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Memorandum for the President
July 17, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
I am taking the liberty of presenting a suggestion regarding certain arrangements for the Secretary of War, Colonel Stimson’s comfort and convenience.
Colonel Stimson’s home on Long Island is about fifteen to twenty minutes’ drive from Mitchel Field and, therefore, he can conveniently leave his desk in the War Department for the week-end and be at his home in Long Island in about an hour and forty-five minutes—even more quickly if the wind is favorable. This, of course, assumes the use of an Army plane.
The trouble is Colonel Stimson, I am certain, would feel obligated to make the trip with Mrs. Stimson by commercial plane—as he did in returning to the office last Monday morning.1 Travel by this means confines him to a commercial schedule and involves a lengthy drive from his home to LaGuardia Field, Flushing, and would lack the restful convenience and quiet of an Army plane.
Colonel Stimson’s burden, particularly during the next two months, will be tremendous. He is seventy-two years of age. I think it would be a direct contribution to the efficiency with which he discharges his duties as Secretary of War if the President thought it practicable, and desirable, to inform Colonel Stimson that there is no objection to Mrs. Stimson’s travelling with him on his trips between Washington and Mitchel Field, Long Island, and return.
This is being presented to the President direct because I feel certain that Colonel Stimson himself would never raise the question.2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. In his diary on July 15, Stimson observed that the military plane to and from Mitchel Field “would have been much more convenient but on thinking it over, I decided not to do it, in view of the present regulation against taking women on an Army plane. I did not wish to break that, even though it seems to have been quite the custom in the past to do so among congressmen and others, so I decided to, as long as the regulation stood, go by commercial plane and I cancelled my own plane and got tickets at LaGuardia Field.” (Yale/H. L. Stimson Papers [Diary, 30:10].)
2. Secretary Stimson began using his transport plane on July 19. (Ibid., p. 25.)
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), p. 268.