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To Major General George A. White [s. Holman]1
January 24, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear General White:
While I have had but a brief opportunity to familiarize myself with matters here in Washington, yet so much has been happening in the way of proposals for the national defense that I have progressed rather rapidly along that line.
A great deal has been said to me about the defenses of the Columbia, in respect to a submarine station, and regarding the further development of the coast defenses. I am soliciting detailed information from the Navy Department regarding their phase of the matter, and am asking the Chief of Coast Artillery for information regarding the coast defensive measures necessary. However, I find that the recent War Department proposal, in consequence of the President’s message, provides $110,000,000 for the purchase of modern equipment for the ground forces. I am told that this means not only tremendous improvement in our materiel situation for anti-aircraft defense but that it will permit the placing in the hands of your Division, for example, the new rifles, anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns; that it will permit the modernization of all of your artillery, and will provide a proper reserve of ammunition. It seems to me that this particular phase of the proposed measure will have a more important effect on the national defense than anything else that is being attempted, not even excepting an increase in the Air Corps; because, as I understand it, the ground forces are the very foundation of our defense, Navy, Air or Coast.
I would like to have your advice and suggestions in this matter.
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. Marshall inclosed this draft in a letter to Senator Rufus C. Holman dated January 24, 1939. (GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 686-687.