaplains is a colonel. Whether or not chaplains should have military rank seems rather beside the point in the present situation. The law gives such rank, and it does not appear to be the proper moment to attempt a change in the law.

In my opinion, the Chief of Chaplains should be given rank on a parity with the chiefs of other branches and services of the Army. While the Chief of Chaplains does not head a fighting service, neither does the Judge Advocate General. Furthermore, chaplains are required, in the British Army for example, to go forward with their men in the attack formations.1

Under these circumstances, it is recommended that the present Chief of Chaplains, Colonel William R. Arnold, be nominated for promotion to the grade of major general.2

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), 16379-54, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. The issue of promoting the chief of Chaplains to brigadier general had been raised in late September 1940 when the first large group of general-officer promotions had been proposed. (See Marshall to De Witt, September 25, 1940, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-269 [2: 316-17].) At that time, Secretary of War Stimson had “reluctantly yielded” to Marshall’s including Colonel Arnold on the list to be sent to the president for approval. Roosevelt, however, instructed Stimson to delete Arnold’s name. (September 25 and 26, 1940, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 30: 192, 197].)

2. The following is written on the bottom of the file copy of this document: “Pencil note on original: `Sec. of War would not approve. GCM.’”

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 406-407.

 

#2-361

Memorandum for the Secretary of War

February 6, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]

Mr. Secretary

Mr. McNutt saw the President regarding morale questions in civil communities near army camps. The President was unaware that there was such a problem!1 He directed McNutt to see me and get an agreement as to the army’s role and Mr. McNutts responsibility. McNutt saw me at noon and wants me and Mr Osborn to see the President, with him, tomorrow.

I have seen Mr. Osborn and Colonel Draper, (Dillon, Read & Co.) who is working with your advisory committee.2 They are seeing McNutt this afternoon and then will draw up a memo for me to McNutt. I will take the last up with you tomorrow A.M. before any further action is taken.3

G. C. Marshall

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Office of the Secretary of War (RG 107), Secretary of War Safe, Welfare and Recreational-Joint Army and Navy, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Handwritten memorandum signed.

1. For a recent example of this kind of problem, see Marshall’s radio message to Commanding General, Camp Beauregard, January 21, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-348 [2: 395]. Secretary Stimson also reacted with surprise that the president was just discovering that there was “a real big problem.” (February 7, 1941, Yale/ H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 33: 15].)

2. Frederick Osborn and William H. Draper, Jr., were New York businessmen acting as special assistants to Secretary Stimson. Both had served since October 1940 on the President’s Advisory Committee on Selective Service, and both were now on the War Department Committee on Education, Recreation, and Community Service. On July 22, 1940, the War Department’s Morale Division was created as part of the Office of The Adjutant General. This organization was redesignated as the Morale Branch and placed under the chief of staff’s direct supervision on March 14, 1941. Marshall discusses the reasons for this change in his letter to Hugh A. Drum, May 14, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-450 [2: 501-2].

3. Marshall and Osborn proposed that Charles P. Taft, younger son of the late President William Howard Taft, be appointed to coordinate the morale activities of the War Department, the Federal Security Agency, and various private organizations. (February 7, 1941, Yale/ H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 33: 15].)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 407-408.

 

#2-362

Memorandum for General Arnold

February 6, 1947 [Washington, D.C.]

Mr. Rockefeller called to see me regarding my letter to him of February 1st, of which a copy was sent to you. He was much pleased with the letter.1

He proposes the creation of a board of four individuals, one from the Army, with a working secretary, who will prepare the data to the propositions for the board to consider. The secretary to be, in effect, an off-shoot of the Civil Aeronautics Board in order that he might have the advantage of their office set-up. Mr. Rockefeller is very anxious that I should be on the board. I gave a tentative agreement, with the understanding that I have an alternate. Frankly he wants me on the board because of its relation to release of airplanes for use in South America. I explained exactly what our situation was in regard to this.

I do not want to involve you or Brett in this because you are very busy, but it occurred to me that the most practicable method would be for me to have as an alternate, —somebody like Griffiss, who is in close touch with you and otherwise with the Air Service.2

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. Nelson A. Rockefeller was the president’s coordinator of commercial and cultural relations with the American Republics. He supported the expansion of the Civil Aeronautics Board’s authority so that it could direct an effective program to supplant Axis-controlled airlines by United States or locally owned airlines operating in Latin America. Arnold, the author of Marshall’s February 1 letter, endorsed Rockefeller’s proposal. Arnold believed that German-controlled airlines provided that nation with a means for spreading propaganda, for communication with agents and fifth column movements, and for familiarizing German soldiers with Latin America. These airlines could provide bases for an invasion and, therefore, were a threat to United States security. He also agreed that the Civil Aeronautics Board was the proper institution to undertake this proposal. He supported the creation of a committee consisting of Rockefeller and representatives of that board and of the State and War departments. (Conn and Fairchild, Framework of Hemisphere Defense, p. 243; Marshall to Rockefeller, February 1, 1941, NA/RG 165 [OCS, 9136-61].)

