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sure about it; but I feel a pride in the fact that no one can
have such doubts about the personal unselfishness of our
own leader. I feel as sure of the willingness of General
Pershing to make a sacrifice of personal prestige for the sake
of the common good as I should of Abraham Lincoln if he



were in his place. And that is the most any one could say.
General Pershing said that when he took up the matter with
Lloyd George the latter agreed as to its advisability; but
stated the difficulties with which he had contended in anal-
ogous efforts arising out of the perpetual strength of the
English status quo in matters of authority and its location.
Lloyd George spoke of General Nash, the English director of
transportation, as one who would certainly favor it. Per-
shing said that he was going to write Lloyd George (this was
just after his interview at his house with Loucneur this after-
noon) stating that we the Americans and French were
going ahead anyway.

From what he said it is General Pershing's present in-
tention, after the plan is approved by him and Clemenceau,
after being formulated by Loucheur and myself, to place upon
me the responsibility of being his representative with the
French which will automatically make my organization the
instrument of coordination so far as the A.E.F. is concerned.
He doubts whether the French will part with any large part
of civil control of supply to their own military organization
that is, any considerably larger control than at present. If so,
I must accept at first the present French machinery without
much change as that with which to start cooperation along
the new lines. But it is the General's hope and my own that
once in continual contact with French authority, their
views and my own as to the future steps best to be taken
may not prove to be very divergent. Surely after we take
some of the most important steps, the perception of their
mutual benefit in the increase of our military effectiveness
must make it difficult, and increasingly difficult as time goes
on, for personal ambition and ulterior purpose to keep in
existence machinery interfering with them. We have our
backs to the wall. Each one must do his part. If he does not
willingly do it, he must be made to do it. And there is no
force in the world so potent in time of emergency and great
crisis as a clear reason, fearlessly stated.


As a memorandum for the General's consideration I gave
him my line of thought as to the way in which to proceed
immediately for if we leave this thing to the Supreme
Council or to general discussion before decision, it will as
usual require a few more defeats and thousands of lives to
bring about its adoption.

Yesterday went over the graphics of the A.E.F. with
Logan, who is here. Logan has a great mind. But no one has
at the same time not only the comprehensive grasp of the
problem but the power of using his knowledge in correct
decision and action that General Pershing has.

Paris, April 27, 1918

IT is midnight and I ought to go to bed, but I shall regret
it some time if I do not make contemporaneous notes of
these things. Have just returned after five hours with Gen-
eral Pershing. At dinner the General and I put through

"a course of sprouts" in endeavoring to get a more virile
cooperation from him in helping us to secure army necessi-
ties in particular the Italian militarized labor. He agreed
to another effort. In reply to a vigorous statement by Gen-
eral Pershing of the views he would like to present to ,

who should be aggressive instead of pathetically mild in time

of emergency, said, "You might as well throw baseballs

at a feather bed." The General and I, when we were alone
again, discussed the military unification of the Allied rear. He
is firm that it should be wholly military. Before Loucheur
sees me the General (in his mind to-night) has decided to
write notifying General Foch that he is ready to place our
supply service at his disposal thus tending to short-circuit
what Loucheur isHcertain to propose, that American military
machinery be coordinated with the semi-military and civil
French machinery of supply. The idea is to establish by this
letter a status quo with the French internally favorable to
complete militarization in place of one now unfavorable to it.
Listened to the verbal report to the General of Major


Clark, liaison officer at French G.H.Q., in from the front.
The General also read me his written report. The French
are feeling bad about the loss of Mount Kemmel; are criti-
cizing the British against whom the whole German army is
pressing; are confident, however, that the line will hold; feel
(claim) that the British are holding 700,000 men under arms
in Great Britain which should be in the fighting line (to
which General Pershing remarked that that was absurd);
feel that time for counter-attacking is almost at hand. Gen-
eral Pershing told Clark to state to French G.H.Q. that they
were in error relative to the number of English armed troops
in England, and that the six American divisions now coming
to the English, which the French would like to have in their
line, come in English tonnage under an arrangement made
some months ago with Petain's acquiescence.

