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To Eugene V. Daly
May 22, 1917 [Governors Island, New York]
General Bell has received your letter of May 16th, and given it very careful consideration. Having received many other communications of a similar nature he turned the matter over to a committee of officers on his staff for report.1
He directs me to inform you that he agrees with you in believing it highly desirable to provide some means for utilizing the services of the large number of citizens who are disqualified in one way or another for the present military duties. Much as he would like to adopt some such scheme as you propose, he finds it utterly impossible for the military authorities at this time to plan or conduct anything of that nature.
We are suffering from a serious lack of sufficient officers and non-commissioned officers of the regular army, particularly at the larger headquarters and training camps. The commissioned officers now available are simply overwhelmed with work. Difficulty is being experienced in obtaining the necessary supplies for the present camps. Tentage is not available. Cantonments for some 200,000 men must be built in this department within two months.
After consideration of the above, I think you will understand why it is impractical and impossible at this stage of the war for the army authorities to undertake the instruction or employment of any groups of men outside of those regularly enlisted for service. It is hoped that after two or three months conditions may change, and the army authorities be enabled to take some action along the lines you suggest.
Very truly yours,
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (World War I) (RG 120), Seventy-seventh Division, Bell’s Correspondence File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Daly’s letter was prompted by his desire to serve the country in a military capacity while maintaining his business. He suggested that the army conduct half-day camps near the city for business and professional men between the ages of thirty-five and fifty.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 102-103.