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To Lieutenant General Stanley D. Embick
May 1, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Personal and Confidential
I have just received your note of April 30th, apologizing for your not getting down to Benning while I was there. Thank Goodness you did not make the trip; I felt vastly relieved when your Aide told me you had submitted to the doctor’s directions that you go to bed. Now, my concern is that you do not leave for Beauregard too soon;1 please don’t take any such chance, you have a good staff and they will wrestle with the concentration.
I haven’t had a cold for a year and a half, but I picked up one, apparently from the dust at Benning, and am just now shaking it off. I had to take to my bed, between drinks as it were, during the trip, both at Benning and at Charleston. At the latter place I was running a slight fever, about a degree, but had to make a talk at a luncheon and then review General Summerall’s fine cadet corps.2 By the time I got to Washington I was pretty well shot, but next morning—yesterday, I spent two hours before the Senate Appropriations Committee, return again this morning, and go before the House Military Committee Thursday morning.3 There is not much rest and relaxation about this business, but I cannot complain because up to the present moment I have felt splendidly and I think I will be entirely free of my cold by tomorrow or the next day. Very confidentially, for your eye alone, I found what you probably are already aware of, that relations between Short and Singleton at Benning are on a very delicate basis. Singleton has made every effort to cooperate—I doubt if there is any man in the Army who would try harder saving yourself; and Short is an aggressive type, with a large responsibility for a new development in training on his hands.
During the early period of the concentration I found on each visit, always staying with Singleton, that he was highly supersensitive about Short and the First Division. Short made no comments to me of any kind, and incidentally, I never had an opportunity to talk to him alone because Singleton never left my side on either trip. If any question as to supply or any matter relating to Benning as a whole came up Singleton would at once intervene in the discussion even though I might be talking to the Division Commander and his assembled staff. He was acutely supersensitive, at the same time he was trying with all the loyalty of his being to cooperate.
Of course, the situation of two independent commanders, with interrelated affairs, is an impossible one at best, and I am much relieved that the concentration in Louisiana terminates this situation. I found on this last trip that Singleton had gotten to the point where everything regarding the First Division was poison to him, and to exaggerate very slightly, everything else whatever it was, was better. Yet Short had nothing to say to me on the subject, though on this trip I did drive about with him alone a portion of the time. I know Short well; he is a very able, determined, and rather stubborn type. Incidentally, Krueger, with a different complexion, is much the same sort.4 Both of them are aggressive, energetic, and to a certain extent, self opinionated. Both of them, I believe, are leaders with a sufficient understanding of mobile army problems to produce valuable results. You will probably find them “head on” regarding many considerations brought up by results of the maneuvers.
I hope to get down to Louisiana between the 12th and 15th and stay until the completion of the last exercise. The Secretary of War is going down for a couple of days and wishes me to be with him during that period. Otherwise, I am asking you not to make any special arrangements for me whatsoever, except to see that I have a car and a place at the camp or Beauregard to sleep.
On my return to Benning, I was tremendously impressed with the splendid job that Gruber is doing and the confidence that everyone seems to have in him. I wish it had been possible to promote him; I tried to manage it but without success. (Incidentally, in any of these discussions, the question of Manus McCloskey always arises).5 Now, I want to find the place he wishes to go and try to arrange it accordingly.
This is a longer note than I intended, but as I did not have an opportunity to talk to you personally, I will take it out in writing.
With further cautions against a too hasty convalescence, and my warm regards,
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. Camp Beauregard—eight miles north of Alexandria, Louisiana—was to be the location of the headquarters for the Third Army maneuvers.
2. On April 26 Marshall was the featured speaker at the politically important Azalea Festival luncheon in Charleston, South Carolina. If his address followed the notes his staff prepared for him, Marshall talked about the recent improvements in army funding, training, and equipment, and warned that adequate defense was going to be expensive. (Notes for the Chief of Staff, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Speeches].) Marshall’s friend and the former army chief of staff Major General Charles P. Summerall also attended the luncheon. He had been president of the Citadel, South Carolina’s state military college, since 1931.
3. The chief of staff’s April 15 memorandum to the secretary of war (p. 198) resulted in a request by the president on April 29 to add $18,000,000 (rather than the $25,000,000 Marshall had asserted was urgently required) to the 1941 army supply budget specifically for the purchase of certain critical items for the Signal and the Ordnance corps. On April 30 and May 1, Marshall spent a total of four hours before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee seeking to restore approximately 60 percent of the $112,000,000 cut by the House. Personnel problems were less pressing than weapons, ordnance, and supplies, Marshall told the subcommittee. Taking care not to appear to ask Congress for funding greater than the president’s requests, he sought the restoration of the House’s cuts in clothing allowance, flight pay for certain officers, 109 aircraft, the construction of an air base at Anchorage, Alaska, and critical-items purchases. (Senate Appropriations Committee, Military Establishment Appropriation Bill for 1941, Hearings [Washington: GPO, 1940], pp. 14-71.)
4. Walter Krueger joined the army in 1899, as a private, after serving with the volunteer forces in Cuba. In June 1901 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Thirtieth Infantry in the Philippine Islands, the regiment Marshall joined in May 1902. Krueger was known as an expert on discipline and training and also as a historian and scholar of military affairs. In February 1939 he was promoted to major general and given command of the Second Division at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
5. Colonel Edmund L. Gruber had prepared the plan of the corps maneuvers at Fort Benning and was working on the Third Army maneuvers plan. Brigadier General McCloskey retired at the end of April 1938, and since August 1938 he had been superintendent of Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. (Regarding McCloskey see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-434 [1: 528].)
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. 205-207.