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To Mrs. Claude M. Adams
January 2, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Your birthday telegram arrived in the midst of a riding party breakfast with which we were celebrating the event, though why celebrate my increasing yearage is really a question. But it was good of you to remember me, and I wish you and Flap could have been with us.
I dictated a hurried note to him the other day and answered some of his questions.1 I wish you would reply with your views on the various phases of the situation. It seemed to me, at long range, that it might be an excellent thing to have him get a camouflage rest, as it were, before coming into Washington. I could have him ordered down for an inspection and then fix it up on a detached service basis or some other way to permit him to enjoy some of the beautiful late winter weather of the South and get thoroughly on his feet before coming in here.
I do not want you to show him this letter, because it would merely trouble him; but I should think it would be very important for him to get thoroughly strengthened up after the strain of the course at Leavenworth and following the attack he had. That is too serious to trifle with. What he probably would not understand is the terrific strain of things here in the War Department. We are doing so much, practically working on a war-time basis with all the difficulty and irritating limitations of peace-time procedure. You cannot imagine what happens here in a single day, and I would be deeply concerned over his taking on such a load before he had had a full opportunity to build up his resistance. Once in the machine here, it is very difficult to spare anybody because I have to work fast and rather ruthlessly, and we are under continuous pressure from the outside, which will increase tremendously with the convening of Congress. Forbearance and self-restraint are very wearing on the individual, and probably do more harm than violent physical exercise; and there will be a tremendous amount of that required this late winter and early spring.
Flap spoke about wanting to send his stuff here by van which, of course, involves the necessity of having an immediate place to set up a household. Would it not be a good thing to delay that, hold your quarters there, which you can do, and carry out that portion of the move later on.
Write to me direct, sending your letter to the office, and under no circumstances show this to Flap.2 I am injecting this dictation in the midst of the early morning business after the New Year’s week-end, so I must apologize for the form of the letter.
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. See Marshall to Major Claude M. Adams, December 28, 1939, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-093 [2: 121-23].
2. Ruth Adams responded that “Flap is so eager to rejoin you” that he would not want leave. “I cannot imagine and I’m sure he does not fully realize the tremendous strain under which you and your staff work. He thinks he is physically fit to take over anything you would want him to do.” (Mrs. Claude M. Adams to Marshall, January 6, 1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 133-134.