Mr. Frear. Do not you think, in view of the report given by Mr.
Hughes in regard to Gen. Squier, who was at the head of that organ-
ization, that you might have been as well equipped to have passed
upon it as the man in charge ?
Secretary Baker. Quite the contrary. Gen. Squier is a man of
the very highest scientific infoiination, and whereas it might well be
that Gen. ^uier, having a ^ery great deal to do, may not have been
as good an administrative officer as was desired, yet his knowledge
of the science of aerial navigation is second to none in the world.
Mr. Frear. Was anybody else appointed, either as Gen. Squier's
successor, or during his incumbency of the office, because of scien-
tific attainment or ability to administer matters from an adminis-
trative standpoint ?
Secretary Baker. If you speak of administrative responsibility,
I would say no.
Mr. Frear. That was one of the important things at that time,
and when recommendations came from abroad that we should pro-
ceed to get foreign planes in order to supply ourselves, they ought to
have had immediate and proper attention.
Secretary Baker. Those recommendations came from our men
abroad, and they knew nothing, on the other side, as to manufac-
turing possibiUties on this side. If a man in France sends word to
go into quantity production on a certain plane, the people on this
side know whether we can go into it and now well our people may
be i)repared for rapid production; they know best about that. Gen.
Squier had arouna him the best French, British, and Italian experts
those Governments could let us have, and the best experts we had,
out of private business and out of the Army, and experts in produc-
tion, and experts in business, and they were in constant conference,
. trying to respond to the abvious need on the other side.
Mr. Frear, Would you say that Gen. Squier, confining his op^^-
tions practicallv to the Liberty motor, acted on his own judgment
or upon the advice of experts from France, Italy, and England, or
experts here t
Secretary Bakek. I have not the least doubt that Gen. Squier
took counsel in the matter and advised with them about it.
Mr. Frbar. And attempted no construction of planes according: to
the recommendations of our men whom you seat abroad on the Boiling
Commission, and who asked for quantity production of machines
they found there and were being used by American and European
Secretary Baker. I can not give you information about that.
Mr. Frear. I was asking simply to let the record show the situa-
Secretary Baker. Gen. Squier will be able to give you how he
reached those recommendations, and the results of the conferences,
and the reasons therefor.
Mr. Frear. We have it as a fact that he was a scientific gentleman
who was among the first.
Secretary Baker. Not only a scientific gentleman but a man of
very large experience.
Mr. Frear. So Gen. Squier, at the head of that department of the
Government, when we were engaged in war and had been engaged
for 16 months, and had failed to get a single bombing plane or a
single fighting plane across the seas, would you say that ne had ex-
ercised the judgment and experience that ought to have been exer-
cised, when the English and the French had their planes there con-
stantly in use ?
Secretary Baker. I am not in a position to criticise Gen. Squier.
Mr. Frear. It is the purpose of this committee, of course, to
ascertain where the responsibility rested for failure to get airplaines
Secretary Baker. Exactly; and if any responsibility attaches to
Gen. Squier I feel quite sure he would want it to be put on him. But
this was a very new art, a very difficult art, a changing art ; it was not
merely difficult and new as to its design and engineering, but it was
difficult and new as to manuf ac£ure.
Mr. Frear. What are you referring to ?
Secretary Baker. I am referring to the airplane art.
Mr. Frear. But we had an advantage which foreign governments
had not had — of knowing what Italy nad done, and knowing what
Germany had done, and mowing what France had done, and knowing
what England had done, and what we were doing at the time, and yet
for a year and a half, or nearly that time, we failed to get a single
fighting plane to France?
