2-117 To William Davey, January 29, 1940

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: January 29, 1940

To William Davey

January 29, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]

My dear Mr. Davey:

Your letter was received this morning, calling my attention to the inconvenience, as well as the irritation, of having soldiers on maneuvers in such close proximity to your house. I much regret that you have been disturbed and also that apparently you have been somewhat prejudiced against the Army.1

I was present on the West Coast when the landing was made at Monterey, though I was not able to remain long enough to see the development of the operations on shore. Under the circumstances—availability of land, character of the beaches, time restrictions, expense, etc., Monterey was the only place where this landing could be carried out; and there were serious risks in the operation even at Monterey.

Such training is essential both to the Army and for the Navy, just as similar training is essential for a baseball, football, or any other team. So far as possible we try to avoid any interference with the ordinary civil pursuits and with the affairs of citizens. Sometimes, as in this case at Monterey, it is impossible to stage the maneuvers at a distance from the local community. The Army, however, is but doing its best to prepare to perform the function for which it is supported by the citizens of this country.2

Faithfully yours,

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. Davey, an “irritated civilian” from Carmel, California, asked Marshall why “in the present war games on the Monterey Peninsula, is it necessary to have the Blues or the Blacks or whatever they are camping three feet from my window and actually leaning against my house? . . . It may be doing the Army a service even of the smallest to report that, aside from whatever tactical discoveries are achieved, the strategy of surrounding small non-combatant houses with groups of soldiers . . . is, from the point of view of the one living within the house, undoubtedly of low psychological value.” Davey hoped “that civilians still retain certain mythical ‘rights’, such as privacy.” (Davey to Marshall, n.d., GCMRL/G.C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)

2. In a letter written in February 1940, Davey expressed his “admiration for the really American dignity of your reply. . . . Such a direct reply certainly makes me think much of the Army with a Chief of Staff whose qualities transcend even the very high ones required.” (Davey to Marshall, n.d., GCMRL/G.C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)

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. 152-153.

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