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To Brigadier General Lesley J. McNair1
August 7, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear McNair:
I have just read your letter of August 3d, regarding the Field Service Regulations. They came up for consideration on Saturday morning from G-3, and I think the matter will be settled almost immediately. I talked over the whole business with Gruber, and like you, I feel that he has done splendid work.2
Now, as to your job: I hear on every hand the most flattering comments regarding your effect on Leavenworth. You apparently—to use a hackneyed word—have vitalized the place and yet in a most harmonious manner. I told you in our last conversation that you had the authority to proceed as seemed best to you to bring about the general ends we have in mind, and that you could do this without feeling the necessity for securing approval for the various steps. I spoke then as Deputy, with the concurrence of General Craig. I am writing now as Chief of Staff, to confirm in a more positive manner what I told you then. Anything I can do to assist, you command me; but I want you to feel perfectly free to act, and we all have complete confidence in your judgment, your leadership, and your integrity.
I hope I can get out to Leavenworth this fall and talk things over with you.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. McNair was commandant of the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
2. Colonel Edmund L. Gruber, chief of the Training Branch of the G-3 division of the General Staff, drafted the new Field Service Regulations. The Command and General Staff School reviewed that draft, made comments, but “did not challenge its fundamentals.” McNair praised the new regulations: “If such a publication is to be abreast of the times, it necessarily must deal boldly with the newer and more controversial aspects borne of modern developments. If it ducks them, it loses much of its value, and the service drifts—as it has done in the past. This draft faces the issues.” McNair wanted the new regulations to help fight the “inertia and intellectual resistance” to modernization in the army. (McNair to Marshall, August 3, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 30-31.