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To Major General Walter C. Sweeney
October 23, 1939 [Washington, D.C.]
Just read your note of October 19 and I am writing to tell you most confidentially—for your eye only—what our plans are for the Third Division.1
I have directed that the time of the concentration of the Division be delayed, and for the same reason you present in your letter—the winter rains. On the other hand, we must get busy, and at the moment the Navy is working on the proposition—which I have put to them—for a landing operation. The idea is, the entire Third Division to be embarked in Puget Sound, partially on transports and partially on chartered shipping—and landing somewhere on the California coast between Santa Barbara and San Francisco. The exact point to be a secret. We are asking the Navy to turn out a cruiser division, a destroyer division and a couple of airplane carriers, and to cooperate with our GHQ Air Force Wing with some long distance reconnaissance seaplanes. The timing is the question of the moment. We are proposing to them the first part of January, but it may be they will be forced to give us early December. But the further point to the matter—and this must be regarded as most confidential until the very last moment—the Division will remain in the South until the rains break in the Northwest.
I have used the expression confidential and for your eye only because the problem in these matters is not the maneuvers so much as it is a question of meeting the political pressures. I spend my time now personally fighting a rear guard action to protect the concentrations we are about to carry out in the Southeast, against home station influences, and also against pressures to move the concentrations to the other areas. You will understand this situation.
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. Sweeney commanded the Third Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. He had written that it would be advantageous for the Third Division field training to be located in the South rather than at Fort Lewis. The weather at Fort Lewis was mostly rainy and chilly from November through February, and if concentrated there half of the personnel would he living in permanent quarters and half in tents. (Sweeney to Marshall, October 19,1939, G.C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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), pp. 93-94.