1-372 To Silas H. Strawn, March 12, 1935

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: March 12, 1935

To Silas H. Strawn1

March 12, 1935 [Chicago, Illinois]

My dear Mr. Strawn:

Apropos of our conversation the other night at the Bernay’s dinner, I am sending you a copy of the March number of The ILLINOIS GUARDSMAN, in the hope that you will read the editorial on pages 22 and 23.2 On page 5 you will find extracts from General Keehn’s recent testimony before the Military Committee of Congress, which gives some idea of the present problems of the Guard.

Frankly, as a regular officer charged with assisting in the development of efficiency in the State troops, I have been much impressed—and somewhat nonplused—by the general indifference of the citizens of Chicago to the Guard. I was hurriedly sent out here in October 1933 because of the threat of serious disorders by the unemployed, at a time when 150,000 families in Cook County were without work and the legislature had refused or failed to appropriate relief funds. The CWA was then unheard of. To my surprise, I found most of my civilian friends utterly indifferent to the Guard, or almost completely ignorant of its organization, strength, efficiency and importance to the then threatening situation.

I am deeply interested in the development of civilian support and appreciation of these State-Federal troops, as their efficiency is directly influenced by the lack or fact of public interest in their organization, and their efficiency is a matter of great importance to the National Defense, as well as to the local situation in Illinois.3

Faithfully yours,

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Strawn was an influential Chicago lawyer and a former president of the United States Chamber of Commerce (1931-32).

2. The editorial (“Chicago and Illinois”) restated a theme which had concerned Marshall since he had arrived in Illinois: “What do the business men of Chicago, the bankers and lawyers know of the organization and purpose of the National Guard. It has their remote approval, but how many of them realize its potential importance to the city?”

3. Strawn replied that he was interested in helping, and he and Marshall arranged to meet to discuss the problem. (Strawn to Marshall, March 14, 1935, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Illinois National Guard].)

Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 460-461.

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