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Posted: 6/27/2003 5:53:26 PM EDT
Is it true that President Truman wanted to abolish the Marines? Does anyone know?
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 5:56:14 PM EDT
I heard he was thinking about it. And since Congress at the time didn't like him, they passed a law that would have gone well over an veto that established a set minimum troop size for the USMC. The USMC is required to exist by federal law.
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 6:41:42 PM EDT
From [url]http://www.trumanlibrary.org/trumanpapers/pppus/1950/235.htm[/url] Letters to the Commandant of the Marine Corps League and to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. September 6, 1950 My dear Mr. Nixon: I am concerned over the situation which has arisen because of the publishing of my letter of August 29th to Representative McDonough. I have this date addressed a letter to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, a copy of which I am enclosing. I should be happy to have you read my letter to the members of your organization. Sincerely yours, HARRY S TRUMAN. [Commandant Clay Nixon, Marine Corps League, Hotel Statler, Washington, D.C.] Dear General Cates: I sincerely regret the unfortunate choice of language which I used in my letter of August 29 to Congressman McDonough concerning the Marine Corps. What I had in mind at the time this letter was written was the specific question raised by Mr. McDonough, namely the representation of the Marine Corps on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I have been disturbed by the number of communications which have been brought to my attention proposing that the Marine Corps have such representation. I feel that, in as much as the Marine Corps is by law an integral part of the Department of the Navy, it is already represented on the Joint Chiefs of Staff by the Chief of Naval Operations. That the Congress concurs in this point of view is evidenced by the fact that, in passing the National Security Act of 1947, and again in amending that Act in 1949, the Congress considered the question of Marine Corps representation on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and did not provide for it. It is my feeling that many of the renewed pleas for such representation are the result of propaganda inspired by individuals who may not be aware of the best interests of our Defense Establishment as a whole, and it was this feeling which I was expressing to Mr. McDonough. I am certain that the Marine Corps itself does not indulge in such propaganda. I am profoundly aware of the magnificent history of the United States Marine Corps, and of the many heroic deeds of the Marines since the Corps was established in 1775. I personally learned of the splendid combat spirit of the Marines when the Fourth Marine Brigade of the Second Infantry Division fought in France in 1918. On numerous occasions since I assumed office, I have stated my conviction that the Marine Corps has a vital role in our organization for national security and I will continue to support and maintain its identity. I regard the Marine Corps as a force available for use in any emergency, wherever or whenever necessary. When I spoke of the Marines as the "Navy's police force," I had in mind its immediate readiness, and the provision of the National Security Act which states that "The Marine Corps shall be organized, trained, and equipped to provide fleet marine forces of combined arms, together with supporting air components, for service with the fleet in the seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign." The Corps' ability to carry out whatever task may be assigned to it has been splendidly demonstrated many times in our history. It has again been shown by the immediate response of the Marine Corps to a call for duty in Korea. Since Marine ground and air forces have arrived in Korea I have received a daily report of their actions. The country may feel sure that the record of the Marines now fighting there will add new laurels to the already illustrious record of the Marine Corps. Sincerely yours, HARRY S. TRUMAN [General Clifton B. Cates, Commandant, USMC] NOTE: Representative Gordon L. McDonough of California had written the President urging him to grant the Marine Corps representation on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "In my opinion," he stated, "the United States Marine Corps is entitled to full recognition as a major branch of the Armed Services of the U.S., and should have its own representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff .... " The President's reply, made public by Representative McDonough on September 1, 1950, and published in the Congressional Record (vol. 96, p. A6323), was the subject of considerable comment. The President's letter, dated August 29, follows: "My dear Congressman McDonough: "I read with a lot of interest your letter in regard to the Marine Corps. For your information the Marine Corps is the Navy's police force and as long as I am President that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's. "Nobody desires to belittle the efforts of the Marine Corps but when the Marine Corps goes into the army it works with and for the army and that is the way it should be. "I am more than happy to have your expression of interest in this naval military organization. The Chief of Naval Operations is the Chief of Staff of the Navy of which the Marines are a part. "Sincerely yours, HARRY S. TRUMAN" See also Item 237.
