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To Major General Morrison C. Stayer1
September 4, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
I have had several notes from Clifton lately about his foot. In the last one he makes this statement:
“Both Gen. Stayer and his surgeon, Col. Churchill,2 have looked at my one remaining bad foot. They tell me another operation and grafting job will be necessary, and I will be laid up for two and a half to three months. It looks as if this headquarters will fold up within the next few weeks. * * If possible when we do fold up here I would like to get back to the States and get the operation over with instead of waiting around over here for months doing nothing and then go home and have to lay around in a hospital for three more months. All I want is your OK to go ahead on this. I can handle all the details myself and you need not be involved.”3
I am much embarrassed over this business; specifically, in regard to the last sentence: “I can handle all the details myself and you need not be involved”, because it would appear to me that he would either be in the process of being sent home now if you surgeons thought it necessary or he is depending on the fact that a request from him carries something of my influence.
Clifton got out to the Mediterranean through my having an exception made in relation to limited service in his case. He was very anxious to go and has been there less than a year. Also he has been back here once, coming in as a courier at the time of Allen’s death. General Eaker did this.
I do not want anything to be done that would not be done for Tom, Dick, or Harry and as he has consulted you in this matter I am taking the liberty of writing you direct to make my position clear. There are thousands of officers who have been overseas longer than two years, some of them who have had several bouts with malaria, all anxious to get home and in some instances developing very heavy pressure in this country to get them home. I must not be put in the position of backing favoritism in my own family.
Will you please radio me your view in this matter.4
P.S. I was sorry not to see you while I was in Italy the other day.5 They told me you were in Dakar, I believe.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Stayer, a friend of Marshall since the Infantry School period, was theater surgeon, North African Theater of Operations, and deputy director of medical services, Allied Force Headquarters.
2. Colonel Edward D. Churchill was the theater’s surgical consultant.
3. The omitted portion read: “Our work here in the Antiaircraft Section is already finished, and we do nothing now other than sit around.” Marshall’s stepson said that he hoped to get to the Pacific war after his operation. (Clifton Brown to Marshall, August 29, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
4. Marshall wrote to Clifton quoting Stayer’s reply: “Provided minor and longstanding limiting disability does not increase, no reason exists for evacuation through medical channels or other preferential manner.” Marshall noted that Clifton had gone to the Mediterranean at his own request and that “countless thousands” of men who had been abroad far longer were endeavoring to return home. “I would prefer that you make no mention of this to General Stayer as it is embarrassing to him as well as to me. If your foot develops badly then take it to the doctor and let him decide.” (Marshall to Brown, September 11, 1944, ibid.)
5. Marshall had visited Italy June 17-20; see editorial note #4-411, Papers of George Catlett Marshall [4: 481-82].
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. 569-570.