Secretary Baker. Yes; and yet I am told by persons who are
skilled in mdustrial enterprises that reproduction in quantity of a
thing of very simple design which someoody else is already makings
is, in itself, a very difficult industrial organization problem. Take,
for instance, the case of rifles, which looks like a comparatively simple
device, the modern or modified Enfield or Springfield rifle, of com-
paratively well-known design, and yet I have had men very high in
mdustrial organizations to tell me that it would require many months
to place the Springfield rifle, as manufactured in tne Rock Island or
other arsenals, in a private factory and get them to producing them
Mr. Frear. But here were machines that were bein^ used abroad,
and it was necessary to give our men something and give it to them
22 WAB EXFENDITUBES.
at once. Considering the matter of rifles, to which ]^ou have referred,
I would say under such conditions that we would give them muzzle-
loaders, we would have done anything in order to place weapons in
the hands of our fighting men. If we could not have put any of the
modern Springfield rifles into their hands we would have given them
something else to fight with. But returning to the matter of airplane
production, it would seem that Gen. Squier and others devoted their
attention practically to se Liberty motor, as he states in his testi-
mony that no effort at production of these various machines abroad,
various airplanes that were being used in actual battle, had been
made up to that time.
Secretary Baker. Well, I do not know that that inference is justi-
fied. They sent commissions abroad, and the French and British
agreed to furnish us airplanes out of their manufactories which were
afready manufacturing them; and we authorized our people abroad
to buy fron the British and the French as fast as they could be pro-
Mr. Feear. Yes; but they were engaged in furnishing their own
Secretary Baker. Yes; but ultimately they supplied us with a
food many. The question is, whether it would have been better to
ave taken the best of the French and British models at that time
and try to produce them in the United States instead of trying to
get anything new. That is a question of judgment on which I am
not competent to pass.
Mr. Frear. All right. I am reading from the report:
In the opinion of the committee the disappointing reeulta above set forth are chiefly
due to three causes:
1. That the airplane program was largely placed in the control of great automobile
and other manufacturers who were ignorant of aeronautical problems.
2. These manufacturers undertook the impossible task of creating a motor which
could be adapted to all classes of flying craft. It is not too much to say that our air-
planeprogram has been a failure due largely to the Liberty motor.
3. We failed at the beginning of the war to adopt the common-sense course of re*
producing the most approved types of European machines in as great numbera as
possible. This should have been carried on coincident with the production of the
Liberty motor. This sound policy has very recently, but after a lamentable l^Me
of time, been adopted. . .
The mistakes and errors referred to would probably have been laigely avoided ii
the aircraft program had been under the control of one man, assisted by skilled aero-
nautical engineers and practical flyers to design and test our machines, with produc-
tion made subordinate to them.
This report was signed by Senator Thomas, Senator New, Senator
Reed, Senator Smith, and Senator Frelinghuysen, who had made a
thorough investigation and examination throughout the country.
That report at least is entitled to some wieght m view of the fact
that they made a very thorough investigation and examination and
that was their finding. Furthermore, it certainly was not based
upon any political desire to criticize tne administration ; that could
not have been possible because of the personnel of the subconunittee
if nothing more. That would be true, wouldn't it?
Secretary Baker. It is quite incredible that there was any pohtical
motive in anything that anybody has done about this.
Mr. Frear. Gen. Squier was the officer in charge, as you have
stated. Gen. Squier's attitude is arrived at by his own statement
before the Committi»e on Mihtary Affairs of the Senate of January
30, 1918, over nine months after the declaration of war. On page
2119, part six, of the hearings, he makes this statement, which I
quote from that hearing:
We had to make a momentous decision way back in April (1917) when we decided
to make the Liberty motor. We probably made the bluest decision we will ever
have to make. We had thrown the die. I think we did it right. We had to decide
whetherwe would go over to England and get those planes and en^nes * * * and
try to produce them or pool everything we had * * ♦ and have standardized
that we could get in quantity. That decision was taken boldly, and I think it was
a very wise one, Mr. Chairman. It was what resulted in the Liberty motor.
Is that your judgment ?
Secretary Baker. That was my judgment at the time and still
is my judgment.
Mr. Frear. That everything ought to have been pooled for the
Liberty motor; that all our efforts should have been centered on
that, which necessarily prevented the manufacture and production
of other machines that we were called upon from abroad to send
Secretary Baker. Well, I do not know enough about airplanes to
say that is my judgment, but this is my judgment: That not knowing
how loujg the war would last, and having no possible way of fixing
its termination, it was wise at that time to devise an engine, whether
by modification of existing engines or otherwise, adapted to American
methods of quantity production.
