2-482 To Lieutenant General Daniel Van Voorhis, June 12, 1941

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 12, 1941

To Lieutenant General Daniel Van Voorhis

June 12, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]


Dear Van Voorhis:

Your endorsement of May 7th to War Department communication of April 28th regarding Air defense, was brought to my attention by WPD.1

While I have not had time to go into it in detail, it is evident that you are laboring under a misapprehension as to the attitude of the War Department in the matter. There was no intention whatever to reflect on you. In studying over the arrangments in the various overseas possessions, the Department, lacking information to the contrary, assumed that the organization of your Air defense was as indicated in the basic war plans of the 1941 revision, which differed in some major respects from the organization being adopted in continental United States. The purpose of the original letter was purely to bring the differences to your attention and not at all to reflect on your procedure.

They tell me that the plan for the organization of Air defense in the Caribbean Defense Command, recently received in the War Department, indicates an organization in conformity with the general practice now being put into effect throughout the Army.

Frankly, while you have your difficulties with the Government of Panama, I do not think you have quite enough. You lack the flood of daily irritations and disturbances that we have every hour which eventually produce either prostration or a case-hardened front to the world. So far as I can, I try to deal in a very direct and semi-personal manner with the overseas commanders, but there are limits and the formal Staff productions should be received with due regard for the immense burden these people up here are carrying.

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. The War Plans Division had requested that Van Voorhis review his air defenses in light of the newly organized Air Defense Command and Britain’s combat experience. Van Voorhis interpreted the staff’s request as a criticism of his lack of initiative. (Gerow Memorandum for the Chief of Staff, June 5, 1941, NA/RG 165 [WPD, 4270-8].) Marshall had previously mentioned reorganizing Caribbean air defense. (Marshall to Van Voorhis, May 17, 1941, pp. 513-14)

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. 533.

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