I write all this as indicating the atmosphere in which we
live. Pershing gave me estimate of losses thus far in the of-
fensive as about 400,000 Germans, 250,000 for the English
and 60,000 for the French. The use of tonnage for troop-
carrying purposes almost exclusively should enable the
English and ourselves to bring over from the United States
200,000 to 250,000 troops per month for three months after
the six divisions are landed. By fall, therefore, the United
States should have 1 ,000,000 men here. Pershing told Clark
to tell this to the French. He received detailed report from
Clark as to location, movements, etc., of our American troops.

This morning met members of the U.S. Shipping Board
Stevens, Sherman, Rublee, and Morrow. Called on them at
Crillon Hotel. Afterwards they called on me at my head-
quarters. Received telegram from Smithers, H.Q., S.O.S.,
that War Department has authorized the organization of
200 administrative labor companies by me. For this they
will give me 133 Captains, 133 First Lieutenants, 134 Second
Lieutenants, 1000 Sergeants, and 2000 Corporals. With
these officers I can handle 33,000 to 50,000 labor troops easily.
Have already secured about 15,000.


Paris, Sunday, April 28, 1918

TOOK lunch with General Pershing and spent most of the
afternoon with him. At lunch were also General Crozier,
Colonel Mott, and Colonel Boyd. Crozier, who had been
to Italy, gave his opinions (which were favorable to action)
on the matter of sending American troops to Italy, which
General Pershing is again considering in connection with our

conference with last night when we again urged that

the United States use its advances to the Italians in assist-
ance to us in getting labor. General Pershing, of course,
cannot be determined in his decision by the comparatively
unimportant matter of the labor; but since a favorable de-
cision would probably settle the labor matter, if it is to be
made, now is an opportune time. General Pershing discussed
it at length in all its phases from the standpoint of the
immediate effect on Italian morale; from the standpoint of
its ultimate effect on morale if undue expectations are aroused
by the coming of a small number of troops at first and the
fact that troops sufficient to be a military factor cannot be
spared; from the point of view of the French and English
(since we get more troops for the front by using labor from
Italy to replace soldiers now at work, they will probably
agree); from the standpoint of its possibly creating a false
impression of the contemplated undue diffusion of American
troops. After full discussion he was inclined to take the action
after notifying Foch, feeling that the immediate effect on
Italian morale is important enough to take some chances on
the future especially since the Italians are clamorous for
the step. 1

When the General and I were by ourselves again we took
up the procedure in the supply unification plan. He is send-
ing Colonel Mott out to see Foch, and get his ideas as to the
extent to which he (Pershing) shall insist on French military
authorities as the coordinators as distinguished from civil.
1 See Report of Daily Activities, April 29. Appendix C, vol. n, p. 106.


It was agreed that at my first interview with Loucheur I
should handle the subject gingerly as we are so anxious
for complete supply coordination that we do not wish to
make any ultimatums or propositions until every phase of
the situation can be first carefully considered.

Paris, Friday, May 3, 1918 (night)

