Published Date

June 24, 1944

Resource Type

GI Roundtable Series, Primary Source

Present: Messrs. Ralph H. Gabriel, Carl Stephenson, Solon J. Buck, Guy Stanton Ford, members of the Executive Committee; Mr. Waldo G. Leland of the American Council of Learned Societies; Messrs. Theodore C. Blegen and Thomas K. Ford of the Historical Service Board; and Major General Frederick H. Osborn, Director of the Morale Services Division, Army Service Forces, War Department.

In the absence of Professor Arthur M. Schlesinger, chairman of the Executive Committee, Mr. Ford acted as temporary chairman. Mr. Ford opened the meeting with a reference to the letter from Major Haycraft stating that the War Department desired to renew the contract of the Historical Service Board. The conference was called primarily to consider the renewal as the present contract expires June 30, 1944. Mr. Ford then introduced General Osborn, for whose division the Historical Service Board prepares its manuscripts.

General Osborn explained the part that the work of the Board plays in the whole educational and morale-building program of the Army the purpose of which is to increase the effectiveness of the soldiers and officers as fighters during the war and as citizens after the war. The difficulties and delays met with by the Board, General Osborn continued, were part of the difficulties and delays of getting the whole immense program set up and functioning properly. He felt that great progress was now being made, however, in moving toward publication the manuscripts prepared by the Board. He also expressed in most cordial terms his appreciation of the material prepared by the Board.

Mr. Blegen then made his report as Director of the Historical Service Board. He told how the Board has planned and maintained a production schedule averaging three manuscripts a month for the War Department since December 1943 and listed the tentative manuscripts planned to keep up this schedule through September 1944. He described some of the problems that the Board has met, largely those concerned with the lapse of time between the completion of a manuscript and its publication by the War Department. He added, however, that many of these problems seem to have been ironed out by the War Department in the past month. In planning a future budget, Mr. Blegen pointed out that a larger sum would be needed than before because of the fact that the cost of illustrations, originally thought to be covered by the War Department, is being paid from the Board’s allotment. Mr. Blegen announced his own resignation from the Directorship, effective August 31, 1944.

Mr. Buck then moved that the Executive Committee authorize the Executive Secretary to renew the contract and to enter into negotiations for the continued administration of the Historical Service Board, reporting back his recommendations to the Executive Committee. Professor Stephenson seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.

The Executive Secretary then took the opportunity to present other matters requiring the attention of the Executive Committee.