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To Major General Fox Conner1
April 25, 1934 [Chicago, Illinois]
I have just read your note of April 23rd regarding the book on the A.E.F. In the same mail I received a letter from Roger Scaife, telling me of his luncheon with you but not indicating that he had been doing a little business as well as lunching.
My suggestion to him to meet you was on the basis that you might be very helpful in your comments on various writers who deal with the World War period and wish to get themselves published. I did not have in mind that you might weaken on the writing business but I am delighted to learn that you will undertake such a task.2
However, to be perfectly frank, I do not think such a book as you propose in your note would be of great interest unless it were a very honest statement of the facts. This would mean that “many toes would be tread on” and much “yapping” would result. Just how pleasant you would find this aspect I do not know. But I am certain that a restrained discussion of the presentation, avoiding a plain statement of the facts concerning the delicate issues, would not gain many readers.
With your literary ability, your general military knowledge and your comprehensive knowledge of affairs in France, coupled with your ability to reduce things to their simplicities, you are better prepared to write such a book than any one else I know in the Army.
I am turning the matter over in my mind and will write you in a day or two with suggestions along the lines you requested me.
I spent the morning here with General Pershing a week ago, and Dawes and Mrs. Marshall came in for lunch. He seemed in fine spirits but had just recovered from a heavy cold in Lincoln and has little left of his former sturdiness, except in carriage and character.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Conner had commanded the First Corps Area since October 7, 1930. Promoted to major general (October 20, 1925), Conner had served in the War Department as acting chief of staff, G4 (1924-26), and as deputy chief of staff (1926-27); then he commanded the First Division (1927) and the Hawaiian Department (1928-30).
2. Scaife had recently become vice-president and director of the Boston, Massachusetts, publishing house, Little, Brown and Company. In his April 23 letter to Marshall, Conner said that Scaife wanted him to write a book on the General Staff at A.E.F. General Headquarters. “I do not quite visualize just how that is to be accomplished. What would be some of the Chapter Headings and how should the Staff rather than the Command viewpoint be emphasized? . . . Please give me some advice. I need it badly.” (Conner to Marshall, April 23, 1934, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Illinois National Guard.].)
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 428-429.