Mr. Frear. We mil all concede that, but that is not the ques-
tion. The question is, whether all our activities should have been
centered on that ?
Secretary Baker. Of course, if we had brought the KoUs-Royce
engines over here and attempted to make them, with the large
amount of handwork on it, it would have been slow, tedious, and
next to impossible under American methods of production.
Mr. Frear. Even so, if we coidd have produced 200 of them, or
500 of them, it would have been filling in the gap so far.
Secretary Baker. So far but almost negligible m results.
Mr. Frear. Would it, in view of the fact that we were unable to
get hardly a pursuit plane at the time of the armistice ?
Secretary jBaker. If we had made a single pursuit plane, or a
few pursuit planes, they would have been valuable, oi course, in
proportion to their number. But if we had made them by dividing
up a little energy, when a little later we would have produced many
more, that presented a situation where it was thought advisable
Mr. Frear. There were a nimiber of plants that were not utilized,
as shown in the Hughes testimony?
Secretary Baker. Yes, sir.
Mr. Frear. We could have proceeded right along without inter-
fering with the Liberty motor.
Secretary Baker. les, sir; that is possible.
Mr. Frear. The Singer plant might have been used ?
Secretary Baker. The Singer plant would have been for the manu-
facture of planes and not of engines.
Mr, Frear. There were other plants that could have been utilized
for the manuf actiu*e of engines as well ?
Secretary Baker. I think that is true.
24 WAB BXPENDITUBBS.
Mr. Frear. Gen. Squier says:
^'The Liberty motor was in existence and being tested long before
that bill was passed. ' '
Which bill was passed in July, 1917. And he goes on to say:
'* Although its evolution depended upon that bm.''
And yet its evolution did not reach any state of perfection until
shortly before this hearing was held, in August, 1918.
Secretary Baker. It was in constant process all the while.
Mr. Frear. At that hearing Gen. Squier said:
I think we shipped no training machines to France at all.
Then again, in answer to a question propounded by Senator Weeks
Gen. Squier said:
Yes, sir; to what extent I do not kno^. I do not mean to say that it has been
decided they will do it, but it is looming in the horizon that we may be producing
more than we can get across, and thereby be upsetting industry. That is a matter,
of course, that is not for me to discuss.
Secretary Baker. That is a matter of very easy explanation, if
there is any question about it at all. The aircraft program, when it
finally did get on its feet and started to running, threate^ned to absorb
more of the transportation facilities than were available.
Mr. Frear. This does nor refer to transportation facilities.
Seecretary Baker. This says **get across."
Mr. Frear. This says, '*and thereby be upsetting industry.''
Secretary Baker. Well, there are two ideas in that. We were
very much disturbed, the whole selling group, about dealipg with
the transportation questions — as to how we were ever going to land
in France engines and planes which the aircraft division told us woidd
be available as the months went by. The results were stupendous.
There were submarine troubles, wmch were more or less serious, and
we had to feed the Army. While we were buying abroad, making
very large purchases abroad, it was evident that we would have to
increasingly rely on America for food, clothing, and things of that
kind. As to the manufacture of powder in. this country, for our-
selves as well as for our Allies, inasmuch as the transportation of one
pound of powder requires the transportation of 7 pounds of ingredients
that go to make up the powder, just taking powaer as an illustration,
it was thought very much more econonucal for us to manufacture
powder in this country instead of sending abroad the ingredients for
it to be manufactured there. So that one of our grave problems was
the transportation problem.
Mr. Frear. That had not l)een reported here.
Secretary Baker. What problem?
Mr. Frear. The transportation problem.
Secretary Baker. Gen. Squier says there
Mr. Frear (interposing). He speaks of upsetting industry.
Secretary Baker. Senator Weeks asked nim whether it was pro-
posed to act upon the manufacture of airplanes, and Gen. Squier
said no decision had been reached on that point. But it had been
discussed, because we were then about to manufacture them on a
scale which we feared we could not transport them across the sea.
Naturally, it would be idle to manufacture what we could not get
across. Though we were considering the question he had made no
decision on it.
