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To Major General John L. Hines
September 21, 1924 Tientsin, China
My dear General:
This note of congratulations will reach you long after your appointment as Chief of Staff;1 not at all like the telephonic congratulations I used to have occasion to give you so often in old A.E.F. days. As a matter of fact, your appointment had been accepted so long as an assured affair that it came to everyone much as a matter of course. But I am delighted that there was no unexpected hitch and that you are actually at the head of the Army. Your numerous promotions have given me, I am sure, almost as much pleasure as they have to you—because it is not often in the Army that advancements go where they are so richly deserved as in your particular case.
I have landed here quite in the middle of things, as it were. If we had docked at Ching wang tao five days later we would probably have been unable to make the trip up to Tientsin, as the railroad has been literally blocked with Chinese troop movements. The remainder of the foreign summer colony near Ching wang tao are being moved out by boats furnished by the big coal company.2
More than 50,000 troops have passed thru here headed for Shan hai kuan. As they usually hold on to their trains, all the sidings are blocked and portions of the main line tracks. Last evening some undisciplined soldiers of the Chinese 9th Division sort of took over the Central Station in Tientsin and killed one of the station officials. The company of the 15th Inf. located at Tong shan has a Chinese division settled around it.3 Two days ago I sent up to it some additional men, an officer and the required grenade and mortar ammunition. With aeroplane bombing at Shanhaikuan and Ching wang tao and the other disruptions and disturbances, it smacks much the old war time atmosphere.
No one ventures to predict just what is to happen. Chinese methods are too devious for foreign penetration. The trusted body guard of Wu pei fu (the military mogul out here), the 3d Division, which he has held around him in Pekin, is today passing north thru Tientsin. None of the foreigners can predict what this means, as they can not understand why Wu would risk personal separation from this trusted force. I did not intend to bore you with so much of this local situation. It will all have changed long before this letter reaches you. General Conner is very busy with the other Commanders and, I think, has very sound views and somewhat dominates matters despite the fact that he is junior to the Japanese C.O.
Mrs. Marshall and Mrs. Coles are only partially aware of the present situation. Their minds are centered on househunting. We are living at the Astor Hotel at present but hope to get settled by Oct. 15th which will be a comfort to us all. The weather has been perfect.
I am delighted with the regiment. The officers seem to be much above the average personnel and the work and problem is very interesting.
Give my love to Mrs. Hines and believe me always,
G. C. Marshall, Jr.
Document Copy Text Source: John L. Hines Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Handwritten letter signed.
1. Hines became army chief of staff on September 14.
2. The Kailan Mining Administration (K.M.A.) was a British-Belgian-Chinese combine. During the hot, rainy months from May through September, the foreign military commands at Tientsin maintained summer training camps on the beaches near the K.M.A.’s deepwater port of Chinwangtao. Between 1923 and 1927, the Fifteenth Infantry leased a camp site at Nan Ta Ssu from the K.M.A.
3. Rifle companies alternated six-month tours of duty guarding the locomotive and car shops of the Peking-Mukden Railroad at Tangshan, a city of approximately sixty thousand inhabitants, eighty-five miles from Tientsin.
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. 266-267.