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To Morris Sheppard1
August 3, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Senator:
I have delayed replying to your letter of July 18th, recommending the appointment of Major Watt as Assistant Adjutant General, until the Secretary of War had written you regarding the same matter.2
Watt is an old friend of mine, whose unusual efficiency I have long admired—as a matter of fact since my first contact with him as Chief Clerk of the Eastern Department at Governors Island in 1911. He worked with me on the Shanks’ Board investigating the matter of rank among the War veterans commissioned in the Regular service in 1920. More recently, I have watched his highly efficient performance of duty as Liaison Officer with your Committee.
Personally, there is no one in The Adjutant General’s Department whom I would take more satisfaction in backing for promotion, but I am forced to the conclusion that to do so would immediately involve us in a precedent which would seriously affect efficiency in other directions. Also, to advance him over the heads of all of the colonels and lieutenant colonels in The Adjutant General’s Department, would probably develop enmity against him, and would adversely affect morale.
I am truly sorry, because of my fondness for him and my high opinion of his efficiency, that I do not feel free to urge his appointment.
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. Sheppard, a Democrat from Texas, was chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee.
2. The senator’s letter was not retained in the Marshall papers. Major David A. Watt had entered the army as a private in the Spanish-American War.
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. 26-27.