2. Major General George H. Brett had been the acting chief of the Air Corps since October 1940. Major General Henry H. Arnold, who retained the title of chief of the Air Corps, assumed the duties of deputy chief of staff for air in October 1940. On this situation, see Memorandum for the Secretary of War, May 16, 1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-456 [2: 508-10]. Major Townsend Griffiss (U.S.M.A., 1922) served in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps as an aide to the secretary of war.

Rockefeller’s proposal was not approved. Instead, the Defense Supplies Corporation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation instituted the American Republics Aviation Division to provide funds, skilled technicians, and aircraft to United States and locally owned airlines operating in Latin America. (Conn and Fairchild, Framework of Hemisphere Defense, p. 244.)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 408-409.

 

#2-363

Editorial Note on Far Eastern Strategy

January-February 1941

ON January 29, 1941, a series of fourteen United States-British Staff Conversations began in Washington, D.C. Major General Stanley D. Embick, Brigadier Generals Leonard T. Gerow and Sherman Miles, and Colonel Joseph T. McNarney represented the United States Army. For two months the staffs discussed the respective military positions of the United States and Great Britain and the division of strategic responsibility and possible operations in the event that America entered the war. The British representatives based their strategy upon three assumptions: first, that the European theater was the decisive one; second, that Germany and Italy should be defeated before Japan; and third, that the Far East was essential to the preservation of the British Empire, and that protection of Singapore was of special importance to Far East strategy. At the sixth meeting, on February 10, the British proposed again the idea Prime Minister Winston Churchill had raised in May and October of 1940; namely, that the United States should send a naval task force to help defend the British base at Singapore. The American representatives agreed with the first two British strategic assumptions, but disagreed with the third. (Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-1942, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1953], pp. 32-35.)

Miles, the assistant chief of staff for Military Intelligence, thought British assertions of an imminent Japanese attack on Malaya looked “very like concerted British pressure on us to commit ourselves in the Far East—a pressure that has been applied rather consistently during the past three months.” (Miles Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, February 11, 1941, NA/RG 165 [WPD, 4175-18].) On February 12, the United States participants in the talks told Marshall that the Singapore task force proposal “would be a strategic error of incalculable magnitude.” The United States Pacific Fleet “should be limited, pending the defeat of Germany, to such deterrent and containing influence” as could be rendered from Pearl Harbor operations. (Embick, Miles, Gerow, and McNarney Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, February 12, 1941, NA/RG 165 [WPD, 4402-3].)

Determined not to overextend the army in the western Pacific, Marshall declared in a February 6 conference that the United States had two active defense problems: Panama and Hawaii. Summarizing the situation at Pearl Harbor, the chief of staff said that the navy’s nets for defense against submarine or plane-carried torpedoes were insufficient. Furthermore, a Japanese attack there was possible. Miles responded that the Military Intelligence Division had no evidence of a possible attack. Nevertheless, Marshall wanted the obsolete interceptors at Honolulu replaced by new planes superior in performance to any the Japanese could use from their aircraft carriers. Arnold, the deputy chief of staff for air, who was also present at the conference, recommended that thirty-one P-36s be sent immediately, followed by fifty P-40Bs. (Orlando Ward notes on the Conference in the Office of the Chief of Staff, February 6, 1941, NA/ RG 165 [OCS, Chief of Staff Conferences File].)

Responding to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox’s concern about Oahu’s defense, Stimson, in a letter drafted by Gerow, claimed that the “Hawaiian Department is the best equipped of all our overseas departments, and continues to hold a high priority for the completion of its projected defenses because of the importance of giving full protection to the Fleet.” (For details of the projected Hawaiian defense, see Stimson Memorandum to the Secretary of the Navy, February 7, 1941, NA/RG 165 [WPD, 3583-1].)

