America's Retreat from Victory - Joseph McCarthy

Background Leading Up to the Marshall Speech

On June 14, 1951, I reviewed the public career of George Catlett Marshall from the beginning of World War II before the United States Senate. It was an exhaustive review, running to 72,000 words, drawn from the acknowledged sources of this period.

Among the questions raised by that speech were these: What were McCarthy's motives? Why did McCarthy single out the Secretary of Defense and spend so much time preparing such a searching documentation of his history?

Those questions recalled the advice given me by some of my friends before I gave the history of George Marshall. "Don't do it, McCarthy," they said. "Marshall has been built into such a great hero in the eyes of the people that you will destroy yourself politically if you lay hands on the laurels of this great man."

My answer to those well-meaning friends was that the reason the world is in such a tragic state today is that too many politicians have been doing only that which they consider politically wise—only that which is safe for their own political fortunes.

My discussion of General Marshall's career arose naturally and inevitably out of a long and anxious study of the retreat from victory which this Administration has been beating since 1945. In company with so many of my fellow citizens I have become alarmed and dismayed over our moral and material enfeeblement.

The fact that 152 million American people are officially asked by the party in power to adopt Marshall's global strategy during a period of time when the life of our civilization hangs in the balance would seem to make it imperative that his complete record be subjected to the searching light of public scrutiny.

As a backdrop for the history of Marshall which I gave on June 14, there is the raw, harsh fact that since World War II the free world has been losing 100 million people per year to international Communism. If I had named the men responsible for our tremendous loss, all of the Administration apologists and the camp-following elements of press and radio led by the Daily Worker would have screamed "the Big Lie," "irresponsible," "smear," "Congressional immunity," etc., etc., etc. However, it was the Truman branch of the Democratic Party meeting at Denver, Colorado, which named the men responsible for the disaster which they called a "great victory"—Dean Gooderham Acheson and George Catlett Marshall. By what tortured reasoning they arrived at the conclusion that the loss of 100 million people a year to Communism was a "great victory," was unexplained.

The general picture of our steady, constant retreat from victory, with the same men always found at the time and place where disaster strikes America and success comes to Soviet Russia, would inevitably have caused me, or someone else deeply concerned with the history of this time, to document the acts of those molding and shaping the history of the world over the past decade. However, an occurrence during the MacArthur investigation was the immediate cause of my decision to give the Senate and the country the history of Marshall.

A deeply disturbed Senator from the Russell Committee came to my office for information. "McCarthy," he said, "I have always considered Marshall as one of our great heroes and I am sure that he would knowingly do no wrong. But, McCarthy," he said, "tell me who prejudiced the thinking of this great man? Why, for example, did he keep from Roosevelt the complete and correct intelligence reports at Yalta? Why did he, as Roosevelt's military adviser, approve that Yalta agreement which was drafted by Hiss, Gromyko, and Jebb? Who persuaded him to disregard the intelligence report of 50 of his own officers, all with the rank of colonel or above—an intelligence report which urged a course directly contra to what was done at Yalta and confirmed at Potsdam?"

He handed a copy of that report to me and asked: "Why did a man of Marshall's intelligence ignore such a report as this compiled by 50 of his own top intelligence officers?" The report, dated April 12, 1945, read as follows:

"The entry of Soviet Russia into the Asiatic war would be a political event of world-shaking importance, the ill effect of which would be felt for decades to come. Its military significance at this stage of the war would be relatively unimportant. . . The entry of Soviet Russia into the Asiatic war would destroy America's position in Asia quite as effectively as our position is now destroyed in Europe east of the Elbe and beyond the Adriatic.

"If Russia enters the Asiatic war, China will certainly lose her independence, to become the Poland of Asia; Korea, the Asiatic Rumania; Manchuria, the Soviet Bulgaria. Whether more than a nominal China will exist after the impact of the Russian armies is felt is very doubtful. Chiang may well have to depart and a Chinese Soviet government may be installed in Nanking which we would have to recognize.

"To take a line of action which would save few lives now, and only a little time—at an unpredictable cost in lives, treasure, and honor in the future—and simultaneously destroy our ally China, would be an act of treachery that would make the Atlantic Charter and our hopes for world peace a tragic farce.

"Under no circumstances should we pay the Soviet Union to destroy China. This would certainly injure the material and moral position of the United States in Asia."

Marshall had ignored this report.

The Senator went on. "McCarthy," he said, "who of evil allegiance to the Kremlin sold him on the disastrous Marshall Mission to China, where Marshall described one of his own acts as follows: "As Chief-of-Staff I armed 39 anti-Communist divisions. Now with a stroke of a pen I disarm them"?

