To Major General Johnson Hagood
April 8, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
I have received your note of April fifth asking a few minutes of my time in order to discuss a revision of the original article on me in the Saturday Evening Post at the time of my appointment as Chief of Staff, with a view to its being included in a book under the caption of "These Are The Generals".1
I should be delighted to talk to you for a few minutes, but I am very sorry that I cannot discuss this particular matter. It has been necessary for me to adopt an uncompromising attitude on the subject of personal publicity and I would be severely criticized if it became known that I had varied from this attitude in your case. Confidentially, it has been necessary for me to prevent the publication of a couple of books devoted to my affairs and this has not been done without considerable difficulty as the writer had of course a financial consideration in mind since this was his business. In the same way I have had to suppress special articles for Collier's and several other papers. So my position is a rather delicate one.
Right or wrong, my best judgment indicates that this sort of publicity in the long run is harmful to the efficient discharge of my duties. It inevitably introduces too much of the personal element. It is impossible for me to escape a certain amount of publicity in the daily press, but other than that it merely weakens my position. Therefore I regret that I cannot oblige and I am very sorry in your particular case.
I shall be glad to see you if you come to town, but I cannot talk about the article and nothing in the interview could be used in connection with such an article.2
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Hagood had written an article about General Marshall entitled "Soldier" for the July 15, 1939, issue of the Saturday Evening Post, pp. 25, 62–64. He had written to Marshall that Alfred Knopf was republishing in book form several articles appearing in the Saturday Evening Post. (Hagood to Marshall, April 5, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)
2. Hagood agreed with Marshall's position on the matter of personal publicity and admired it as "additional evidence of your fine character and unselfish devotion to duty." (Hagood to Marshall, April 10, 1943, ibid.)
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 636–637.