Following the conversations, the staffs submitted a report (commonly known as ABC-1) which defined the nature of Allied cooperation in the future. They agreed on the predominant importance of the European theater in the event of global war, the maintenance of British positions in the Mediterranean, and the importance of a strategic defensive in the Far East. The United States Fleet would be employed offensively “to weaken Japanese economic power, and to support the defense of the Malay Barrier by directing Japanese strength away from Malaysia.” (Quoted in Louis Morton, Strategy and Command: The First Two Years, a volume in the United States Army in World War II [Washington: GPO, 1962], p. 88.)

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 409-410.

 

#2-364

To Lieutenant General Walter C. Short1

February 7, 1941 Washington, D.C.

Secret

My dear Short:

I believe you take over command today, however the reason for this letter is a conversation I had yesterday with Admiral Stark.

He spoke of Admiral Kimmel, the new Fleet Commander,2 regarding his personal characteristics. He said Kimmel was very direct, even brusque and undiplomatic in his approach to problems; that he was at heart a very kindly man, though he appeared rather rough in his methods of doing business. I gathered that he is entirely responsive to plain speaking on the part of the other fellow if there is frankness and logic in the presentation. Stark went so far as to say that he had, in the past personally objected to Kimmel’s manners in dealing with officers, but that Kimmel was outstanding in his qualifications for command, and that this was the opinion of the entire Navy.

I give you this as it may be helpful in your personal dealings with Admiral Kimmel, not that I anticipate that you would be supersensitive, but rather that you would have a full understanding of the man with whom you are to deal.

Admiral Stark said that Kimmel had written him at length about the deficiencies of Army materiel for the protection of Pearl Harbor. He referred specifically to planes and to antiaircraft guns. Of course the facts are as he represents them regarding planes, and to a less serious extent regarding caliber .50 machine guns. The 3-inch antiaircraft gun is on a better basis. What Kimmel does not realize is that we are tragically lacking in this materiel throughout the Army, and that Hawaii is on a far better basis than any other command in the Army.

The fullest protection for the Fleet is the rather than a major consideration for us, there can be little question about that; but the Navy itself makes demands on us for commands other than Hawaii, which make it difficult for us to meet the requirements of Hawaii. For example, as I told Stark yesterday,—he had been pressing me heavily to get some modern antiaircraft guns in the Philippines for the protection of Cavite,3 where they have collected a number of submarines as well as the vessels of the Asiatic Fleet—at the present time we have no antiaircraft guns for the protection of Cavite, and very little for Corregidor. By unobtrusively withdrawing 3-inch guns from regiments now in the field in active training, we had obtained 20 3-inch guns for immediate shipment to the Philippines. However before the shipment had been gotten under way the Navy requested 18 of these guns for Marine battalions to be specially equipped for the defense of islands in the Pacific. So I am left with two guns for the Philippines. This has happened time and again, and until quantity production gets well under way, we are in a most difficult situation in these matters.4

I have not mentioned Panama, but the Naval requirements of defense there are of immense importance, and we have not been able to provide all the guns that are necessary, nor to set up the Air units with modern equipment. However, in this instance, we can fly the latest equipment to Panama in one day, some of it in four hours.

You should make clear to Admiral Kimmel that we are doing everything that is humanly possible to build up the Army defenses of the Naval overseas installations, but we cannot perform a miracle. I arranged yesterday to ship 31 of the P36 planes to Hawaii by aircraft carrier from San Diego in about ten days. This will give you 50 of this type of plane, deficient in speed compared to the Japanese carrier based pursuit, and deficient in armament. But at least it gives you 50 of the same type. I also arranged with Admiral Stark to ship 50 P40-B pursuit planes about March 15th by Naval carrier from San Diego. These planes just came into production this week and should be on a quantity basis of about 8 a day by the first week in March.

The Japanese carrier based pursuit plane, which has recently appeared in China, according to our information has a speed of 322 miles an hour, a very rapid ability to climb and mounts two 20mm and two .30 cal. guns.5 It has leak-proof tanks and armor. Our P40-B will have a speed of 360 miles an hour with two .50 cal. machine guns and four of .30 caliber. It will lack the rapidity to climb of the Japanese plane. It will have leak-proof tanks and armor.

We have an earlier model of this plane, the P40, delivered between August and October, but the Chief of the Air Corps opposes sending it to Hawaii because of some engine defect which makes it unsafe for training flights over water. Up to the present time we have not had available a modern medium bomber or a light bomb[er]. This month the medium bomber will go into production, if not quantity production. This plane has a range without bombs of 3,000 miles, carries 2,000 pounds and has a speed of 320 miles an hour—a tremendous improv

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