HARBORD called by telephone from Chaumont yesterday
morning saying that Clemenceau had asked me to meet
Loucheur. Accordingly met him (Loucheur) at his office
(Ministry Armament) at 4 P.M. yesterday. Took Lieutenant
Chauncey McCormick as interpreter and Captain Barring-
ton Moore to make notes of our agreements and discus-
sion. Interview lasted about three quarters of an hour. I
emphasized the military control feature. Loucheur very cor-
dial in every way. Reached the agreement, which Moore
has outlined, for submission to General Pershing and M.
Clemenceau. Loucheur said he would not take the place
said Clemenceau desired an American. I strongly stated the
reasons for the selection of a Frenchman, and it was agreed
upon. Loucheur agreed to start between the French and
Americans, inviting the British. Loucheur this morning sent
his aide, Lieutenant de Neuflize, to change slightly the first
draft of our report eliminating my reference to him as an
acceptable choice. Took my copy to Pershing (who arrived
late last night) at his house this morning. Spent most of
the morning with him. He had taken up the matter with
Clemenceau and Lloyd George at Abbeville on his trip and
had arranged for a meeting at Clemenceau 's office between
him, General Travers-Clarke, B.E.F. Quartermaster-General,
and myself for Monday afternoon, 3 P.M. The General told
me he expected hereafter to be occupied largely at the
front, leaving Allied coordination as affecting the rear under
my direction. Discussed means for this. My suggestion was
to form a new division of the General Staff say Allied co-
ordination division making me Assistant Chief of Staff


at the head of it, reporting to him. I could then order
acts of coordination through directions, "by order General
Pershing," without taking additional rank or being put in
an unnecessarily conspicuous position, which I am very anx-
ious to avoid, as I want to last through the war, and not
sacrifice the permanent substance, for the temporary sem-
blance, of power. I would then form my staff and coordinate
our resources, construction, and transportation with our
allies. The matter was left open until we shall have dis-
cussed it further with the Allies. Pershing says Clemen-
ceau agrees to military control. Pershing, Clemenceau, and
Lloyd George all seem to want to dodge the delays and dis-
cussion of the Allied Council and get started as soon as
possible. I think nothing can stop it now even if the
Allied Council tried to expedite it.

Pershing told of his decision to send troops to Italy for
the sake of influencing Italian morale the French and
English having approved. He notified Orlando at Abbeville.
May start with a regiment and expects to build up to a divi-
sion which was more than Orlando had hoped. He was some-
what impatient at the attitude of the French about our
troops with the British as taken at the Abbeville meeting,
and so expressed himself there. Expects 1 ,000,000 Americans
in his army in France by the end of June.

If we get the Service of Supply of the Allies in a firm mili- \ '
tary control so as properly to use our resources, to match
the military unification of control at the front, it will be the
sure beginning of victory. 1

Varaigne called on me at my room to tell me this evening
that as a result of my visit with him, Jackson, and that good
friend of our army, M. Ganne, on the President of the Coun-
cil, Jeanneney, the other day, the French had allotted us
5000 additional laborers in addition to a liberal percentage
of German prisoners. This will give me a total of over 20,000
laborers in my organization. Am glad I succeeded in it, with

1 See Report of Daily Activities, May 4. Appendix C, vol. n, p. 1 13.


Jackson's able assistance, before we amalgamate with the
Allies. Labor, however, is one of the first things I hope to

Gates took dinner with me. Got Cutcheon's well-deserved
promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel at last.

Paris, May 9, 1918 (night)

I SHALL not make any extended notes of the inter-Ally con-
ference of May 6 called to consider General Pershing's
proposition to unify under military command the Allied rear,
since Captain Moore's notes give a fair but very condensed
summary of the meeting which consumed over three hours.
I had assumed that only the B.E.F. Quartermaster-General,
whom somebody had told me was General Travers- Clarke,
would represent England, but when we arrived England had
Cowans (Lt.-Gen., Q.M.G.), General Crofton Atkins, Gen-
eral Cannot, Sir Andrew Weir, and Sir J. W. Curry a good
battery well entrenched in conservatism. The Italian Q.M.G.
for Italian troops in France was present. Colonel Payot,
of Foch's staff, Jeanneney, President of French Council of
Ministers, and Ganne were there for the French. I appeared
alone for the American army representing General Pershing.
Had Captain Moore there to take notes and Chauncey Mc-
Cormick as interpreter. By vigor and direct and forcible
-~ZZ? statement I soon dissipated the formal atmosphere which

the weak always allow to retard their purposes. Having the
proposition to present gave me the direction of the argument
for the most part.

