Chapter XII: 
Somervell's Relationship With Patterson and Marshall
In the final analysis much of the wartime role of the Army Service Forces depended upon personalities, specifically upon the relations of its commanding general to the Under Secretary of War and to the Chief of Staff. The existence of a satisfactory personal relationship between these three men was a major factor in the ability of the ASF to perform its responsibilities and to survive as the War Department's command organization for supply and service activities.
Somervell's position in the top organization of the War Department was, for such a high-ranking official, unique. He had not one but two bosses: the Under Secretary and the Chief of Staff. It was a peculiar kind of arrangement in the light of Army doctrine pertaining to "unity of command," but one made necessary by War Department organizational experience after 1920. On the whole, it turned out to be a workable arrangement, at least insofar as relations between the three individuals involved were concerned.
General Marshall respected the Under Secretary's position; he was too good an Army officer imbued with the doctrine of the subordination of military to civilian authority to behave otherwise. He never encouraged Somervell to bring procurement problems to him. There is no indication in the record of any instructions from Marshall to Somervell on purchasing or production matters. He expected Somervell to obtain necessary policy direction on these matters from the Under Secretary. In turn the Under Secretary seemed to have great respect for the military judgment of General Marshall, and accepted as proper the fact that on strategic matters Marshall dealt with Secretary Stimson and the President. Patterson had no apparent disposition to enlarge his authority unduly.
Somervell for his part, conscientious in his observation of organizational arrangements, encountered no difficulty in working for two masters. Nor did he yield to the temptation, inherent in all such situations, of trying to play one superior against the other. He realized General Marshall was not interested in any excuse such as "the Under Secretary wants it this way." It was Somervell's duty to present the professional military judgment to the Under Secretary and then follow such civilian modification as might be expressed.
The Under Secretary
Perhaps no top individual in the War Department had more reason to be con-

cerned about the creation of the Army Service Forces than the Under Secretary of War. He lost a large supervisory organization which had previously enabled him to fulfill the responsibility, delegated to him by the Secretary of War, of directing the Department's procurement and related business activities. All the staff units which had been a part of the Office of the Under Secretary of War became, on 9 March 1942, staff units of the commanding general of the ASF. But while the Under Secretary lost an organization, he gained an executive officer of high rank and great drive. It was up to Somervell to demonstrate that in the reorganization the Under Secretary had gained in personal influence and that civilian control had not been weakened by the change.
Mr. Goldthwaite H. Dorr suggested one arrangement to demonstrate the close relationship which was expected to exist in fact between the commanding general of the ASF and the Under Secretary of War. One factor creating a gulf between the Supply Division of the War Department General Staff and the OUSW after June 1941 had been the physical separation of the two offices. The Under Secretary of War and his staff had moved into the so-called New War Department Building which had just been finished at 21st Street and Virginia Avenue, two blocks away from the old Munitions Building. This modern, air-conditioned, government office building had been intended as the headquarters for the War Department to replace the old Munitions Building which had been constructed during World War I. By the time the new building was completed, however, the War Department had expanded so greatly that it was adequate to house only the Office of the Under Secretary and the Office of the Chief of Engineers. All of the War Department General Staff remained in the Munitions Building. Recalling that the offices for Assistant Secretary Benedict Crowell and General Goethals during World War I were adjacent, Mr. Dorr proposed that Patterson and Somervell should likewise have adjoining offices with no secretaries or assistants between them.
After 9 March 1942, General Somervell insisted upon moving most of the units in the Office of the Under Secretary of War into the Munitions Building. The Under Secretary then gave up his new, modern office in order to return to the old building. There he and the commanding general of the ASF occupied adjoining offices immediately above those of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff. By the end of 1942 it was possible to move both offices into the new Pentagon Building. Here, General Somervell had a specially designed section on the third floor over the Mall entrance to the building which gave the Under Secretary and the commanding general of the ASF adjoining offices with a connecting door. The Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff had a similar arrangement on another side of the building.
Undoubtedly the proximity of these offices had much to do with promoting close-working relationships between Mr. Patterson and General Somervell. Temperamentally, the two men were very different. Mr. Patterson was usually calm, cautious, and inclined to look at all sides of most issues. General Somervell was impatient, tense, and decisive. Both men probably went through a somewhat trying period of mutual adjustment. It was a tribute to the integrity and determination of both men that they rose above personal differences and that they should