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Link Posted: 6/27/2003 6:44:23 PM EDT
From [url]http://www.trumanlibrary.org/trumanpapers/pppus/1950/237.htm[/url] Remarks to Members of the Marine Corps League. September 7, 1950 General Cates, Mr. Commander, members of the Marine Corps League: I am happy to be with you this morning. You succeeded in enticing me over here. There are incidents, sometimes, that appear to be almost the end of the world when they happen, that usually turn out for the good of the cause. The thing that I am most interested in is a unified approach to the crisis which we face. My whole endeavor for 5 years has been to attain a peaceful settlement of the greatest war in history. I have striven for that since I have been President of the United States. That effort seemed to be approaching a consummation until the 25th day of June. Then we were faced with the situation in which we had to stand up and say that we supported the United Nations in its effort to attain peace in the world, or we had to back out and surrender. That is not my way of doing business. When I make a mistake, I try to correct it. I try to make as few as possible. I hope that this organization will support the President of the United States in his effort to get peace in the world--that's all I want. Conditions have come about--due, I must say, to a certain political event which will take place in November--which have caused unfounded attacks to be made on certain men in public service. This has made it almost impossible to get the men capable of filling the jobs to come here and stand for a barrage of that kind. It is not only unfair, it is unjust, and those attacks in the long run are not on the individuals on whom they are made, they are direct attacks on the President of the United States, who is responsible under the present situation for the Government, and for its actions and for its policy. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your cordial reception, how kind you have been to me, and I hope that from now on there will never be any misunderstanding between US. NOTE: The President spoke at 9:55 a.m. at the Statler Hotel in Washington. In his opening words he referred to Gen. Clifton B. Cates, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, and Clay Nixon, Commandant of the Marine Corps League.
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Link Posted: 6/27/2003 7:01:26 PM EDT
From [url]http://www.trumanlibrary.org/trumanpapers/pppus/1946/137.htm[/url] Letter to the Chairmen, Congressional Committees on Military and Naval Affairs on Unification of the Armed Forces. June 15, 1946 My dear___________: One of the most important problems confronting our country today is the establishment of a definite military policy. In the solution of this problem, I consider it vital that we have a unified armed force for our national defense. At my request the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy have made a sincere effort to settle the differences existing between the services on this question. They have made splendid progress. They have reached an agreement on eight important elements of unification, and with reference to the four upon which there was not full agreement, their differences are not irreconcilable. On May 31, 1946 the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy delivered a report to me of the results of their efforts. I have replied to them today stating my position on those points submitted to me for decision. I enclose herewith a copy of the report of the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, together with a copy of my reply to them. You will note that there are now presented twelve basic principles upon which the unification of the services can be based. They are as follows: 1. Single military department. There should be one Department of National Defense. It would be under the control of a civilian who would be a member of the cabinet. Each of the services would be headed by a civilian with the title of "Secretary." These secretaries would be charged with the internal administration within their own services. They would not be members of the cabinet. Each service would retain its autonomy, subject of course to the authority and overall control by the Secretary of National Defense. It is recognized that the services have different functions and different organizations and for these reasons the integrity of each service should be retained. The civilian secretaries of the services would be members of the Council of Common Defense and in this capacity they would have the further opportunity to represent their respective services to the fullest extent. 2. Three coordinate services. There should be three coordinate services-the Army, Navy and Air Force. The three services should be on a parity and should operate in a common purpose toward overall efficiency of the National Defense under the control and supervision of the Secretary of National Defense. The Secretaries of the three services should be known as Secretary for the Army, Secretary for the Navy, and Secretary for the Air Force. 