"When that was done," the Senator asked, "who then persuaded Marshall to open Kalgan Mountain Pass, with the result that the Chinese Communists could make contact with the Russians and receive the necessary arms and ammunition to overrun all of China?

"McCarthy, who on earth could have persuaded Marshall to side with Acheson and against American interests on the question of Formosa and the use of the Chinese Nationalist troops?"

Upon searching for the answers for the Senator, I found to my surprise that no one had ever written the history of Marshall—Marshall, who, by the alchemy of propaganda, became the "greatest living American" and the recently proclaimed "master of global strategy" by and for the party in power. In view of the fact that the committee, the Congress, and the American people were being called upon to endorse or reject Marshall's "global strategy," I felt it was urgent that such a study be made and submitted to the Congress and the people.

I decided that the record of Marshall's unbroken series of decisions and acts, contributing so greatly to the strategy of defeat, should be given not from the pens and lips of his critics but from sources friendly to him. I drew on the written record—on the memoirs of the principal actors in the great events of the last ten years. I drew heavily from the books out of which the history of these times will be written for the next 500 years; I drew from the pens of Winston Churchill, Admiral William Leahy, Cordell Hull, Henry L. Stimson, James F, Byrnes, Sumner Welles, Edward Stettinius, Jr, Robert Sherwood, Hanson Baldwin, General H. H. Arnold, General Claire Chennault, General Lucius Clay, General Mark Clark, General John R. Deane, General Omar Bradley, and others. No one of them alone was trying to or did give anything remotely approaching a complete record of Marshall. The picture emerges, however, as we piece together their recollection of the events in which he figures—oftentimes fragmentary, never directly uncomplimentary, but when fitted together, pointing unerringly to one conclusion.

It is from those sources, plus the State Department's record taken from Marshall's own files, that the picture becomes generally complete.

As I commenced to write this history of Marshall, one of the first things that impressed me was that Marshall, one of the most powerful men in the world during the past ten years, is one of the least known public figures. He shuns publicity. Back in 1943, Sidney Shalett, eulogizing Marshall in the New York Times magazine, quoted him as having said: "No publicity will do me no harm, but some publicity will do me no good." This perhaps is why Marshall stands alone among the wartime leaders in that he has never written his own memoirs or allowed anyone else to write his story for him.

One of the criticisms of the June 14 speech was that it was inadequate because of the omission of any references to Marshall's history prior to the winter of 1941 and 1942. I think this criticism is perhaps well taken. For that reason, I shall here attempt to cover briefly the pertinent aspects of Marshall's earlier history.

He was graduated from Virginia Military Institute and soon thereafter entered the army as a second lieutenant. He served creditably in World War I, finally at the end of that war reaching a position on General Pershing's staff which brought him the friendship of that great soldier. The postwar years are more pertinent because, having reverted to his permanent rank as Captain, Marshall underwent the usual disappointments and the boredom of our peacetime army. In his case, the disappointments were perhaps more grievous than with most of his fellow officers. In the American Mercury for March 1951, Walter Trohan published a sketch of General Marshall's career under the title "The Tragedy of George Marshall." The article is a study of Marshall's army life prior to accession to the office of Chief of Staff. Trohan deals with what must have been the gravest disappointment that befell Marshall. This happened in 1933. According to Trohan, Marshall, growing impatient over slow promotion, besought the intercession of General Pershing with General Douglas MacArthur, who was Chief of Staff. As Trohan puts it:

"MacArthur was ready to oblige, but insisted that the promotion go through regular channels. Pershing agreed, confident Marshall could clear the hurdles. Friendly examination of the Marshall record showed what his superiors regarded as insufficient time with troops. MacArthur proposed to remedy this, giving him command of the Eighth Regiment at Fort Screven, Ga., one of the finest regiments in the army.

"Marshall was moved up from lieutenant-colonel to colonel, but his way to a general's stars appeared to be blocked forever when the Inspector General reported that under one year of Marshall's command the Eighth Regiment had dropped from one of the best regiments in the army to one of the worst. MacArthur regretfully informed Pershing that the report made promotion impossible. To this day Marshall is uneasy in the presence of MacArthur."

