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To Robert R. McCormick
August 28, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Dear Colonel McCormick:
Thanks for your comments on the TRIBUNE editorial “Negroes in the Army.”1
The negro strength of the Regular Army is being more than doubled and will include a new regiment of Field Artillery, one of Engineers, two antiaircraft artillery battalions, and a number of smaller units. The older regiments are organized and functioning definitely on a combat basis. Even so, the problem is a delicate one and a constant, almost daily embarrassment to the War Department.2 I appreciate, therefore, all the more your attitude.
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. The August 16 Chicago Daily Tribune editorial (p. 12) castigated the army for discriminating against black soldiers. “The army’s prejudice against colored troops is only one of its numerous stupidities that should be abandoned in the interest of sound national defense.” McCormick, the newspaper’s publisher, told Marshall that the editorial had been printed in his absence. (McCormick to Marshall, August 21, 1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].) No copy of McCormick’s comments on the editorial was found in the Marshall papers.
2. A total number of 4,595 enlisted men were to be added with these units. “The War Department is of the opinion that the above action will remove any criticism of prejudicial treatment of the Negro race by the Army.” (Marshall Memorandum for [Acting Secretary of War] Mr. Johnson, July 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. 297-298.