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To Major General John F. Williams1
June 8, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Recently General Key, of the 45th Division, made an inquiry relative to the assignment of a Regular Army officer as Chief of Staff for his Division. I am attaching a copy of my reply to Key, for your information.2
Personally, I have not been in favor of piecemeal business about the detail of Regular Army officers to the National Guard. I think a formal policy should be worked out and adopted uniformly for the entire National Guard, which must mean, of course, the acquiescence of each state—a very difficult thing to launch. My conception of the most effective manner of increasing the staff efficiency of the National Guard and promoting its training, would be to fill certain positions with Regular officers, young ones given increased rank; to have all these officers forbidden by regulations from having anything whatever to do with promotions, selection of personnel, and local relations. To have them specifically charged with problems of training and particularly with the development of team work in the staffs.
The present is no time to bring this up, therefore I am not giving you this for distribution; rather, merely to give you my idea on the subject. I think the following posts in the National Guard should be filled, as vacancies occur, by young Regular officers on a three-year detail—maybe four: Division Chief of Staff, brigade and regimental executive officers. With such an arrangement I do not think it would be necessary to detail instructors with the National Guard, because the posts I have mentioned are proper positions for officers engaged in instructional work. Incidentally, they could do their job as instructor with authority from such posts, whereas at present it is by indirection or circumlocution.
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. Williams was chief of the National Guard Bureau.
2. Major General William S. Key, an Oklahoma oil producer, commanded the National Guard division which included units from Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Marshall’s letter to him of May 17 (NA/ RG 165 [OCS ,18107-32]) was similar in content to this document.
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), p. 240.