(Realizing that I must shake the English up thoroughly
to start with, if we are to land anywhere, I tried to keep the
minds of the conferees on the necessities of the immediate
rear of the armies in coordination, and to prevent the English
from focusing attention on the difficulties of a more wide-
spread application of an unquestioned principle. I don't
want to give an unfair picture of the attitude of these able
leaders of England, but it was distinctly pessimistic as to the

COMMANDANT HENRI A. VARAIGNE, of the French Army, was an invalu-
able friend and assistant of the American Army in France. An aviator in
the battle of the Marne, an experienced staff officer, an accomplished and
brave soldier, he became, as chief of the staff of French officers attached
to my headquarters, the first interpreter of our supply necessities to the
French Army and Government. His devotion to the common cause, his
honesty and sincerity of purpose, his great success in securing us needed
help in times of acute crisis, his ever-present sympathy and encourage-
ment, endeared him to every American with whom he came in contact.
He received the Distinguished Service Medal of the United States.

C.G. D.


chances of success in securing agreement on the plan, to such
an extent that one must assume on their part or at least
on the part of the members of the conference an innate
opposition. While agreeing on principles, they raised in-
numerable practical objections and difficulties. However, I
did not become discouraged because little progress was made
at this first meeting; but immediately went to work prepar-
ing an argument to the conference for the plan addressed to
M. Jeanneney, the Chairman. 1 This I sent out to General
Pershing for suggestion and revision yesterday, and this
evening received it back with his comments. I will to-mor-
row modify my references to the English as the General sug-
gests and send it in for the consideration of the English and
French Governments.

The General approves the argument. This afternoon at
his request I met M. Loucheur, Minister of Armament, and
discussed the situation. He agrees with me fully and will
send a representative to the next conference to support me.
In the meantime he and Clemenceau will consult and en-
deavor to expedite independent agreement between the
French and American armies for S.O.S. coordination. The
English at bottom are so splendid and fine that I do not fear
for their full cooperation eventually. But they are careful, as
they should be. My headquarters move from the old H6tel
M6diterrane to the Elys6e Palace Hotel on the Champs
Elyses to-morrow.

Letter to M. Jeanneney

Paris, May 8, 1918

To M. JEANNENEY, President, Inter-Ally Conference of
May 6, 1918 (called to consider General Pershing's
proposition and plan for military unification of the
Allied Services of Supply).

RELATIVE to the three questions the conference proposed

1 See Report of Daily Activities, May 7, May II. Appendix C, vol. II,
pp. 116, 118.


at its first meeting and in accordance with your suggestion
that comments be filed thereon, I submit the following:

General Pershing's plan, in so far as it involves the coor-
dination of military supply, transportation, and construction
now located in the immediate Allied rear, is susceptible of
adoption by the military commands as distinguished from the
civil as a strictly military measure of coordination involving
activities now wholly under military control, but as yet not
coordinated between the three armies. To this extent the
plan may be considered as presented by the Commander-
in-Chief, A.E.F., as a measure of military action affecting
the immediate rear, and therefore as only necessary in this
particular phase to be discussed in its relation to the several
existing military as distinguished from civil authorities.

The plan in its more general application, involving the
coordination of activities now under civil control, must be
first approved by the Government of the United States as
well as by England and France. But since the first conference
on this subject of prime importance has developed some hesi-
tation as to their authority on the part of members of the
conference, I deem it my duty as General Pershing's repre-
sentative at this conference to place on file the following
statement as applying simply to the coordination of the im-
mediate activities of the Allied rear now possible under his
plan if approved by the existing military authorities alone.

