Charles Gates Dawes.

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struction projects in this connection.

(6) Information with appropriate orders as to the col-
lective situation of freight cars and locomotives, the
use to which they are being put at present, whether
economical to that effect as would render it impossible
for us to cut down requisitions of this nature from

(7) Obtaining information regarding normal supplies com-
mon to the three armies with a view to their equitable
distribution as needed, in order to prevent unneces-
sary use of tonnage, to accumulate unusual quantities
during the present crisis in shipping.

(8) And many more subjects of importance the above
being only a few important illustrations.

That the members of this conference, instead of devoting
themselves to a discussion of the methods necessary to carry
out a plan accepted in principle by the Prime Ministers of
England and France and proposed by the Commander-in-


Chief, A.E.F., confined themselves chiefly to the suggestion
of the obvious difficulties in the way of a complete inter-
national application of the idea, resulted in this first con-
ference in a comparative lack of discussion of certain prac-
ticable steps of greatest importance related to the immediate
rear of the armies. General Pershing has made this proposi-
tion in no spirit of distrust. It must be realized, however,
that if as suggested at this conference the partial pooling of
supplies and resources now going on under the pressure of
necessity is continued through subordinate or separate con-
trols as distinguished from a military central control, an
insuperable obstacle is raised to a fair and complete solution
of the problem. This insuperable obstacle to complete per-
ception of the necessities of a common situation and the
application of the necessary remedies in connection with it
lies in the fidelity of the subordinate in charge of a particular
supply to the unit which he supplies. The conception of such
a subordinate of a common necessity is determined prima-
rily by its effect upon the need with whose satisfaction he is
charged as a matter of military duty.

While the disposition seems to exist to combat the logical
extension of the idea of authority in this time of emergency
and war to a military dictatorship of the entire Allied Service
of Supply, as suggested by General Pershing, it is well to
point out that if that idea was accepted by the three Govern-
ments, the central authority being charged with the respon-
sibility for the whole would conceive and carry out these
responsibilities in terms of the whole and not in terms of
three separate armies. Is it possible that France, England,
and the United States will trust under French command
their men and hesitate at trusting their material ? This ques-
tion must not be discussed except upon the assumption that
if the central control is established it will be impartially ad-
ministered. Objections to it must be upon the ground alone
of the impossibility of creating the machinery.

If I have wrongly interpreted the conservatism in this con-


ference it is not because of any lack of appreciation of the
spirit of cooperation, as evidenced by the treatment which
the Americans have received from Services of Supply in
France. Generosity and quick response to our suggestion of
any necessity have ever marked the attitude of our allies.
All freely bring to the common cause the limit of resources in
wealth and precious lives. The people from the highest to
the lowest are one in complete self-sacrifice. The question,
therefore, is only one of natural steadfastness and conserva-
tism. But this conservatism and steadfastness should not
now be allowed to interfere with the consummation of the
common victory. General Pershing has placed his authority
over his military Service of Supply at the disposal of the
Allies for its proper coordination and to insure the maximum
effort against the enemy. This action on his part is the
highest expression of his confidence in the justice and fair-
ness of our allies and is the best indication of his belief that
the plan which he has proposed, notwithstanding all the
arguments raised at this conference against it, is possible of
accomplishment if it is met in a similar spirit.

In conclusion, let me say that the matters to which I am
calling specific attention and which demand coordination,
are matters affecting the immediate military rear of the
armies. The authority to create the military central control,
absolutely necessary to deal with them effectively, exists or
can be made to exist in this conference by the delegation of
existing military authority alone.

As military men we have no right to screen our responsi-
bilities for a bad situation as regards coordination in the im-
mediate rear of the armies by raising smoke about civil
interference 'and extending unduly the scope of the discus-
sion of a comprehensive and unquestioned principle. It is
our fault and our fault alone if we do not correct the situa-
tion. Civil governments have delegated us both duty and
a full authority with which to accomplish it. Concessions of
independent military authority must be made to a central


control. The American Commander-in-Chief in his plan
places his at the disposal of the Allies. The present lack of
military coordination of the Allied Services of Supply of the
immediate rear of the armies prevents the maximum use
of our military resources against a thoroughly consolidated
enemy. If as military men we fail to correct this we are re-
sponsible in blood and lives and possibly defeat and we


Colonel, Engineers, N.A.