A footnote to that version appears in the quasi-biography written by Mrs. George C. Marshall in 1946 and published under the title Together. After Colonel Marshall had been removed from command at Fort Screven, he left for Fort Moultrie in South Carolina. The residence of the Commanding Officer of that post was a large, rambling structure, replete with 42 French doors opening on two verandas. Mrs. Marshall, as she reports it, had barely provided 325 yards of curtains for the French doors when orders came transferring her husband to Chicago as senior instructor of the Illinois National Guard. Mrs. Marshall describes what ensued in these words on page 18 of Together:

"He [Colonel Marshall] wrote to General MacArthur, then Chief of Staff, that he was making the first request for special consideration that he had ever made while in the Army. After four years as an instructor at Fort Benning, he felt it would be fatal to his future if he was taken away from troops and placed on detached service instructing again. He asked that he might remain with his regiment . . . .

"We left for Chicago within a week. The family, my daughter and two sons, waited in Baltimore until we could find a place to live.

"Those first months in Chicago I shall never forget. George had a gray, drawn look which I had never seen before and have seldom seen since."

This was in 1933. Six years later, Marshall, who had been relieved of the command of a regiment by Douglas MacArthur, would be placed by Roosevelt in command of the entire United States Army. What happened to change the unsuccessful regimental commander into the first choice of the President for the highest army post still remains somewhat shrouded in mystery. Did Marshall rise during those six years on sheer merit? Was his military worth so demonstrated that he became the inevitable choice for the Chief of Staff upon the retirement of Malin Craig? Or were there political considerations that turned failure into success?

During the early years of the late depression the army was extensively employed by President Roosevelt in setting up his social welfare projects. The army supplied much of the high personnel for WPA. Many officers who there established contact with Harry L. Hopkins later reaped high command as a result. So it was with the CCC—Civilian Conservation Corps. At Fort Screven, Marshall had under his command the CCC activities of Georgia and Northern Florida. At Moultrie he directed the CCC in South Carolina. As we read Mrs. Marshall's biography, we note that Marshall devoted care and attention to his labors with the CCC. Mrs. Marshall wrote:

"I accompanied him on many of his inspection trips to these camps and always attended the opening of a new camp, of which he made quite a gala occasion."

That year, one of the camps under Marshall's supervision was rated the best in the United States. His activities in charge of CCC camps commended Marshall to the favorable notice of those persons in Washington interested in the CCC camps. Among them were Mrs. Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins, and Aubrey Williams, head of the National Youth Administration. However short Colonel Marshall's record as a regimental commander may have fallen in the eyes of the Inspector General and the Chief of Staff, his CCC exertions made him friends who perhaps were far more influential in his later career.

After 1933, when Marshall failed to be promoted to general because the Inspector General of the Army reported he was incompetent to handle troops, Marshall apparently discovered that there were other avenues to promotion and power outside the narrow military channels.

I think it is necessary, if we are fully to understand General Marshall, to see the disappointed and frustrated 52-yearold colonel of 1933 in the background of the world-famous Chief of Staff of 1945. At what point and with whom did he forge the alliances that suddenly were to propel him out of his obscurity into high position in 1939? Marshall, incidentally, is practically the only military man in the history of the world who received high rank with such a lack of combat duties. I know of no other general who served in the military through as many wars as Marshall with less participation in the combat of a single one.

In 1936 he became a brigadier and was appointed to command the Seventh Infantry Brigade at Vancouver Barracks, Washington, an old frontier post across the river from Portland, Oregon. It was at Vancouver that Marshall first reached the attention of the general public. His first appearance in the New York Times Index occurs in the fall of 1936. It grew out of the circumstance that the Soviet transpolar fliers, headed for a reception in Oakland, landed instead on the small airfield of Vancouver Barracks, where General Marshall was the commanding officer.

General Marshall came to Washington in the summer of 1938 as Assistant Chief of Staff in charge of War Planning. In less than a year's time, President Roosevelt sent for him to announce that he was to succeed General Craig upon his retirement as Chief of Staff in September. It came as a shock, because the public had expected General Hugh Drum to be appointed. Roosevelt had jumped Marshall over the heads of 20 major-generals and 14 senior brigadiers. The appointment was generally accepted as a personal one. Roosevelt, it was assumed, had followed his own judgment rather than the consensus of high army authorities, active and retired. We know from Robert Sherwood's book Roosevelt and Hopkins that Hopkins favored Marshall's appointment. It was also favored by Mrs. Roosevelt.

The part of General Marshall's career as Chief of Staff that relates to the activities of the enemies of our country has received too little notice. We know that the army, while Marshall was Chief of Staff, commissioned known Communists during World War II. [Note: Special Committee of the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, February-March hearings; pp. 3391-93.]

