2-159 To Mrs. John J. Singer, April 16, 1940

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

To Mrs. John J. Singer

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

Dear Marie:

I have been trying to get a letter off to you since my return from Hawaii, but there are not enough hours in the day and I am terribly pressed with business every moment I am at the office.

Out at the house we have been suffering from a steady stream of luncheon guests and visitors.  Allen had his fiancée down;1 my new Aide, Major [Claude M.] Adams and his wife spent last week with us—they were out at Vancouver Barracks my last year there, and people have been pouring into town from all over the country in connection with legislation.  Going home from the Gridiron Dinner Saturday night,2 Katherine and I were taking stock of the week, and we found that someone had come out for lunch every day since the previous Sunday, along with Allen and Adams and their ladies, making six or eight for lunch on most days.  Then the next morning, last Sunday, we were about to have twenty for breakfast; in between times I work.

I am hard at it now with some important personnel legislation that I am trying to steer through Congress, and I am getting ready to appear before the Senate on the Appropriation bill, which was badly cut in the House.  Incidentally, last night I had a very successful talk with Senator Tydings.  We were at a dinner at the Canadian Minister’s, and he volunteered to take the lead in defending my point of view in the Senate.3

I have to be in New York the night of the 23d, but expect to fly from Mitchel Field to Fort Benning on the morning of the 24th and will be there for two days of Corps Maneuvers, and then will fly in to Charleston, South Carolina, on the morning of the 26th.  I am due to make a talk there, at the request of the Governor.  Katherine plans to get out of town on the 22d and motor down to K. & J. Metcalf’s near Georgetown, north of Charleston and she will meet me in Charleston; then, if I am not too pushed, we will motor back together—otherwise, I must fly.  It may be that I will have to return to Benning for three or four days for Maneuvers, but that will depend considerably on the pressure up here in connection with the passage of the Army Appropriation Bill.

As soon as we both get back the first week in May, before I leave again for the Sabine River Valley in Louisiana for the big Army Maneuvers about the 12th or 15th, we will have our last At Home.  It will run up to about 1200 people, I am afraid, but we are doing it as a Garden party; if the weather fails us it will be just too bad.  Katherine wants you to come down and spend a week with us at about that time.  We will let you know as soon as our return to town is certain and the dates are fixed.4

This is a very hasty note, but about three times as long as any you ever wrote to me.

With my love



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. Allen T. Brown, Marshall’s younger stepson, was engaged to be married on June 22 to Margaret Goodman Shedden of Westchester County, New York.

2. The Gridiron Club, a journalists’ organization, held its annual spring dinner on April 13.  The affair featured satirical political skits pertaining to the approaching national political conventions and to possible presidential candidates.  Club members performed for an audience which included President Roosevelt and numerous persons of importance in the government and in politics.

3. Marshall had written “confidential” in the left margin beside this paragraph.  Millard E. Tydings, a United States senator from Maryland since 1927, was a member of the Appropriations Committee.  He had written to Marshall in July 1939 to congratulate the new chief of staff and to offer his support in the Senate.  Marshall replied, “Your congratulations are genuinely appreciated, the more so as they come from a citizen soldier with an unusual battle record.  While I knew you as the Senator from Maryland, yet my interest and appreciation was largely based on the fact that in having a military text on tactics prepared at Benning, I found an incident of your participation in the Meuse-Argonne which was an outstanding example of the effect of successful leadership and technical efficiency on the battle-field, toward the success of an operation, particularly in conserving the lives of the soldiers involved.  I am referring to the reference to you in “Infantry in Battle,” a book which I understand has received more approval and consideration in England and Germany than among the home folks.” (Marshall to Tydings, July 12, 1939, GCMRL/G.C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

4. The Marshalls’ garden party was held on May 10 and attracted nearly two thousand guests.

Recommended Citation:  The Papers 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. 199–200.

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