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To Major General Roy D. Keehn
February 26, 1936 [Chicago, Illinois]
My dear General:
I have just finished reading your letter of February 23d (per secretary Kay Keehn1—to whom congratulations are extended). Also I have just finished telephone conversation with Corps Area Headquarters and learned that Governor Horner finally has answered General McCoy’s telegram of ten days ago requesting his concurrence in the date for the maneuvers.
The adjustment of dates and places has been one of exceeding difficulty. In the first place, and this is most confidential, the Governor of Ohio declined to permit his troops to participate. General McCoy rode along with this impasse for two months, keeping the matter quiet and endeavoring to find out just what the trouble was. While he has not told me, I understand indirectly, that pressure in Ohio came from the merchants and other business interests connected with Camp Perry, who did not want to lose their summer “take.” Finally, however, at the last meeing of the Adjutants General of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia, which General McCoy attended at Columbus, Ohio, the Adjutant General of Ohio told him that the Governor acquiesced in the participation of the Ohio troops. This I understand—again most indirectly—was due to the tremendous howl that went up from the troops when they found out they were going to be left out. All this has been kept entirely quiet, and I don’t think anything is known of it outside of Ohio—which saves embarrassment.
After a long discussion with all the various states, an adjustment was finally reached as to dates. Each Governor was then approached by General McCoy by telegram to secure a definite statement of acquiescence. The wire to Governor Horner reached Springfield the day he left for Florida and his people there would not forward anything to him in Florida. Since his return we could get no answer out of him. Meanwhile, all the other states were wiring Corps Area to make the announcement so they could go ahead with their plans—and particularly so they could inform employers the period for which summer leaves would be desired for the Guard personnel. Also, Washington began pressing General McCoy for an announcement so they could go ahead with their part of the affair. I got Regan,2 who was in Rockford night before last with a council meeting, to talk to the Governor over the telephone. As a matter of fact, the Governor called him for something else. Regan said he could get no where with the Governor in an understanding of the situation. Yesterday noon he went to Springfield and said he would try to make the picture clear to the Governor and get an answer out of him for General McCoy. This morning Corps Area Headquarters tells me they received letter from General Black conveying the Governor’s agreement to the date mentioned.
The training period will commence August 8th. The troops of the Sixth Corps—32nd and 33d Divisions, and a skeleton regular division, will concentrate close to Lake Michigan between Holland and South Haven. After a preliminary period of training within each division, the force will move eastward. The actual details of the maneuver movements have not been sufficiently worked out for a final conclusion to be arrived, but this will now be carried to a head very rapidly and announcements should follow shortly.
I understand the Army Appropriation Bill has cleared the House and will shortly be taken up by the Senate. It carries the necessary amount for these maneuvers; very small, but just what the budget authorities authorized.
I suppose you have been interested in reading about General Hagood’s relief from command, following his testimony before a committee of Congress. I notice quite a drastic editorial in the Chicago Tribune on the subject this morning.3
The staff had a prolonged meeting Monday night, working out final details of their preparation for the War Game finale on Sunday, March 1st. I think this experiment, and that they will get on Sunday, is going to prove very helpful next summer. This is the first time the Division Staff has carried out all its functions in such an affair, and their interest has been stimulated by the fact that they have an enemy of unknown strength composed of organized reserve units. These last will function in the War Game Sunday. Old Colonel Fox, who presides at the Planetarium, is one of the reserve commanders and has gotten quite excited over the situations in which he has found himself during the preliminary map problem phase of the Game.
It turned very warm here Sunday, and was almost balmy yesterday. Today it is slightly cold but a soft snow has turned into a disagreeable drizzle. Am awfully sorry that you are having such hard luck with the weather but the curse seems to spread over the whole United States. My sister was at Palm Beach for a month in January and February, and could go in bathing only three times. Then she stopped for a visit in North Carolina and struck snow and sleet up there.
If I were you I wouldn’t worry about how well you will feel up to the proposition of camp life during maneuvers. There is plenty of time to settle that next June or even July. Don’t concern yourself about it now. Your only thought should be concentrated on getting thoroughly strong again, and I am hoping that business considerations have not troubled you too seriously.
With affectionate regards,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Illinois National Guard, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Roy D. Keehn’s daughter.
2. Colonel Lawrence V. Regan was chief of staff at Thirty-third Division headquarters in Chicago.
3. In testifying before a House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee on December 17, 1935, Major General Johnson Hagood complained of the difficulties the army had in maintaining quarters for its troops at a time when there was a great deal of money for Works Progress Administration projects. Referring to the four billion dollars Congress appropriated for the W.P.A. the previous year, Hagood said, “I call it stage money because you can pass it around but you cannot get anything out of it in the end." He added that “much of the stage money is being wasted." Hagood’s testimony was published on February 10, 1936. The War Department relieved him of command of the Eighth Corps Area on February 21. Restored to command in April, he retired at the end of May. (New York Times, February 11, February 25, and April 14, 1936.) The Chicago Daily Tribune editor observed that Hagood had broken the Roosevelt Administration’s rule that “the greater the truth, the greater the offense." (“A General is Sent Home,” February 26, 1936.)
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. 487-489.