have found a way to work together. Indeed, before the end of the war each had come to have real respect for the other. On the one hand, Mr. Patterson realized that Somervell's energy and willingness to make decisions were vital to the procurement and supply support of military operations. On the other hand, General Somervell appreciated that civilian control of military operations was a vital part of the American political tradition and that many decisions had to be approved by a politically responsible official of the War Department.
After 9 March 1942, the Under Secretary's immediate office was quite small. In March 1943, for example, the office consisted of Mr. Patterson, Lt. Gen. W: S. Knudsen as director of production, an executive officer, an administrative officer, an executive assistant, and seven special assistants. In addition, there were one or two personal assistants to some of these individuals and the usual secretarial and clerical personnel. A few more personal assistants were appointed during the course of the war, but the OUSW remained a small group at all times. When any continuing administrative duty was to be started in which the Under Secretary was interested, General Somervell insisted that the unit should be located in the Army Service Forces although the director of the work then might have such personal relations with the Under Secretary as Mr. Patterson desired.
When Congress in 1942 authorized the renegotiation of contracts, for instance, General Somervell established a Renegotiations Division as a staff unit under the director of mat6riel in headquarters of the ASE At the same time, the director of the Renegotiations Division became the chairman of the War Department Price Adjustment Board. Renegotiation of contract prices was an activity in which the Under Secretary took very much interest. At one time, indeed, without consulting General Somervell, he directed that the War Department Price Adjustment Board should be a part of his own office rather than attached to the ASF. After General Somervell protested, both men agreed that the Renegotiations Division should be located within the ASF but that the director of the division should be appointed only with the approval of the Under Secretary. They also agreed that when the board gave final official approval to a renegotiation agreement, it should act in the name of the Under Secretary.
In 1944 General Somervell established a Correction Division in the Office of The Adjutant General to supervise rehabilitation centers and disciplinary barracks where military prisoners were held. The Under Secretary exercised the power of clemency, delegated to him by the Secretary of War, over military prisoners convicted by courts martial. As a result of his review of such cases, the Under Secretary became more and more interested in the whole penology program of the Department. The actual penal institutions of the Army were under the ASE When the number of prisoners confined in these institutions became sizable-the number of men in disciplinary barracks increased from 5,300 to 8,600 between July and December 1944-the Under Secretary was more concerned than ever that the penal practices of the Department should be above reproach.1 A solution was sought in the creation of the Correction Division in the ASF. headquarters under the direction of an officer in the Under Secretary's

office who had previously assisted the Under Secretary in clemency matters. In addition, the Under Secretary created a Board of Consultants composed of the country's leading penologists and prison administrators to advise him. The chairman of the board, Mr. Austin McCormick, became a personal assistant to the Under Secretary. This administrative arrangement proved entirely workable in practice.
From the very beginning of the Army Service Forces, General Somervell always invited the Under Secretary to attend ASF staff conferences. These conferences were held regularly twice a month. Attending whenever he was in town, the Under Secretary sat at the right of the commanding general. In his absence, his executive officer usually was present. This gave the Under Secretary an opportunity to participate in the discussion and to express his opinion regarding any matter which might arise. On both purchasing and production matters General Somervell always requested the Under Secretary's opinion. In addition, the Under Secretary or his executive officer usually attended the semiannual conferences of the commanders of the service commands which were begun in June 1942 as a means of maintaining close personal contact between the headquarters of the ASF and the headquarters of the nine service commands. Here again, the Under Secretary had an opportunity to learn exactly what was happening in the ASF, the problems which were arising, and the policies and programs which were being followed. The regular monthly reports prepared within the ASF for the guidance of the commanding general and his staff divisions were also given to the Under Secretary for such use as he might wish to make of them.
In one respect, the Under Secretary necessarily developed a peculiar relationship to the ASK As mentioned earlier, the commanding general of the Army Air Forces exercised important procurement responsibilities. Like the commanding general of the ASF, he operated under the supervision of the Under Secretary of War. The ASF staff became the Under Secretary's staff when dealing with the AAF. This arrangement applied primarily to two and later three staff divisions of the ASF: the Purchases Division, the Renegotiations Division, and, after November 1943, the Readjustment Division (particularly concerned with contract terminations). Actually, the Under Secretary was probably more interested in the work of these three staff divisions of the ASF than in any other. In any event, General Somervell was only too glad to defer to judge Patterson's judgment on all legal and price policy matters affecting procurement.
The directors of these staff divisions saw the Under Secretary frequently. For example, they consulted him often with regard to contract termination policies, the development of which he followed very closely. While General Somervell was likewise deeply interested in these developments, War Department points of view were determined by discussions held in the Under Secretary's office. The director of materiel of the ASF, first General Clay and later Mr. Howard Bruce, also saw the Under Secretary frequently, as did the legal adviser on procurement matters, Mr. William C. Marbury. General Somervell encouraged these individuals to consult freely with the Under Secretary, and the Under Secretary in turn called upon them directly whenever some matter arose in which he was interested.
The wide range of the Under Secretary's interests and activities was well in-

