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To Lieutenant General John L. De Witt
March 14, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear De Witt:
With reference to our telephone conversation of a few minutes ago, I am enclosing a memorandum I received yesterday from Mr. Rouse. It is self-explanatory.1
I might say that Mr. Rouse was a very modest appearing man, he had seen War Plans and General Bryden, also other key officers of the War Department and had not pressed to see me. However, I thought I would send for him and give him a chance to tell me his story and go back and tell his people that he did see me.
I was impressed with the moderation of his oral statements and with the fact that he had kept entirely clear of Senators and Representatives. He stated that he had not gone to you because he thought it would be rather presumptuous. Just what the difference is between coming here and going there I do not undertake to analyze.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. Eugene F. Rouse, president of the Los Angeles Town Hall, a nonpartisan organization of civic leaders, contrasted the strategic importance of southern California with the region’s lack of air, ground, or naval defenses. He characterized as “unfortunate” the attempts to “minimize the danger of raids” on the Pacific Coast in order to retain and expand its defense industries, and he urged the War Department to move defense industries inland or provide better protection. (Rouse to Marshall, March 13, 1942, GCMRL/ G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. At the March 13 Cabinet meeting, President Roosevelt requested a G-2 study of the potential Japanese threat to West Coast defense plants. In a memorandum drafted by the Records of the Operations Division (OPD), Stimson informed the president in mid-April of the results of this study. He emphasized the potential for Japanese air strikes from isolated Mexican airfields as well as from carrier-based planes, but he assured Roosevelt that radar combined with air patrols, and antiaircraft batteries could adequately defend southern California. (Deane Memorandum for Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, March 16, 1942, and Stimson Memorandum for the President, n.d., NA/RG 407 [AG, 381].)
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), p. 133.