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To Major Claude M. Adams
December 28, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
I have just this moment read your letter of December 26th, and will endeavor to satisfy your curiosity. I would have written earlier, but the fact is my days are about eighteen hours long and I have been so busy I have almost no time to give to personal things, not even to shop for a present for Mrs. Marshall.
Originally I had intended for you to be assigned as a General Staff officer to a division in the South so that you could get the benefit of these coming maneuvers before joining me, but on the spur of the moment following your telegram, and in view of your situation at the time, I arranged to have you ordered here directly.1
I have an Aide—he is more of a Military Secretary than an Aide, in Colonel Buchanan, of the National Guard.2 Buchanan had been here about three years when I brought him in, and so far as the office work here is concerned, he is able to handle the business.
My intention is to bring you into my office for whatever work comes up, and to be in a position to replace Buchanan in his particular job. It would be necessary for you to be intimately familiar with the workings of the General Staff and the War Department as a whole, in order to be able to serve me at the express speed that is usually necessary, so when you arrive, I propose having you attached successively to the branches of the General Staff for about two weeks each until you acquire a fair familiarity with the machinery of administration.
Now as to quarters. The Lieutenant’s double set, similar to those on Augur Avenue at Leavenworth, have been vacant since I took office. The plans have been made and we are waiting for the appropriation in January having utilized all available funds for this concentration, to permit the complete remodeling of the house. It is to be thrown into one set of quarters, to be assigned to the Deputy Chief of Staff when completed, probably not before June, as WPA labor is involved. This particular item is to be treated as confidential, as it will not be announced until the new Deputy reports for duty the first of May. I suggest that you make no effort to locate quarters here until after your arrival, and that then you go about it very deliberately.
There is another possibility, which bears on the preceding paragraph. I want you to take things easy, and under no circumstances to overdo; but if you feel so disposed, I would like to have you see the divisions in the field, at some length, before settling down here. This, however, should be a matter for Ruth to decide and not for you. If she thinks it all right, understanding that it is not absolutely necessary, I would want you to spend several weeks at Benning, and at least a few days at Columbia, South Carolina, Camp McClellan, at Knox and at Bragg; and also a visit to Randolph and Kelly Fields, to Barksdale Field and to Langley Field. But I repeat, the decision in this should be Ruth’s and not yours.
I am writing very hurriedly, but I think I have given you the information you wish.
P.S. We were delighted with the presents. Katherine is charmed with her picnic sack, and tell Ruth that her donkey has charmed up the library and the visitors.
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. At this time, Adams was a student at the Command and General Staff School. (See Marshall to Mrs. Claude M. Adams, August 24, 1939, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-036 [2: 39-40.) On November 14, he had suffered a heart attack, although he was able to return to his course work after a brief hospitalization. Marshall had previously ordered him to report to the War Department for General Staff duty when the school closed at the end of January 1940. Adams had written to Marshall concerning his future assignment, since he had to inform the quartermaster at Fort Leavenworth about shipping and had to find housing in Washington, D.C. (Adams to Marshall, December 26, 1939, GCMRL/G.C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) See Marshall to Mrs. Claude M. Adams, January 2, 1940, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-098 [2: 133-34].
2. Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Buchanan was on detached duty from the Illinois National Guard.
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. 121-123.