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To Sol Bloom1
January 29, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Mr. Bloom:
I am much embarrassed by the press reports of an interview with me yesterday afternoon, and deeply concerned because this may cause the members of your committee to feel that I have not acted with complete good faith regarding my appearance before the committee in executive session.
The facts are these: For some time a press conference had been scheduled for Monday, but when I received the Committee’s invitation to appear on Monday, the date was advanced to Tuesday, not anticipating that my testimony would cover two days. A delay of the press conference until next week was not considered advisable by my people because the newspaper men were growing very restless in their desire to interview me since I had not seen them for about two months. A later date this week was not practicable because of interference with other War Department press conferences.
It was my intention at the conference to confine myself to affairs of our Army, but the newspaper men appeared solely interested in things abroad, and as the basis of my relations with them has been one of extreme frankness, I found myself in an embarrassing situation. It was the understanding that no reference should be made to my appearance before your committee or to my views regarding the “lease-loan” bill. However, while in the main they observed this request, yet there was sufficient by way of implication to cause me deep concern.2
I wish you to know the facts in the case, as it is quite evident that the holding of the conference yesterday afternoon was ill advised. I hope you will accept my regrets as most sincere.
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. Sol Bloom, Democrat from New York, was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
2. At a press conference on Tuesday, January 28, 1941, Marshall contended that Britain could withstand an invasion if provided with lend-lease aid. He claimed that the United States Army Air Corps was sufficient to resist any enemy “under present conditions” but inadequate for defense if Britain surrendered. The chief of staff stated that the United States was not finished with the first phase of its expansion program and was “not planning to spare any of our existing air equipment to the British because we have not yet filled out our own program.” (New York Times, January 29, 1941, pp. 1, 6.)
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. 400-401.