Paris, Sunday night, May 12, 1918

BY my letter, revised and improved by General Pershing,
to M. Jeanneney, President of the Inter-Allied Conference,
called to discuss the military unification of the rear of the
armies, I think I have taken away the last ground for English
opposition to it. At the conference the English evidently
feared to depart from the status quo. Any one who desires to
maintain the military and economic status quo of the Allies
has, I notice, a desire to refer the matter under discussion to
the Supreme War Council. By the time that august body is
ready to apply a remedy, the need for it has generally passed.
The patient dies before the doctors can decide as to the
medicine he needs. But my letter, it seems to me, makes it
impossible for England not to acquiesce.

Cravath came over from England to get information
about the General's plan and to ascertain what relation it
had to the field of activities of certain civil boards and plans.
He asked me to meet him, Loucheur, and Clementel (Minis-
ter of Commerce, France) at Loucheur's office yesterday morn-
ing, which I did. I explained that while the principle of the
plan could be beneficially extended over civil cooperation
with the armies, the idea was to inaugurate it in military
fields and by military authority alone. It therefore would
not interfere with the civil work now going on, but only
make it more effective by a more intelligent and proper use

Secretary of War


of its results. I think for he so stated that I satisfied
this able and useful man, and turned him from a tendency
to question into an advocate of English cooperation under
the agreement or suggestion, rather that a unanimous
agreement of the members of the proposed board be essential
to put its military authority into action. Cravath has large
influence with the English, and great ability and energy. I
value most highly his judgment.

This (Sunday) evening General Patrick, whom General
Pershing has asked to assume charge of aviation, dined with
me, having stopped on his way back to Tours from Chaumont
to ask some questions as to the ability and qualifications of
certain men whom he contemplates using in reorganization
of the Aviation Department the best and one of the most
serious organization problems of our service. Am glad it is
going into General Patrick's hands.

Paris, Thursday, May 16, 1918 (night)

ON Thursday afternoon the second meeting of our inter-
Ally conference on the subject was held. The English were
not present, having filed a written statement of their views.
I had also filed mine, having previously delivered it to
M. Jeanneney and to M. Loucheur, who had it when they
prepared the French note which was presented at the meet-
ing of the conference. M. Clemenceau was present and pre-
sided, stating that he had come because of the great impor-
tance of our subject to his Government. I took Captain
Moore, who acts as my secretary, and my nephew Gates
with me to the meeting. The principal French ministers,
some French military officers, and General Merrone, the
Italian Quartermaster-General in France, were present. I
sat by M. Clemenceau, who read the French note, which was
our plan of a military committee acting by unanimous agree-
ment (in order to bring in the English in the future), and an
added plan for extension of the principle as General Pershing
had suggested to civil authorities and activities, which, of


course, was not possible of authoritative acceptance without
the approval of the United States Government. Was very
careful not to commit General Pershing any further than his
military authority extended. The discussion extended over
some two hours. Arranged at the meeting for the French
and Americans to proceed on unification of their rear so far
as military authority will permit. Also arranged with Lou-
cheur for meeting at which to provide for pooling behind
our lines of American and French ammunition and wired
Colonel Moseley, of the General Staff, 4th Bureau, A.E.F.,
to meet Loucheur, the French artillery military authorities
from the front, and myself, at Loucheur's office this afternoon.
At this conference this afternoon ammunition pooling be-
hind the lines was agreed upon. We also discussed the de-
tails of carrying out our general plan which I am to discuss
with General Pershing to-morrow. Arranged with Loucheur
to hold the announcement by the French to the English
Government of the plan as agreed upon by the French and
ourselves at the Tuesday meeting until I could revise it to
be certain that in its statement to the English it clearly
stated the limits and nature of the military authority under
which the military control committee proposed to start