dicated in a report to the Secretary of War which was prepared in the Under Secretary's office in the autumn of 1944. This was the first such report prepared in the Under Secretary's office after the reorganization of 1942.
The Under Secretary was the official representative of the War Department on the War Production Board, the War Manpower Commission, and the Committee for Congested Production Areas. In addition, the Under Secretary took an active role in labor relations, in public relations involving procurement matters (including the award of the Army-Navy "E" for outstanding industrial achievement in war production), and in industrial safety and protection. In September 1943, he sponsored a meeting in Washington of two hundred industrialists and labor leaders to hear confidential information about the status of war production. A similar meeting was held at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, in October 1943 and at Los Angeles in January 1944. The basic work for this conference was prepared jointly by personnel from the ASF and from the Industrial Services Division of the Bureau of Public Relations.
The Under Secretary was also much interested in so-called economic warfare, and matters involving relations with the Foreign Economic Administration were usually taken up with him. For example, on 19 September 1944, General Somervell sent a memorandum to the Under Secretary on the disposal of surplus property overseas. 
Somervell was opposed to the performance of this work by the FEA on the grounds that that administration would be unlikely to push rapid liquidation of military property overseas, which would in turn require the continued presence of thousands of troops overseas to guard and care for such property. The War Department, in General Somervell's eyes, should seek "prompt, clean-cut and definitive settlements" for the disposition of overseas property.2 Earlier in the year, when the Army Industrial College was reopened under the nominal supervision of the Under Secretary of War, one of its immediate purposes was to train officer and civilian personnel in contract termination and property disposal procedure. Thus the college became an important part of the War Department's preparations for procurement demobilization after V-E and V -J Days. Its instructors were drawn almost entirely from the Readjustment Division of the ASF.
Under Secretary Patterson was a loyal, consistent supporter of the Army Service Forces throughout the war.. His satisfaction with the organizational arrangement was evidenced by his failure to make, any effort to reconstitute the OUSW along prewar lines in the reorganization of the War Department in 1946. If he had been even slightly dissatisfied, he would probably have followed a different course. In turn, General Somervell found the Under Secretary's counsel and assistance constantly helpful and reassuring. The Under Secretary had learned that he could control activities in which he was interested by working through the commanding general of the ASF. General Somervell, on the other hand, had learned that an Under Secretary of War sympathetic to Army needs and of unquestioned integrity was a real asset in guiding procurement operations.
The Chief of Staff
Somervell's personal relations with General Marshall were direct but formal.