3. Aviation. The Air Force shall have the responsibility for the development, procurement, maintenance and operation of the military air resources of the United States with the following exceptions, in which responsibility must be vested in the Navy: (1) Ship, carrier and water-based aircraft essential to Naval operations, and aircraft of the United States Marine Corps. (2) Land-type aircraft necessary for essential internal administration and for air transport over routes of sole interest to Naval forces and where the requirements cannot be met by normal air transport facilities. (3) Land-type aircraft necessary for the training of personnel for the afore-mentioned purposes. Land-based planes for Naval reconnaissance, anti-submarine Warfare and protection of shipping can and should be manned by Air Force personnel. If the three services are to work as a team there must be close cooperation, with interchange of personnel and special training for specific duties. Within its proper sphere of operation, Naval Aviation must not be restricted but must be given every opportunity to develop its maximum usefulness. 4. United States Marine Corps. There shall be maintained as a constituent part of the Naval service a balanced Fleet Marine Force including its supporting air component to perform the following functions: (1) Service with the Fleet in the seizure or defense of Advanced Naval Bases or for the conduct of such limited land operations as are essential to the prosecution of a Naval campaign. (2) To continue the development of those aspects of amphibious operations which pertain to the tactics, technique, and equipment employed by the landing forces. (3) To provide detachments and organizations for service on armed vessels of the Navy. (4) To provide security detachments for protection of Naval property at Naval stations and bases. (continued)
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Link Posted: 6/27/2003 7:02:58 PM EDT
Letter to the Chairmen, Congressional Committees on Military and Naval Affairs on Unification of the Armed Forces. June 15, 1946 (continued) 5. Council of National Defense. To integrate our foreign and military policies and to enable the military services and other agencies of government to cooperate more effectively in matters involving our national security. The membership of this council should consist of the Secretary of State, the civilian head of the military establishment, the civilian heads of the military services, and the Chairman of the National Security Resources Board, referred to below. 6. National Security Resources Board. To establish, and keep up to date, policies and programs for the maximum use of the Nation's resources in support of our national security. It should operate under the Council and be composed of representatives of the military services and of other appropriate agencies. 7. The Joint Chiefs of Staff. To formulate strategic plans, to assign logistic responsibilities to the services in support thereof, to integrate the military programs, to make recommendations for integration of the military budget, and to provide for the strategic direction of the United States military forces. 8. No single Military Chief of Staff. In the opinion of the War Department, the military establishment should contain a single military Chief of Staff, who would serve as principal military adviser, available to offer advice when differences of opinion arise among the military heads of the several services. The Navy feels that the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be the highest source of military advice. The War Department is willing to omit the feature of a single Chief of Staff. 9. Central Intelligence Agency. To compile, analyze, and evaluate information gathered by various government agencies, including the military, and to furnish such information to the National Defense Council and to other government agencies entitled thereto. It should operate under the Council. An organization along these lines, established by Executive Order, already exists. 10. Procurement and Supply. There should be an agency to prevent wasteful competition in the field of military supply and procurement through joint planning and coordination of procurement, production and distribution. 11. Research Agencies. There should be an agency to coordinate the scientific research and development of the military services. 12. Military Education and Training. There should be an agency to review periodically the several systems of education and training of personnel of the military services and to adjust them into an integrated program. A plan of unification containing these twelve elements has my unqualified endorsement. The Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Staff of the Army and the Chief of Naval Operations have assured me that they will support such a plan. It is my hope that the Congress will pass legislation as soon as possible effecting a unification based upon these twelve principles. Very sincerely yours, HARRY S. TRUMAN NOTE: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Elbert D. Thomas, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs; the Honorable David I. Walsh, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs; the Honorable Andrew J. May, Chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs; and the Honorable Carl Vinson, Chairman of the House Committee on Naval Affairs. For the President's letter to the Secretaries of War and Navy upon receiving their joint report of May 31, see Item 138.