Mr. Frear. Gen. Squier's general understanding of this method
of transportation, to which you refer, is evidenced by his statement
in the same hearing, in which he said:
''They prepared machines for shipment * * *»'
No; that is not it. But he says he does not know who determined
the shipments; "thinks the Chief of StaflF refers it to some council or
Secretary Baker. I know that that is not a fact. Gen. Squier was
simply not advised about it. Transportation abroad was solved in
this fashion: Gen. Pershing was the commander in chief of the expe-
ditionary forces. He was the only person who could tell us what he
needed, whether men, and if so, what kind of men, what sort of train-
ing; whether he needed supplies, and if so, what sort of supplies.
Gen. Pershing made what is known as a priority list, and his staff
over there cabled us page after page of priority list, indicating what
they needed first, and the quantity; and sometimes they put in things
that we did not have, and we cabled back that we could not supply
those as yet, and would ask what they wanted in place of them. That
priority list changed as the exigencies of the situation changed.
Cren. Pershing was the man who determined whether he wanted air-
planes or ammunition or rifles or bacon.
Mr. Frear. Do vou know whether Gen. Pershing ever sent word
over here that he did not want airplanes, at any time ?
Secretary Baker. Of course not.
Mr. Frear. There was no question of priorities when it came to
airnlanes, as to whether he needed airplanes ?
Secretary Baker. I do not know about priority, but they were
needed, of course.
Mr. Frear. You admit that he had the authority, and that he
:acted upon any shipment of airplanes ?
Secretary Baker. I do not say he had the authority. He had the
duty to aavise us here, and we had the authority to determine, and
we determined in the exercise of our authority how many of the
things he wanted were available.
Mr. Frear. Do you recollect at any time that he suggested air-
planes should be put low on the priority list ?
Secretary Baker. I can not answer that. But the priority lists
can be produced, and his judgment will appear. That priority list
changed. For instance, at one time the French Government offered
to sell Gen, Pershing 50,000 to 100,000 horses. Horses being a very
bulky object for transport, because we have to build stalls for them,
we took some of the horse ships and had the staDs taken out of tnem,
had the ships changed into cargo ships, and then the French Govern-
ment could not furnish us horses, and we had to put the stalls back
in them again. So, the priority list was changed from time to time.
Mr. Frear. We realize that your labors have been heavy.
Secretary Baker. I would not make any plea on that. I merely
wanted to explain Gen. Squier' s statement.
As to industry, we had a steel shortage in the United States. We
had a board, known as the War Industries Board, which sat on the
<luestion and apportioned steel. Nobody could get a pound of steel
imless his need was apparent for such a thing. While the end was
most urgent, as Gen. oquier meant to say, if we would be making
26 WAB £XP£N^PITUR£S.
more airplanes than we could get across the ocean, we would have
steel tied up when it might be used for something else.
Mr. Fkear. Did you at any time stop quantity production of air-
planes because of this diflScuJty of transportation ?
Secretary Baker. So far as I know, we never did.
Afr. Fbear. That is my understanding.
Secretary Baker. But of course there was the imaginary objection,
because we might have gotten to the situation that we expected. Or
I would not sav that it was an imaginary objection but a question of
prudence and forethought.
Mr. Frear. It was an imaginary objection so far as actuality is
wSecretary Baker. It was a moot question.
Mr. Frear. The first investigation that was conducted in regard
to this aircraft situation came out when the failure to^et production
was commented upon by Mr. Borglum. That is the nrst one that I
have had mv attention called to.
Secretary "Baker. Well, the Borglum criticisms wore among the
most insistent, and those that led to the most activitv, perhaps.
Mr. Frear. I am quoting from one or two answers that he gave ia
the Hughes hearings, and will be glad to get your own judgment upon
some of these things. He savs, lor instance:
^* Mr. Deeds told me * * *.''
I suppose he was afterwards Col. Deeds. You have not mentioned
Col. Deeds, who was with Gen. Squier, was he not?
Secretary Baker. Yes, sir.
Ml, Frear. He was in some cases supposed to be the principal one.
Secretary Baker. Yes; perhaps he was.
