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To Henry L. Stimson
December 22, 1927 Fort Benning, Georgia
My dear Governor Stimson,
Last evening a telegram arrived from The Adjutant General inquiring whether I desired to serve as “aide to Mr. Stimson, Governor General, Philippine Islands,” stating that it would be necessary for me to join you before sailing from New York January 20th.1 I telegraphed The Adjutant General that I did not desire the detail but greatly appreciated the invitation.
Necessarily a telegram to The Adjutant General did not afford much opportunity either to explain my action or to express my appreciation. I am deeply grateful to you for honoring me with this opportunity and I am concerned that you should know just what governed my decision.
Since my return this summer from three years in China I served a brief period as instructor at the War College and reported here last month for duty as Assistant Commandant of The Infantry School. General Ely had taken me to the War College and I felt much embarrassed at quitting that job so soon after my arrival there. I would feel even more embarrassed at leaving General Collins here after this brief period and in view of the effort he made to secure my services.
However, there was still another factor which really determined the matter for me. Back in the days when an aide was more or less an operations officer at headquarters, I served as aide-de-camp to General Liggett in the Philippines. On my return to San Francisco I was immediately detailed as aide-de-camp to General J. Franklin Bell. I left his staff to go to France with the First Division. In the Spring of 1919 when the Army Corps of which I was Chief of Staff was about to be demobilized, I was detailed as aide-de-camp to General Pershing. Now if I became an aide for the fourth time I fear, in fact I feel sure, that to the army at large I would be convicted of being only an aide and never a commander. With your familiarity with the service, I feel sure you will understand this point of view, for I wish you to know that I deeply appreciate your doing me the honor of considering me as a possible aide to the Governor General of the Philippines.2
With assurances of great respect,
Very sincerely yours,
G. C. Marshall, Jr.
Document Copy Text Source: Henry L. Stimson Papers, Yale University, Sterling Library, New Haven, Connecticut.
Document Format: Typed letter signed.
1. Formerly secretary of war (May, 1911-March, 1913), Stimson had been appointed to the Philippine post following Governor-General Leonard Wood’s death on August 7, 1927. Stimson’s party did not actually depart until February, 1928.
2. Stimson replied on January 21, 1928, that he could “appreciate perfectly your sound reasons for preferring military duty. I have never forgotten the impression of efficiency you made on me when you came to the school at Langres and I had the pleasure of talking with you as well as listening to your lecture." As a lieutenant colonel in the Seventy-seventh Division’s 305th Field Artillery, Stimson had attended the General Staff School at Langres, France, from February to May, 1918. From March 20 to 29, Marshall was at the school lecturing on administration. The two men shared a mess, at least part of that time, and went horseback riding together. (Marshall Interviews, p. 230.)
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), p. 322.