2-090 To Lieutenant General Stanley D. Embick, December 18, 1939

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: December 18, 1939

To Lieutenant General Stanley D. Embick

December 18, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]


Dear Embick:

In my note to you the other day I forgot to mention something that seems important to me.

I found your three division commanders had many of the same problems, but different approaches to the solution.1 I found different reactions on the ration and to what extent it was satisfactory. I also found that it took me less than forty minutes to fly up to McClellan from Benning, which moves me to suggest that those fellows visit each other, using a plane, and see how they are working out their problems.

Right after the New Year I am going to have a group of staff officers make a flying tour in your region in order to see how these divisions are getting along and what they need. I found several matters concerned with developing more comfortable situations for the work were circulating through the War Department in the laborious time-consuming peace-time fashion. There may be other things following the same slow trail, and I think a staff visit may prove helpful.

In addition to the data given you regarding motor vehicles, I am led to believe, after a conversation between General Gibbins and Mr. Keller, President of the Chrysler Corporation, that we may expect much earlier deliveries. I have just written him a note thanking him for his attitude and explaining in detail the situation, with the request that he exert his influence to further accelerate deliveries. I should hear from him in a few days, and may have some data to give you. In any event I think it is important not to allow the maneuvers to run over late into the spring.2

I now want to give you a little confidential tip, if I have not already spoken to you about it, as to what we have in mind for the Army Corps. I am assuming that Walter Short will be the next Major General, and that being the case, that he will be designated as the Corps Commander, and I think you can make your own private plans on that basis.3 Another thing, while the Corps Commander and his staff for the moment will be somewhat on a temporary basis, I have in mind that we may settle this permanently by making the Corps Commander the Commandant of the Infantry School, and the key members of his staff additional members of the faculty of the School. That would enable us to continue the Corps set-up without having to use new installations and a complete expensive set-up; also guarantee the practical training to the Infantry School, which I hope to develop into the real leadership agency of the Army, facilitate obtaining the use of troops in a large way for the student officers, along with facility in utilizing the student officers to assist with the troops.4 Of course this change would not be made a definite thing until the retirement of General Singleton. It has not been passed on by the General Staff, but I think that is what the decision will be.

I am giving you this hurriedly and most confidentially, and for your eye alone, at the present time.

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. Marshall was referring to Brigadier General Walter C. Short, commander of the First Division; Brigadier General Clement A. Trott (U.S.M.A., 1899), commander of the Sixth Division; and Brigadier General Campbell B. Hodges, commander of the Fifth Division.

2. Three days earlier, Marshall had instructed Embick to plan his Third Army maneuvers “on the basis of 50 or 75% of deliveries of motor transportation. I do not think we can afford to wait until May, and I think a pretty satisfactory maneuver can be conducted without the complete transportation. The pressure is going to be so heavy for the return of these troops, and the heat and other climatic conditions will be much less favorable in May, so if at all possible, I would like to see the main maneuver at least started not later than the 15th of April.” (Marshall to Embick, December 15, 1939, GCMRL/ G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

3. For the purpose of large-scale maneuvers, the army created the Fourth Army Corps with the divisions and support troops concentrated in the Southeast. Short was promoted to major general effective March 1, 1940.

4. After the letter had been typed, Marshall added an asterisk in the margin beside this line, and at the bottom a handwritten: “*Poor English, but I have not time to correct.”

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. 118-120.

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