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To Robert Woods Bliss1
March 6, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
I had thought that I should probably see you at the Alibi dinner Saturday night but as I find I shall not be there I purpose taking up in writing what I had intended to discuss casually with you when next I saw you.
The various moves we made in connection with Sir John Dill have all been carried out except the last one I had in mind, that is, the question of a suitable memorial.
Most confidentially, I prepared a resolution which was introduced by Senator Connally and passed by Congress; I also prepared before his death a citation for the Distinguished Service Medal by the President.2 Copies of both of these are inclosed.
I have had in mind that with his interment in Arlington and with the reservation of a considerable area surrounding his grave—which has already been done by order of the Secretary of War—the final move would be to arrange for a bronze plaque carrying the presidential citation and the resolution of Congress, which last is unique as it is without any precedent. These two statements would satisfy all the purposes of such a plaque. However, both Nancy and I felt that it would be a wonderful thing if we could have an equestrian statue of Dill erected immediately over his grave and without any pedestal, so that it would have very much the appearance of a man in real life riding between the trees at the location of his grave. The plaque should probably be placed at some point near one of the two road junctions bordering the lot so that the passerby would be inclined to read the statements thereon in satisfying curiosity as to the statue.
In all of these matters I have had in mind the perpetuation of Dill’s influence on British-American relations as being an important consideration towards the future.3
When I first prepared the draft of the resolution for Congress I had in mind including an appropriation but Senator Connally was much opposed to this and I think he was right. Now the question is the raising of the necessary funds which are estimated to be approximately $25,000. Nancy was rather fearful of raising any funds because she thought the control of what the statue might be would get out of hand and she was very anxious that it should be pretty much the opposite of those equestrian affairs we see about Washington, specifying a Virginia hunter type and an ordinary posture.
I had in mind the possibility that at least in name if not in working fact the matter might be handled through the English-Speaking Union and it was regarding this that I wished to get your views.
This is a very hastily dictated note and I shall be glad to talk to you about this at some later date.4
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. Bliss, a retired diplomat, served as a consultant to the secretary of state.
2. For information regarding the White House ceremony at which time President Roosevelt presented to Lady Dill the awards honoring Sir John Dill, see Marshall Memorandum for the President, January 2, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-004 [5: 5-6].
3. The chief of staff outlines his campaign to honor Dill in Marshall to Winant, January 5, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-009 [5: 11-14].
4. General Marshall met with Bliss the next day to discuss an appropriate statue of Sir John Dill. (McCarthy Memorandum for Miss Nason, March 7, 1945, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) Bliss served as chairman of the Dill Memorial Committee responsible for raising the necessary funds. For more information regarding the memorial to Dill, see Marshall to Angell, December 9, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-291 [5: 381-82].
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 80-81.