While Marshall was Chief of Staff, there occurred the famous incident of the attempted destruction of the files, wherein the Army, acting under the highest authority, set out illegally to destroy the Army's counter-intelligence files on subversives, including civilians as well as officers and men. That unlawful attempt to protect enemies of our country, men who are by definition servants of Soviet interests, was frustrated only through the vigilance of Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire. I do not know whether the motion so to protect Communists in the army originated with General Marshall. I do know that it could hardly have reached the stage of action without his approval.

This generally hits the high points in Marshall's history up to the point where I picked it up in my speech of June 14. However, I note that in the history of Marshall covering the past ten years, I omitted a number of points of some interest during his tenure as Secretary of State. For example, during this time a Senate committee sent him a confidential report, which is here reproduced;

June 10, 1947

Memorandum to Secretary of State George C. Marshall

"It becomes necessary due to the gravity of the situation to call your attention to a condition that developed and still flourishes in the State Department under the administration of Dean Acheson.

"It is evident that there is a deliberate, calculated program being carried out not only to protect Communist personnel in high places, but to reduce security and intelligence protection to a nullicy.

"Regarding the much-publicized MARZANI case, the evidence brought out at his trial was well known to State Department officers, who ignored it and refused to act for a full year.

"MARZANI and several other Department officials, with full knowledge of the State Department, and with Government time and money, promoted a scheme called PRESENTATION, Inc., which contracted with a Communist dominated organization to disseminate propaganda.

"Security objections to these and other even more dangerous developments were rebuffed by high administrative officials; and there followed the substitution of unqualified men for the competent, highly respected personnel who theretofore held the intelligence and security assignments in the Department. The new chief of Controls is a man utterly devoid of background and experience for the job who is, and at the time of his appointment was known to those who appointed him to be, a cousin and close associate of a suspected Soviet espionage agent. The next development was the refusal of the FBI, G-2, ONI, and other federal agencies to continue the whole-hearted cooperation they had for years extended to the State Department.

"On file in the Department is a copy of a preliminary report of the FBI on Soviet espionage activities in the United States, which involves a large number of State Department employees, some in high official positions. This report has been challenged and ignored by those charged with the responsibility of administering the Department, with the apparent tacit approval of Mr. Acheson. Should this case break before the Stare Department acts, it will be a national disgrace.

"Voluminous files are on hand in the Department proving the connection of State Department employees and officials with this Soviet espionage ring. Despite this, only two persons, one of whom is MARZANI, were released under the McCarran rider because of their subversive activity. [Nine other named persons] are only a few of the hundreds now employed in varying capacities who are protected and allowed to remain despite the fact that their presence is an obvious hazard to national security. There is also the extensive employment in highly classified positions of admitted homosexuals, who are historically known to be security risks.

"The War and Navy Departments have been thwarted for a year in their efforts to carry out the German Scientist program. They are blocked by one man in the State Department, a protégé of Acheson named ___________________, who is also the chief instrument in the subverting of the overall security program.

"This deplorable condition runs all the way up and down the line. Assistant Secretary Braden also surrounded himself with men like __________ and _______________ who bears a notorious international reputation. The network also extends into the office of Assistant Secretary Benton.

"Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
[Signatures of Committee members]

This report was completely ignored by Marshall. He failed to take any action of any kind on it. In fact, he did not even give the Committee the courtesy of acknowledging the report.

He did act, however, and very promptly, in another case. On Friday, June 16, 1948, while Marshall was Secretary of State, Robert C. Alexander, who was employed in the Visa Division of the State Department, testified under oath that Communists were being allowed to enter the United States under the aegis of the United Nations. Marshall immediately denied the truth of this statement and set up a committee which denounced Alexander's allegations as "irresponsible and untrue."

On September 9, 1948, Alexander received a letter from the State Department which contained the following:

"The Department proposes to take appropriate disciplinary action against you . . . for misconduct in office and dereliction of duty.

"The intended action grows out of your testimony and inferences arising from your statements made before the staff of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization, Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate.

On June 30, 1949, Senator McCarran wrote Admiral Hillenkoetter, who was then head of the Central Intelligence Agency, to inquire whether Communists actually were coming into the country through the United Nations. He wrote as follows:

"Dear Admiral Hillenkoetter:

"There is attached to this letter a list of the names of 100 persons.

"This is a partial list of those persons to whom visas have been issued for admission into the United States either as affiliates of international organizations or as officials or employees of foreign governments, and their families. . ."