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Link Posted: 6/27/2003 7:06:08 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 7:10:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/27/2003 7:13:10 PM EDT by GunnyG]
From [url]http://www.trumanlibrary.org/trumanpapers/pppus/1946/138.htm [/url] Letter to the Secretaries of War and Navy on Unification of the Armed Forces. June 15, 1946 Gentlemen: I have read with care your joint report of May 31, 1946. It was also helpful to me to have the full oral presentation of the points involved, which you and the members of your Departments made to me on June 4th. I am pleased and gratified at the progress you have made. I feel that we have come a long way in narrowing the zone of disagreement which had previously existed between the services. The full understanding reached on eight vital aspects of unification is a significant accomplishment. These eight elements are Council of Common Defense, National Security Resources Board, Joint Chiefs of Staff, omission of single Military Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency, Procurement and Supply, Research Agencies and Military Education and Training. In addition to these eight points of agreement, I am advised also by representatives of both services that they are in accord in their attitude toward the provision in the Thomas Bill, S. 2044, which provides for four assistant secretaries in charge of Research, Intelligence, Procurement, and Training, respectively. They believe that such assistant secretaries are unnecessary. I agree with their position that the presence of these four assistant secretaries is undesirable because they would greatly complicate the internal administration of the services and that such a plan would deprive the secretaries of the respective services of functions which are properly theirs. Your report of May 31st listed four items upon which you were unable to agree. An analysis of your comments contained in your report, and in the lengthy discussion which we had, discloses that the services are not nearly so far apart in their attitude toward these points as had been reported. It is my firm conviction that the determination of these questions in the manner which I present herein will result in a plan which incorporates the best features offered by the respective services. With reference to the points upon which full agreement was not reached my position is as follows: 1. Single military department. There should be one Department of National Defense. It would be under the control of a civilian who would be a member of the cabinet. Each of the services would be headed by a civilian with the title of "Secretary." These secretaries would be charged with the internal administration within their own services. They would not be members of the cabinet. Each service would retain its autonomy, subject of course to the authority and overall control by the Secretary of National Defense. It is recognized that the services have different functions and different organizations and for these reasons the integrity of each service should be retained. The civilian secretaries of the services would be members of the Council of Common Defense and in this capacity they would have the further opportunity to represent their respective services to the fullest extent. 2. Three coordinated services. There should be three coordinate services-the Army, Navy and Air Force. The three services should be on a parity and should operate in a common purpose toward overall efficiency of the National Defense under the control and supervision of the Secretary of National Defense. The Secretaries of the three services should be known as Secretary for the Army, Secretary for the Navy, and Secretary for the Air Force. 3. Aviation. The Air Force shall have the responsibility for the development, procurement, maintenance and operation of the military air resources of the United States with the following exceptions, in which responsibility must be vested in the Navy: (1) Ship, carrier and water-based aircraft essential to Naval operations, and aircraft of the United States Marine Corps. (2) Land-type aircraft necessary for essential internal administration and for air transport over routes of sole interest to Naval forces and where the requirements cannot be met by normal air transport facilities. (3) Land-type aircraft necessary for the training of personnel for the afore-mentioned purposes. Land-based planes for Naval reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare and protection of shipping can and should be manned by Air Force personnel. If the three services are to work as a team there must be close cooperation, with interchange of personnel and special training for specific duties. Within its proper sphere of operation, Naval Aviation must not be restricted but must be given every opportunity to develop its maximum usefulness. (continued)
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Link Posted: 6/27/2003 7:12:16 PM EDT
