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To Major General David L. Stone1
February 18, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Stone:
. . . Walker has come back tremendously enthusiastic over Panama,2 and especially over the manner in which you made it possible for him to get a fine picture of the situation. I might tell you—and this is most confidential—that the increases for Panama in the way of quarters, personnel, and for the antiaircraft coast defense, were not in the picture at all, and had to be handled with considerable finesse. Actually, the President’s message did not include the appropriation requirements involved there, in the total he proposed in his bill. He merely referred to the importance of rectifying the situation, and the amount of money involved. We succeeded in having the matter handled in this manner, trusting that once it reached Congress from such an authoritative source, there might not be any quibble over increasing the totals involved. And this seems to be the case, so there should be no trouble about getting what is required. Of course, in this connection, there was never any question whatsoever in regard to the air increments, except as to the funds for the fields, the quarters, and the personnel. However, these are now on the program, and I hope will stay there.
In considering this whole matter, our great trouble is to maintain interest in the materiel items, because they lack all dramatic appeal; and therefore the money involved is always subject to the risk of being cut. However, we are making quite a struggle in regard to this phase of the affair, in the hope that for at least once in our history, in time of peace we can have modern equipment for the ground forces—though only for those now in the ranks in the Regular Army and the National Guard.
The maneuvers I have described above, please treat as most confidential—that is, for your eye only. Possibly I should not have included them in such a letter, but I knew you would be much interested.
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. Stone had commanded the Panama Canal Department since April, 1937. In the omitted thirty percent of this letter, Marshall requested stone to extend certain small courtesies to two friends who would he passing through the Canal zone.
2. Lieutenant Colonel Walton H. Walker was on duty in the War Plans Division.
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. 700-701.