2-242 To Mrs. Butler Ames, August 16, 1940

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 16, 1940

To Mrs. Butler Ames

August 16, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]

Dear Fifille:

I left Washington suddenly Saturday morning [August 10] by air on an inspection trip around the United States of the troops now in the field for maneuvers—some 300,000. I had not seen my way clear to leave until the last moment, and then only had the prospect of a few days, so I flew direct to Minnesota; reached there at noon, went through some 40,000 troops, and left in the early evening for the West Coast expecting to spend the night at Miles City, Montana. There I sent you a wire, but the weather being favorable for flying I continued on and landed at Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, Washington, at 10:45 the same night. Sunday I inspected some 40,000 troops in the field between Tacoma and Centralia, flying to Portland that night. I stayed with a friend there, who grilled an elaborate supper on the bluff in their grounds overlooking the River. They gave me breakfast at 5:30 and I left at 6 the next morning, and paused near San Francisco to inspect an air base, paused again in southern California at an air base there, and spent the night at El Paso; left there at 6 the next morning and reached the Sabine River region of western Louisiana at noon and went through some 50,000 troops there. I took the air again at 6 the next morning and stopped at Montgomery, Alabama to inspect an Air school, flew to Fort Benning, Georgia, where we have about 20,000 troops, and then made a final flight into Washington, arriving here at 9 P.M. Wednesday.

Yesterday I found a heavy accumulation of business awaiting me and had to spend three hours before a Committee of the Senate, so it was a bad day.1 Then I had to go to a small dinner, stag, for Senator McNary the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, but I managed to get away from there at 9:30 and “so to bed.”2 I think I am the one who needs the hospital and a nurse, certainly I would find it very restful to eat a meal in bed.

Katherine has been at Fire Island for several weeks and leaves today for Northwestern Maine with Molly and my Aide and his wife.3 The plan is for me to fly up there in an amphibian and land on the lake, but I think there is small chance that I will get away. I have to fly up to the maneuvers in Northern New York next week and also to those in Wisconsin, some 100,000 troops in the first affair and 70,000 in the second, I believe.

All of this will probably bore you, but it at least [is] a record of what is happening to me, and notice that you are in my thoughts.4


Document Copy Text Source: Katherine T. Marshall Collection, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Viginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Lieutenant Colonel Orlando Ward, secretary of the General Staff, noted in his diary that Marshall had returned to the office on August 15 “full of ideas.” The next day was “an unusually busy day at the office. Got about a dozen directives out in connection with the discoveries that GCM had made on his inspection.” (Orlando Ward Diary, August 15 and 16, 1940, photocopy in GCMRL/Research File.)

2. As opposition in Congress to the selective service bill seemed to be growing, the measure’s supporters believed that it was important to convince Wendell L. Willkie, the Republican presidential candidate, and his running mate, Senate Minority Leader Charles L. McNary of Oregon, to endorse the bill. After the August 15 dinner, Marshall telephoned Secretary of War Stimson to say that he had talked with the senator and that McNary would vote for the bill. (August 15, 1940, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 30: 91-92].)

3. Lieutenant Colonel Claude M. Adams, who had recently been promoted, and his wife Ruth, were longtime friends of the Marshalls.

4. Mrs. Ames died September 1. Marshall served as an honorary pallbearer at her funeral in Boston, September 4. (Marshall to Mrs. Reynolds Brown, September 13, 1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected]; Boston Daily Globe, September 5, 1940, p. 15.)

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. 289-290.

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