Letter to the Secretaries of War and Navy on Unification of the Armed Forces. June 15, 1946 (continued) 4. United States Marine Corps. There shall be maintained as a constituent part of the Naval service a balanced Fleet Marine Force including its supporting air component to perform the following functions: (1) Service with the Fleet in the seizure or defense of Advanced Naval Bases or for the conduct of such limited land operations as are essential to the prosecution of a Naval campaign. (2) To continue the development of those aspects of amphibious operations which pertain to the tactics, technique, and equipment employed by the landing forces. (3) To provide detachments and organizations for service on armed vessels of the Navy. (4) To provide security detachments for protection of Naval property at Naval stations and bases. It is important that the basic elements of the plan of unification be stated clearly. The eight fundamental points agreed upon and the four points which are herewith decided, constitute a total of twelve basic principles that should form the framework of the program for integration. There is no desire or intention to affect adversely the integrity of any of the services. They should perform their separate functions under the unifying direction, authority and control of the Secretary of National Defense. The internal administration of the three services should be preserved in order that the high morale and esprit de corps of each service can be retained. It was gratifying to have both of you and General Eisenhower and Admiral Nimitz assure me that you would all give your wholehearted support to a plan of unification no matter what the decision would be on those points upon which you did not fully agree. I know that I can count upon all of you for full assistance in obtaining passage in the Congress of a Bill containing the twelve basic elements set forth above. Very sincerely yours, HARRY S. TRUMAN [The Honorable Robert P. Patterson, The Secretary of War; The Honorable James Forrestal, The Secretary of the Navy] NOTE: The Secretaries' joint report, in the form of a letter dated May 31 and released with the President's reply, is published in the Congressional Record (vol. 92, p. 7425). The report outlines the eight points of agreement between Secretaries Patterson and Forrestal substantially as they are stated in the President's letter to the Committee Chairmen (Item 137). A summary of the positions taken on the four remaining points follows: 1. Single Military Department War Department view. The military establishment should be set up as a single entity, headed by a civilian of Cabinet rank with authority and responsibility for the several services. The administration and supervision of the services should, however, so far as possible be delegated to their respective heads, in order that each service should have as much freedom of development as possible, and in order that the traditions and prestige of each should not be impaired. Navy Department view. There was a need for unification, but in a less drastic and extreme form. Serious disadvantages would result from combining the services into one department. Such a step would involve sacrifices of administrative autonomy and service morale. Certain advantages would result from placing a Presidential Deputy with clearly defined powers of decision over specified matters at the head of the Council of Common Defense. From this as a starting point, it would be possible to move forward toward such further measures of unification as became advisable, based on further experience. 2. Three Coordinate Branches War Department view. The military establishment should contain three coordinate branches-naval, ground, and air--each of which should have a civilian head and a military commander. These officials should have access to the President, but not Cabinet rank, since that would be in derogation of the position of the civilian head of the military establishment. Navy Department view. The national security required maintenance of the integrity of the Navy Department, headed by a civilian Secretary of Cabinet rank. Naval aviation, together with surface and subsurface components, had been integrated within the Navy, and similar integration by the Army of its air and ground forces would be in the best interest of national security. However, if the alternatives were three military departments or one, the Navy preferred three departments. 3. Aviation War Department view. Responsibility for the development, procurement, maintenance, and operation of the military air resources of the United States should be a function of the Air Force, with exception of enumerated responsibilities which should be vested in the Navy. Navy Department view. One reason for the Navy's strong conviction against a single department was the continued efforts of the Army air forces to restrict and limit naval aviation. To accomplish its fundamental purpose, the Navy needed a certain number of landplanes for naval reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare, and protection of shipping. Landplanes, to be effective, must be manned by naval personnel trained in naval warfare. The Navy also required air transport essential to its needs. 4. United States Marine Corps War Department view. There should be maintained as a constituent part of the naval service a balanced Fleet Marine Force including its supporting air component for (1) service with the fleet in the seizure of enemy positions not involving sustained land fighting, and (2) to continue the development of tactics, techniques, and equipment relating to those phases of amphibious warfare which pertain to waterborne aspects of landing operations. Navy Department view. There should be maintained as a constituent part of the naval service a balanced Fleet Marine Force including its supporting air component for (1) service with the fleet in the seizure or defense of advance naval bases or for the conduct of such limited land operations as are essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign, and (2) to continue the development of those aspects of amphibious operations which pertain to the tactics, techniques, and equipment employed by land forces.
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