Mr. Frear. He says, and I am quoting from page 367 of the Hughes
^'Mr. Deeds told me that he was going to seek a place on the Air*
That indicates that Mr. Deeds, early in the month of May, 191 7^
shortly after the declaration of war, was expecting to get upon the
Aircraft Board and become one of the factors here in the decision of
what should be done, where the manufacture should take place, and
other conditions regarding aircraft production, does it not, or what
is your idea ?
Secretary Baker. Of course, I know nothing about Mr. Borglum*s
Mr. Frear. I imdei-stand that no one has ever disputed it, or if so,
I wilTbe glad to have the correction.
Secretary Baker. I would not undertake to correct it. I simply
know nothmg about it.
Mr. Frear. Again Mr Borglum says:
Mr. Ford said that either Kettering or Vincent stated to him that they literally
placed the motors or the cylinders so that no other system could go in there.
That is, so that no other ignition system could be placed in the
secretary Baker. That has to do with the use of the Delco ignition
Mr. Frear. Yes; that was true of the Liberty motor, that it was
impossible to use any other ignition system except that.
Secretary Baker. I have heard that.
Mr. Fr£ar. And that was the company with which Mr. Deeds,
a[f terwards Col. Deeds, was connected ?
Secretary Bakeb. That charge was made by Mr. Borglum and
investigated by Mr. Hughes.
Mr. Frear. And he found 20,000 Liberty motors with the Delco
ignition system, but the system was not used on any other engine ?
Secretary Baker. I do not know about that.
Mr. Frear. Mr. Borglum made this further statement in that
Mr. Trego, of Connecticut, had a very excellent motor. He was called to Washing"
ton, and you know what he stated here. He got a three and a half million dollar
contract. He said he would make a million and five hundred on it and he hegan
manufacturing Liberty motors. As he testified here, 75 per cent of it was wasted,
loet. That holds good in almost ever>' bit of manufacture we have carried on.
I do not ask as to the latter part of the statement, but as to Mr.
Trego, do you know whether he nad an excellent motor or a valuable
motor or not ?
Secretary Baker. I do not.
Mr. Frear. The suggestion contained here, whether true or not,
that Mr. Trego had a motor he was endeavoring to develop, and that
he was given this Liberty motor production with the object of ignor-
ing or limiting the use of his own motor; do you know anything about
that fact, whether it is true ?
Secretary Baker. No, sir. A substantial number of men came to
Washington with motors, foreign and domestic, which they suggested
were better than other motors, and they were put before experts to
decide whether that was so or not.
Mr. Frear. Here is a suggestion in regard to airplanes. I am
inquiring whether you are familiar with it:
At the Curtiss plant some 13,000 or 14,000 people are on the pay rolls and working
under this system (cost plus), and it has been suffering from 60 to 70 per cent of idle-
ness, and it has been toying with our contracts and yielding us nothing and getting
the people's money.
Very much the same conditions prevail at the Standard Co. The fault comes back
to the Government or the officials allowing them to go and scrap certain material
and let the Government pay for it.
In relation to this statement, the Thomas committee went to
Buffalo and other places and investigated conditions, and foimd, as
the testimony shows, that there was a great deal of delay, and found
that the people were not being employed, although many were being
carried on the pay rolls who did not seem to be engaged in any
activities. Can you suggest what was the cause of that ?
Secretary Baker. No; I do not know the facts about that.
Mr. Frear. Can Gen. Squier tell us?
Secretary Baker. I thmk so. But, speaking, generally I will say
that throughout the war in a great many industries men were carried
on pay rolls with nothing to do for the purpose of holding the organ-
ization ready to start some very important job. For instance, the
Browning machine gtm, which was perfected during the war. We
held men in a plant, I think the plant of the Remington Arms Co.,
for some time, some weeks, while they were retooling the factory to
start on the manufacture of the Browning machine gun. If we had
allowed those workmen to scatter while they were building up the
machinery, as they were expert .arms men, you can see what the
result would have been when they did start up.
28 WAB EXPENDITURES.
Mr. Frear. This committee can very readily understand, Mr^
Secretary, that where it is necessary to have an additional supply that
might be true; but here is a statement, verified by other witnesses, as