Before my submission to the conference of General Per-
shing's plan looking to the military unification of the services
of the Allied rear to match the military unification at the
front, he had obtained the verbal acceptance of the principle
by M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George. The duty of this
conference, therefore, was to devise a plan, not to suggest
obstacles to its consummation to which most of its time
was devoted at the first meeting. The letter of General
Pershing, addressed to myself and submitted to the confer-
ence, considered together with the detailed statement of his
plan, indicated that his desire is such to secure military uni-


fication of the Services of Supply of the Allied rear, that while \
he would prefer final authority to be located in one man he
would acquiesce in an agreement by which the military
authority of the proposed committee could be set in motion
only by the unanimous consent of its three members. This
suggestion should of itself sweep away the objections raised
at this conference to this procedure. General Pershing's con-
tention is that if British and American lives can be trusted
to French control so can British and American material. This
military central control of Supply Service is as essential to
maximum effectiveness of effort against the enemy as unified
military control of the front. The recent reverses during the
first days of the last offensive were sufficient to sweep away
the arguments against Allied military unification suggested
by national pride and prestige for the last four years. With
the difficult months ahead of us, and the urgency of unity in
action and mutual cooperation, minor considerations should
not now be raised against a plan involving a principle so
indisputably correct that it is immediately adopted upon
presentation by those first in authority and committed to us
to work out and not to combat.

Given a military control committee of three, one each
representing the British, French, and American armies, with
authority through military channels to collect full informa-
tion and then with power to put into effect by military order
a unanimous decision improving the coordination of the
rear, what harm would result? If it did nothing else this
military committee would be a clearing-house of information,
thus facilitating the now clumsy efforts, born of overwhelm-
ing necessity, to coordinate the activities of the Allied rear.
Each Government retaining its control over its member
could, through his veto power, save from any possible altera-
tion its entire system of intermingled civil and military con-
trol so jealously exploited in the discussions of this conference.
So vast are the possible accomplishments of good from the
military unification of the Allied Services of Supply, under


one man or military committee, extending throughout
England, France, Italy, and the United States, properly to
be regarded as the "rear" in this effort, that we are instinc-
tively prone to dwell constantly on the impossibility of ob-
taining it, overlooking the possibilities of obtaining most
important advantages in the immediate rear of the armies
without necessarily cutting any governmental system of in-
ternal red tape and using only existing military authority.

As charged by General Pershing with the duty of making
recommendations to him looking toward the coordination
with our allies of the army activities of the American rear, if
this military committee is formed, and even if contrary to
his advice its military authority could not be set in motion
except by unanimous consent, I would ask and expect from
it unanimous action resulting in the transmission of the
necessary orders as follows:

(1) Ordering information from the departments concerned
of the three armies as to the status of the present ware-
house capacity of the three armies in France, and if it
is found sufficient to provide for the present and future
requirements of the Allied armies considered as one,
an order to the American army not to waste tonnage,
material, work, and men in building new warehouses
where sufficient empty warehouse space exists.

(2) Ordering information from the concerned departments
of the three armies as to the total present unloading
capacity of the docks of France (including transporta-
tion from the docks to the front of the unified Allied
army) and the amount of material now being trans-
ported to the front from these docks so that it may be
intelligently determined whether the American army is
building unnecessary docks and thus diverting ma-
terial, work, and men from more important service.

(3) Information ordered from the three concerned depart-
ments of the total amount of civilian and militarized
labor now at the disposal of the three armies, so that


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if it were ascertained that the present supply, if used
in proper coordination, is sufficient, orders be issued for
its proper use and for the A.E.F. to cease the continued
importation of civilian labor from adjoining countries,
thus putting a further tax upon the local resources of

(4) Ordering information from the concerned departments
of the three armies as to the present status of motor
transports in France, and, upon the development of
the situation, the issuance of immediate orders pre-
venting any one army from consuming shipping space
by bringing camions to France when sufficient are
available or can be manufactured here for the unified
army at the front.

(5) Information with appropriate orders as to whether
central distributing dep6ts for the joint use of the three
armies do not now exist to that extent which will ren-
der possible an intelligent reduction of American con-

Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 10 of 30)