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To Major General Roy D. Keehn
September 14, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
I have held your letter of September 10th for a couple of days in a mental effort to see if I could meet your wishes. I am sorry that I cannot.1
My situation is so difficult at the present time, so exceedingly hard to handle, that I must not complicate it by engagements which would be a great embarrassment to those making the arrangements, as well as to me if something turned up to prevent my appearance. For example, I was due in Fort Knox today on an inspection, which I had to set for Saturday—with all its ill effects on morale—because the Chairman of the Military Committee of the House was most insistent that I appear with him this evening at Louisville. All of that I had to wash out this morning.
I am involved in a number of important changes in the figures of a program of about a billion and a half which I have to justify before the Appropriations Committee of the House Monday morning. I was to have appeared Friday, it was postponed until Saturday; now the estimates have had to be changed, for reasons which I cannot mention, and all of this calculation I have to get in my head in time to appear reasonably well informed on Monday morning. This business goes on continuously in relation to a wide number of matters, and I just am not able to make any plans in advance.2
I will do this—keep your date in mind, and see if at the time I can get there, can work it in with some inspection trip, and can put in an appearance, but I must not be featured. I am sorry.
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. Keehn had written on September 4 inviting the chief of staff to the early October dedication of the Illinois National Guard’s new airplane hangar. Marshall replied on September 6 that, given the “heavier and heavier demands” of daily business, he did “not dare accept.” Keehn wrote on September 10 of his disappointment with this decision, as the dedication would be one of his last official acts before he was relieved as commanding general of the Thirty-third Division. (All documents are in GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. Marshall’s House testimony in support of the $1,589,056,538 third supplemental appropriation bill for fiscal year 1941 was delayed until Thursday, September 19. The money was requested primarily to cover the costs of: (1) calling the National Guard into federal service; (2) inducting, training, and equipping the men to be drafted; (3) providing certain critical and essential items for expanding the army by an additional 200,000, to a total of 1,400,000 enlisted men, by the end of June 1941—including increasing the Air Corps from 95,000 to 160,000 men; and (4) speeding the production of aircraft for the Air Corps’ new fifty-four combat-group program. (House Appropriations Committee, Third Supplemental National Defense Appropriation Bill for 1941, Hearings [Washington: GPO, 1940], pp. 31-42.) With certain minor amendments, this bill was passed by Congress and approved by the president on October 8.
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. 307-308.