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To Major General Daniel Van Voorhis1
February 14, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear Van Voorhis:
My trip to Puerto Rico was very informative, and I was greatly impressed with what had been done in the short period of that Department’s existence. As in Panama, I picked up many things regarding which the War Department could take a more helpful attitude. En route from Puerto Rico to the Mainland, I sent you a radio to the effect that I had instructed Daley to fly over to Panama to talk things over with you. He will have his Air officer with him and possibly another staff officer. I think it is very important that the complementary relationship between Puerto Rico and Panama be developed through personal conversations.
I am not satisfied with the present Air set-up, at least so far as the Atlantic side is concerned. It seems to me that we might have less bombers in Panama and more in Puerto Rico, also more of pursuit in Puerto Rico, though no less of this type in Panama. However, this is very superficial thinking, and I am hopeful that you and Daley can establish a sound base of departure.2
So far as the Panama Canal Department is concerned, I want you to know that I was greatly impressed with how much you had done in the brief period of your leadership, you have given me a feeling of complete confidence regarding matters in the Canal Zone. It is very satisfying to my state of mind to feel that you are at the helm during this critical period.
I am grateful to you for the honors and courtesies paid me during my visit, and especially for the effective manner in which you arranged my program. Mrs. Van Voorhis was delightful in her hospitality, and I think she is a very valuable asset to that command.
This is my first morning at the office, and I am pretty well overwhelmed, but I wanted to write to you immediately.
With warm regards,
P.S. Please have your A.D.C. [aide-de-camp] let me know cost of those two neckties and the helmet ornament.
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. Van Voorhis assumed command of the Panama Canal Department in January 1940.
2. Daley believed that the proper peacetime bomber strength for the Puerto Rican Department was one heavy bombardment group. This would be accompanied by a pursuit group and a reconnaissance squadron. (Daley Memorandum to The Adjutant General, January 31, 1940, NA/ RG 407 [38l].) Van Voorhis considered that the proposed long-range reconnaissance wing of eighty-four planes would carry out their assignment on both ocean fronts. He asserted, however, that medium-range reconnaissance and bomber groups be replaced by long-range bombers to stop an attack on the canal from sea or land. (Van Voorhis Memorandum to The Adjutant General, February 12, 1940, NA/RG 407 [660.2-2/1D].)
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. 158-159.