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To Lieutenant General Hugh A. Drum
October 10, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
Personal and Confidential
Thank you for your note of October 9th.1 I think everybody in the mobile Army will be pleased with the fact that the “fleet is actually going to sea” in time of peace. We have been having a hard time of it finding ways and means to create legal deficits to get the funds to carry this through, but I think most of the impossibilities have been eliminated. Of course, we would be in a bad hole if Congress did not come to our rescue later on.
The most interesting point at the moment is the time factor, as illustrated by the motor transport problem. Confidentially, we succeeded in getting the President to give us his O.K. on the $12,000,000 deficit for motor vehicles, which is a tricky legal problem, and raise the normal $3,000,000 of f.y. 1940 to $15,000,000 in the advertisement for bids. We got this authority about ten days ago and got out the proposals, I think, the next day, but even so the first deliveries are the middle of January, with the major portion of the trucks being delivered in March. Of course we will try to push this faster, but with what success I cannot now say.
The foregoing means, of course, that the corps phase of the concentration will be delayed accordingly. However, and this is confidential as it is ahead of the completed plans, we hope to have a two division corps with some corps troops in action at Benning by the end of January. Later on in the spring, a corps of three divisions with corps troops will be completed, and if we are permitted to go ahead at that time, we will have another corps headquarters complete and a few of the corps troops, together with the Second Division, the Cavalry people, and the Mechanized force to operate against the first corps above referred to. Of course, if we are authorized to recruit up to full peace strength, which I think we will be, then the second corps will have a complete organization.
As to a landing operation, again confidentially, I am going to the Joint Board tomorrow to see if the Navy will modify their winter plans sufficiently to put on a landing operation of the entire Third Division on the California Coast between Santa Barbara and Half Moon Bay. We would use the West Coast Wing of the G.H.Q. Air Force on the defensive side, as well as the scattered troops that are not in the Third Division. Aside from the training value of such a joint staff operation, we would have the added advantage of leaving the Third Division at Camp Ord for the Northwest rainy season. With the 30th Infantry from San Francisco and other scattered troops, along with the corps troops to be organized at Ord, excellent maneuvers should be arranged.
The Neutrality debate, of course, has delayed all of our moves, and we were vastly relieved to get the authority to go ahead with the public announcements of Saturday and Sunday.
We have been planning to bring in all the Army Commanders and the Corps Area Commanders for a general conference. Just when we will do this is still undecided, as we want to have the rough outlines pretty well cast before starting discussions. One factor in the delay is the possibility, and this is most confidential, that we may succeed in getting a Joint Resolution considered at this special session of Congress for $165,000,000 for the Navy and $150,000,000 for the Army to carry us up to the end of January. With this money, many things that we are now improvising in a skeleton fashion, could be carried out to great advantage, and very important contracts placed for deliveries of much needed essential items. This money would also include a large sum made available for concentrations, maneuvers, etc., I think about $35,000,000.
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. Drum had handwritten: “May I extend congratulations on your decision to concentrate our regular army divisions in the South for Winter training. This will accomplish a long felt want, and will be well worth the financial cost. I hope that you can eventually group them into corps and a field army organization in order to produce the complete team so essential to teach & create the understanding of `Mechanism of battle.’” (Drum to Marshall, October 9, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 79-80.