Although he saw the Chief of Staff almost daily, it was invariably on matters of business. The Chief of Staff had a rigorous code of what he regarded as appropriate conduct in officers. In turn, General Somervell never presumed on his relationship to the Chief of Staff. He always acted with the understanding that he was Marshall's subordinate whose responsibility was to carry out the Chief of Staff's desires to the very fullest extent possible.
Indeed, it was this latter attitude which explained Somervell's continuance in the position of commanding general of the Army Service Forces throughout the war. Had Somervell ever failed in either loyalty or performance of duty, he would probably have been relieved. No matter how much controversy might rage around General Somervell, the Chief of Staff gave no evidence of being displeased as long as he felt that essential work for the Army was being performed with maximum possible vigor. At times there were efforts to stir the Chief of Staff to dissatisfaction with his commanding general of the ASR These efforts failed. In this connection, there is a revealing comment about General Marshall's attitude in an account written by his wife. Without indicating either the individual or issues involved, Mrs. Marshall records:
A group of Congressmen were much perturbed over rumors that were afloat in Washington concerning one of George's most trusted Staff officers who was carrying a tremendous load and doing it magnificently. In fact, he was handling his job with such authority and skill that the rumor-mongers said he had his eye on the job of the Chief of Staff. This rumor was fanned into a flame by those who had fallen afoul of him because of their failure to live up to his high standards of efficiency. The group of Congressmen came to warn George. He listened to what they had to say, then smiled and said,
"Thank you, gentlemen. I have heard these rumors. You do not have to worry about me. If I can't control my own Staff, I would not be here." 3
It seems most likely that this comment was occasioned by the controversy involving General Somervell in the autumn of 1943.4 But whether Somervell was the officer whom the Chief of Staff had in mind upon this particular occasion is not important. The attitude expressed did characterize the relationship between the Chief of Staff of the War Department and the commanding general of the Army Service Forces.
Somervell always looked upon the ASF as peculiarly the creation of the Chief of Staff. What it was and what it did was primarily the result of General Marshall's desire. It has already been noted that, had Somervell been the architect of the ASF, the command might well have been solely a procurement and supply command without the administrative service work which was included in it. He never questioned the addition of the administrative services simply because it was the arrangement which General Marshall had put into effect. In explaining the Army Service Forces on one occasion, General Somervell revealed his attitude in these words. He said that the ASF "handles logistics and administration. Its purpose was to take these loads as far as possible off the mind of the Chief of Staff." 5
Somervell made it a regular practice to keep the Chief of Staff fully informed

about what he was doing. He constantly sent papers to Marshall intended to indicate what was being accomplished. Somervell asked the Chief of Staff to attend the ceremonies observing the first anniversary of the Army Service Forces on 9 March 1943. General Marshall did so, and subsequently requested a copy of the talk Somervell made reviewing the accomplishments of the ASF in its first year. He sent the talk to the editor of the Reader's Digest with the suggestion that the publication might be interested in preparing an article on this subject. The result was the first of two or three articles about the ASF which appeared in that magazine during the war.
On another occasion, General Somervell, taking note of the fact that both the Navy and the Air Forces had gone to considerable effort to provide popular reading matter about their operations, arranged, with the Chief of Staff's approval, for one of his officers to prepare a booklet which would deal with the Army as a whole. This was published in early 1945 as The Mightiest Army.6
Communications which Somervell received from either subordinates or from overseas commands, summarizing problems or accomplishments, were frequently sent to the Chief of Staff's desk. Most of these the Chief of Staff personally reviewed. For example, General Somervell received a letter from the director of the Military Railway Service in the China, Burma-India theater, shortly after the Transportation Corps took over the operation of the Bengal-Assam railway on 1 March 1944. The director reported that in the first eighteen days of American operation, the military tonnage hauled had increased 36.4 percent over the same period in the preceding month. 
The improvement had been realized without any increase in yard expansion or track age. Somervell forwarded the letter to General Marshall with the hand-written comment: "You will note our organization has done a lot in a few days. Have urged the British to do this for over a year." The letter was returned with the notation: "Fine business-GCM."
On his overseas inspection trips, General Somervell invariably wrote fairly long accounts of his observations in personal letters to the Chief of Staff. Some of these comments have already been quoted. No replies were expected and none were received. Indeed there is almost no indication in the files of the commanding general of the ASF that General Marshall ever communicated instructions to Somervell in writing. As a general rule, the Chief of Staff issued orders and communications orally. Written communications from his office came from the Deputy Chief of Staff or the assistant chiefs of staff.7
On the subject of organization and management, Somervell never succeeded in obtaining an expression of marked interest from the Chief of Staff. Deeply concerned with this matter himself, Somervell was proud of the achievements of the ASF in building an integrated organization with some degree of unity and common purpose out of the many diverse elements inherited on 9 March 1942. In addition,

