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To Major General Frank R. McCoy
October 17, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
On my return from France I found your letter inviting me to the dinner for the President on October 21st, to be given by the Foreign Policy Association. I am sorry that I do not feel that I can accept, for several reasons.
In the first place I have to be in New York on the 27th for the Navy Day dinner as they have attached great importance to my being present, though I should much prefer to have merely appeared at the local dinner here in Washington. Two trips of this kind for me at this time are too much of a tax on my time and physical stamina as I have been engaged in a most strenuous program over the last month and a half and particularly the last three weeks.
I am loath to decline an invitation such as this from you in particular, but I do not think my mere attendance in the light of the President’s appearance would be of any moment one way or another.
I had an intensely interesting inspection trip in France, covering an immense amount of ground in a very short time. I was astonished at the repetition of situations and localities from the days when you and I were in that part of France. The right of Patton’s Third Army was in the village and No Man’s Land in the exact spot that I found in October, 1917, when I arranged for the induction of separate battalions of the First Division into a French front.1 The coincidences of this sort were apparent all along the front and I even found in one place that our Fifth Division was deployed in its old World War sector with its same companion, the 90th Division, on its left, and the commander of the Corps a former officer of the Fifth Division.2
During my hurried trip I started out after a night at Verdun, flew to Holland to see Montgomery and then immediately South the same morning to the Belfort front. During the next four days, three of them in a downpour of rain, I went through five Armies, eight Army Corps, sixteen Divisions, and also saw the commanders and staffs of eight other Divisions. Fortunately the weather picked up the last morning just as I left the border of Holland again and I was able to fly into Paris without the tedium of a long motor trip.
Since my return here I have been buried in accumulated work and difficult and critical decisions.
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. See Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-103-#1-105 [1: 122-23].
2. Twentieth Corps commander Major General Walton H. Walker had arrived in France in April 1918 as a captain with the Fifth Division’s Thirteenth Machine Gun Battalion.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 628-629.