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To Major General Milton A. Reckord1
August 30, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
Your letter of August 26th, with enclosures, regarding A.R.130-10, has been received, but due to absence from the city and the press of business, I have not had time to examine the mimeograph of comments and suggestions. I did have a few moments of discussion with General Blanding. But before going further into the matter, I wish to say, frankly and confidentially, that I much regret that you thought it desirable to make the critical comments in your memorandum of August 23d for the Adjutants General of the National Guard.2
Whatever the facts may be as to the practicability or advisability of the proposed changes, I feel that the form of your criticisms will do definite harm by promoting dissatisfaction and distrust as to the War Department. This is more harmful to the military efficiency of our Army, in my opinion, than lack of funds, materiel, or personnel. In fact, it is probable that past discord or distrust has prevented the securement from Congress of adequate funds.
My deepest concern in entering on the duties of Chief of Staff is to further in an unmistakable manner the development of a military team, otherwise the efficiency of the Army—especially for immediate employment in campaign—is jeopardized. For that reason, I am sorry that you saw fit to express yourself in the manner you did, whatever may have been your personal feelings.3
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. Reckord was the adjutant general of Maryland, the commanding general of the Maryland National Guard and of the Twenty-ninth Division, a key figure in the National Guard Association and one of its most important Washington lobbyists, and the president of the National Rifle Association.
2. Army Regulation 130-10 (“National Guard: Call and Draft into National Service”), originally issued in April 1923, was being revised. Reckord wrote that he “found the regulation to be very poorly drafted, in fact in some instances not even in step with the provisions of the National Defense Act. Whoever is responsible for the draft, in my opinion, lacks the proper conception of the position the National Guard now occupies as a part of the Army of the United States.” Reckord, as chairman of the Legislative Committee of the National Guard Association, had sent a letter containing his objections to the new regulation for circulation to the adjutants general of the several states. (Reckord to Marshall, August 26, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
3. Reckord replied: “I share with you the desire to develop an efficient military team ready for any emergency and will work with you toward that end. You will agree with me, however, I am sure, that the foundation for such a team must be justice and equity, under the law. This is lacking in 130-10 and it was for that reason alone that I offered my criticism.” (Reckord to Marshall, September 5, 1939, ibid.) Marshall sent Record’s comments to the Personnel Division on August 31. The regulation was redrafted by the National Guard Bureau and issued in March 1940. At that time the new revision was hailed as a vast improvement by the Adjutant Generals Association. (See Army and Navy Journal, March 23, 1940, p. 672.)
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. 41-42.