the ASF placed constant emphasis upon improved methods of performance which would reduce the cost of operations. On one occasion, General Somervell did persuade the Chief of Staff to come to his own office and look over the record of management improvements achieved by the ASR General Marshall gave no indication that he was particularly impressed.
Marshall usually referred Somervell's various protests about the changing status of the Army Service Forces to General McNarney, the deputy chief of staff. The most serious protest, that of 27 September 1944, resulted in a memorandum from the Chief of Staff to the commanding generals of the three commands, already described. While General Marshall asked for a clear-cut statement of the differences, the whole problem was then turned over to the Deputy Chief of Staff.8
The Chief of Staff generally allowed his subordinate commanders the greatest latitude in working out their problems. He was not one to interfere with minor details or to attempt to follow every development. His practice was to provide general instructions and then to expect intelligent, prompt action in fulfilling them. There seems little doubt but that the Chief of Staff wanted and appreciated the kind of subordinate commander General Somervell proved to be. The Chief of Staff wanted action, and vigorously. He was not tolerant of failures or of constant requests for additional instructions.
Although General Somervell indicated on two or three occasions that he would be happy to have a different assignment, General Marshall showed no disposition to make a change. Once in an extemporaneous talk to some three hundred key officers of the Army Service Forces, including the chiefs of technical services, the Chief of Staff indicated that he had been dissatisfied with the supply organization of the War Department as it existed before 9 March 1942, principally because responsibility had been too diffused. He emphasized that he wanted only one man reporting to him on supply and transportation matters. He had insisted upon such an arrangement, and he made it clear that he would not tolerate any different arrangement for the conduct of the war. He then went farther and voiced his approval of the manner in which the ASF had been functioning under the leadership of its commanding general.9
In his work for the joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff, General Somervell was at all times the agent of the Chief of Staff. His role was one of defining the Chief of Staff's desires and putting them into execution. As a subordinate of the Chief of Staff, General Somervell had almost no relations with the President. ASF matters of concern to the Chief Executive were handled through General Marshall. But on one or two occasions Somervell saw the President personally and, when he did so, it was upon instructions from the Chief of Staff. Because of his past association with him in the WPA, General Somervell occasionally had access to Harry Hopkins. During the heated controversy with the WPB, Somervell kept Mr. Hopkins informed of developments and the Army's point of view.10 Since Mr. Hopkins was the chairman of the Munitions Assign-

ments Board, Somervell also had considerable correspondence with him on the matter of supplies to the British and to the Russians. Somervell wanted Mr. Hopkins to know about all lend-lease matters involving the Army. Like General Marshall, Somervell enjoyed Mr. Hopkins constant support.
General Somervell had little contact with the Secretary of War, but there were some occasions when the latter official turned to him for help. On the occasion when the President requested the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy to compose their differences with Mr. Nelson over the duties of the Production Vice Chairman in the WPB, General Somervell was necessarily called upon to provide Secretary Stimson with full information about the origin of the difficulty and the argument which had led to the existing impasse. On another occasion when a strike threatened to halt all railroad operations within the United States, the Secretary of War called upon General Somervell to prepare a plan for Army operation of the nation's railways. Army control was actually ordered on 27 December 1943 by the Secretary in accordance with the terms of an executive order of the President, and continued until 18 January 1944 when the railways were returned to their owners after settlement of the dispute between management and labor. The Secretary was deeply interested in this entire activity. On Army operation of industrial establishments taken over in order to insure uninterrupted production, the Under Secretary was the top War Department official fixing policy and practice.
The importance which General Marshall attached to Somervell's position was clearly indicated by his action in taking Somervell to all the international conferences. When the Casablanca Conference was held in January 1943, Somervell was one of the few officers accompanying the Chief of Staff. He attended all subsequent conferences and remained Marshall's logistics planner and commander to the very end of the war.
The Army Service Forces was set up to meet a War Department organization need which General Marshall saw as a vital factor in the conduct of the war. In order to overcome the fatal bifurcation which had developed between procurement and distribution activities in the top War Department organization, the Under Secretary consented to a single supply command. The ASF was both logistics staff and command for the Chief of Staff. On industrial relations matters, the Under Secretary initiated or approved basic policies. General Marshall seemed to be less concerned with the work of the ASF in the service field than he was with its work in the supply field. Eventually the War Department General or Special Staff came to be the policy-fixing echelon on service or administrative duties.
The role of the ASF in the War Department in World War II was not determined simply by General Somervell's conception of it. In the last analysis it depended primarily upon what judge Patterson as Under Secretary and General Marshall as Chief of Staff wanted. Theirs were the crucial attitudes in determining what the Army Service Forces was and how it was to operate.

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