Many of the names given in McCarran's letter were names which had previously been referred to by Mr. Alexander.

I now quote two pertinent paragraphs from Admiral Hillenkoetter's answer:

"Thirty-two of the individuals named in your attached list have reportedly or allegedly been engaged in active work for the intelligence services of their respective countries.

"Twenty-nine of the individuals named in your attached letters are high-ranking Communist Party officials.

Shortly thereafter, Admiral Hillenkoetter was removed as head of the Central Intelligence Agency and assigned to a post of duty in the Western Pacific,

Another incident in the Marshall history, omitted from the June 14 speech, is described by George Morgenstern in his book Pearl Harbor as follows:

"The key witness on the 'winds' message, Capt. Safford, received special attention from Sonnet and Hewitt, but steadfastly stuck to his story that the 'winds' signal had been intercepted, that he had handled it, and that he had seen that it reached his superiors." (pp. 202-203)

The 'winds' message was a Japanese coded message as to the time and target of their attack.

Morgenstern then describes the pressure put upon Safford to change his testimony. On page 204, the following is found:

"Despite all this pressure upon him, Safford, when he was called as a witness before the congressional committee on February 1, 1946, opened his statement with the flat assertion: "There was a ‘winds' message. It meant war—and we knew it meant war."

"Safford said that the 'winds' message was part of a Japanese overseas news broadcast from station J-A-P in Tokyo on Thursday, December 4, 1941, at 8:30 a.m., Washington time."

According to Morgenstern, page 216, Safford testified that he had been told by W. F. Friedman, chief Army crypt-analyst, that the 'winds' message had been destroyed prior to the Pearl Harbor investigation "on direct orders from Chief of Staff Marshall." However, for some mysterious reason, Friedman was never called either to support or repudiate this testimony of Safford's.

Another interesting point brought out by Morgenstern on pages 201 and 202 was that Marshall, fearing that Thomas E. Dewey, in the 1944 campaign, was about to expose Marshall's part in the Pearl Harbor disaster, sent to him a staff officer with letters from Marshall, and persuaded Dewey that such an exposure would inform Japan that we had broken her code and would thereby impair our military efforts. Dewey was apparently convinced and, being a loyal American, did not mention this matter during the campaign. On page 202, Morgenstern points out that this was a deliberate deception practiced upon Dewey, because Marshall knew the Germans had found out as early as 1941 that we had broken the Japanese code and had so informed the Japanese.

Incidentally, I do not know what has happened to Captain Safford, but I do recall having read of his being promoted.

Another item of interest in regard to Marshall is found in the Reader's Digest of January 1944. The late Frederick C. Painton was describing an interview had with General Marshall by 60 Anglo-American correspondents in Algiers:

"A door opened, a hush fell, and General Marshall walked in. He looked around the room, his eyes calm, his face impassive. 'To save time,' he said, 'I'm going to ask each of you what questions you have in mind.' His eyes turned to the first correspondent. 'What's your question?' A penetrating query was put; General Marshall nodded and went on to the next man—and so around the room, until 60 correspondents had asked challenging questions ranging from major strategy to technical details of the war on a dozen fronts.

"General Marshall looked off into space for perhaps 30 seconds. Then he began. For nearly 40 minutes he spoke. His talk was a smooth, connected, brilliantly clear narrative that encompassed the war. And this narrative, smooth enough to be a chapter in a book, included a complete answer to every question we'd asked.

"But what astounded us most was this: as he reached the point in his narrative which dwelt upon a specific question, he looked directly at the man who had asked the question!

"Afterward I heard many comments from the correspondents. Some said they had just encountered the greatest military mind in history. Others exclaimed over the encyclopedic detail Marshall could remember. All agreed on one thing: 'That's the most brilliant interview I have ever attended in my life.'"

The above interview becomes extremely interesting when compared to Marshall's inability to recall what he was doing on the morning of Pearl Harbor. Originally, Marshall testified that he was out horseback riding and for that reason could not be contacted. Later, he testified his memory had been refreshed and that he actually had not been horseback riding but was at home with his wife. The third version of where the Army Chief of Staff was on that fateful morning is contained in Arthur Upton Pope's book Litvinoff, in which the diary account of Litvinoff's trip from Russia to the United States shows that Marshall was meeting Litvinoff at the airport on Pearl Harbor morning. While the question of whether Marshall was riding horseback, or with his wife, or with Litvinoff seems unimportant today, it does form a very interesting comparison of Marshall's memory on these two occasions.

From here we proceed to the history of Marshall which I gave on June 14, 1951.