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Memorandum for General Andrews1
July 13, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
There is attached a letter which has just been received by the Secretary of War from Grenville Clark, also a letter from Colonel Adler to Mr. Johnson, and a draft of a reply to it, and a resolution from Howard Slade and Peter Jay, and a draft of reply for my signature. All pertain to the same problem, that of Business Men’s Training Camps in September.2
Confidentially, it appears to be the earnest, the rather intense desire of the Secretary of War to have us undertake these camps. He referred to this in the first few minutes of our first interview at his home on Long Island. He referred to this in the last few minutes of a conversation before he left the office yesterday to go to New York.
I am well aware of the difficulties. The problem is, how do we meet this particular situation? Colonel Stimson feels that such camps are a necessary movement to build up strong public opinion throughout the country to make the country acutely conscious of a unity of purpose towards preparations for the National Defense. The fact that the situation as to the War Department and the Army’s burden is vastly different now from what it was in 1916, at the time of the Leonard Wood Plattsburg Camps, is not realized other than by those of us who are deep in the problem here in the War Department.
Think this over during the week-end and talk to me about it Monday morning. What I want is your proposal as to how to put this matter up to the Secretary. I have already explained our difficulties, but the desire remains to conduct these camps. As a matter of fact, in our last conversation the Secretary suggested the possible desirability of calling off the National Guard Maneuvers. I mention this so you can understand the intensity of his views on the subject of the Business Men’s Training Camps.3
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Army Staff (RG 319), War Department, Chief of Staff of the Army, 326 [7-13-40], National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. Brigadier General Frank M. Andrews was assistant chief of staff for Operations and Training (G-3).
2. The Military Training Camps Association—of which Grenville Clark was a leader and Julius Ochs Adler of the New York Times and bankers Pierre Jay and Howard Slade of the Fiduciary Trust Company were vigorous supporters—sponsored annual month-long Citizens’ Military Training Camps in the summer for young men between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. Most of the public attention, however, focused on the “special” camps for older men, ranging in age from twenty-five to fifty. During July 1940, 3,000 business and professional men attended, at their own expense, eight training camps reminiscent of those held at Plattsburg, New York, in 1915 and 1916. A common assumption behind the special camps for older men was that “the blitzkrieg in the Low Countries and Northern France showed, among other things, that the physical requirements for a successful refugee may be more exacting than those for mechanized soldiering.” (Samuel T. Williamson, “Plattsburg, 1915-1940,” New York Times Magazine, July 28, 1940, p. 5.)
Secretary of War Stimson had attended the Plattsburg camp in 1916, and the man who was soon to become assistant secretary, Robert P. Patterson, was at the M.T.C.A. camp at this time. Marshall did not wish to offer commissions to camp graduates or to spare the Regular Army and Reserve Corps officers necessary to run them. The basis of planning for the September camps, according to Marshall’s handwritten addendum to the memorandum printed here, was 18,000 trainees; this would require establishing some twenty-five camps utilizing 575 officers.
3. On Tuesday, July 16, Andrews and Brigadier General William E. Shedd—assistant chief of staff for Personnel (G-1)—held a lengthy conference with Secretary Stimson on the army’s objections to holding the September camps. Afterwards, Stimson noted in his diary that canceling the camps “would be a great blow to the courage and enthusiasm of the Military Training Camps Association.” Moreover, the Plattsburg camps had demonstrated their value during the World War. “In the end I told them to hold up their report until later on and we could see better how the situation was turning out in regard to the passage of the Selective Service Act.” The camps would be less necessary if the draft bill passed quickly—which he doubted would happen. (July 16, 1940, Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 30: 12-13].) See Marshall to Davis, July 20, 1940, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-227 [2: 273-74].
Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 265-266.