Am in so many important conferences that I despair of
making these notes anywhere near complete, but hope to
keep up a general outline of the methods by which we pro-

Nearly 1000 men gassed and killed and wounded out of
one regiment in the 1st Division the other day mustard
gas. Air raid on Paris last night not much to speak of.
They have become more infrequent. The long-range gun,
too, seems to have been put out of commission by the
French artillery. The General has been at the front wires
he will arrive here to-morrow. We are located in the Elysee
Palace Hotel with the General Purchasing Board and my
Staff, having moved from the Mediterranee. General


Patrick called on me the other evening to discuss aviation
which he will soon take over.

Pans, May 23, 1918

I HAVE not written for some days because I wanted to re-
cord the emergence of General Pershing's plan from the fog
which, after its adoption by the conference, was thrown
around it by the reports of the conference drawn up by
the French which did not clearly outline the division between
what was adopted and what was simply discussed. Yester-
day General Pershing drew up a simple restatement oTthe
plan and took it to Clemenceau and the two signed it. This
paper will go to the British and Italian Governments in place
of the statements prepared by Loucheur and Lavit which had
been submitted to me for suggestion and revision. As soon
as I received Lavit's statement, which it was proposed to
send to the English, I realized that in effect it subordinated
principles to the discussion of details to carry them out, and
that if it went to the English, even corrected so as to make it
clear that the American military authority alone as dis-
tinguished from civil was being coordinated, it would prob-
ably cause serious if not fatal obstructions to their acquies-
cence. Accordingly in an effort to clarify and simplify things
I prepared a report to General Pershing of what actually
was agreed upon at the conference, which I submitted to
Loucheur, and which in its statements was revised by the
General himself. Loucheur at first agreed to my report as
being a proper form of statement after some suggestions had
been incorporated to make the plan accord with French
administrative authority. The idea was to have the report go
to the English as simplifying things.

But the next day Loucheur, who had taken the report to
submit to Clemenceau, sent me another statement drawn by
himself likewise including details which might induce danger-
ous delay through discussion even to the extent of endanger-
ing the adoption of the principle. So I spent an anxious


evening with the General (Pershing), and found him even
more convinced than myself that the statement which
Loucheur prepared might if presented destroy the chances of
the plan's adoption by all. The General decided to make an
effort with Clemenceau to clear the fog away. On May 21
(day before yesterday) Colonel DeGrailly, representing
Loucheur, called on me stating that upon reconsideration
Loucheur thought his own statement inexpedient, and that
the principles having been adopted we had better leave the
details of the method of applying them to our mutual agree-
ment as time developed their need without endeavoring to
make a preliminary agreement upon an outline of them. This
wise decision made by Loucheur himself lifted a weight of
anxiety from me, as the whole plan after this terrible month
of effort was hanging in the balance again. 1

At 4.30 P.M. (May 21) General Pershing called to go over
our new headquarters for the first time, and I had Colonel
DeGrailly state Loucheur's suggestion to him.

The next morning, May 22, General Pershing called me to
his house and showed me the restatement which he proposed
to present to Clemenceau in the afternoon (or late in the
morning). It was admirable, as is everything John writes and
studies. In the afternoon he telephoned that Clemenceau
had signed it with him and sent me a copy.

May 22, 1918

It is hereby agreed among the Allied Governments sub-
scribing hereto:

1. That the principle of unification of military supplies
and utilities for the use of the Allied armies is adopted.

2. That in order to apply this principle and as far as pos-
sible coordinate the use of utilities and the distribution
of supplies among the Allied armies, a Board consisting

1 See Report of Daily Activities, May 19, 24, 25, and June 4. Appendix
C, vol. H, pp. 121, 123, 125, 126.



of representatives of each of the Allied armies is to be
constituted at once.

3. That the unanimous decision of the Board regarding
the allotment of material and supplies shall have the
force of orders and be carried out by the respective
supply agencies.

4. That further details of the organization by which the
above plan is to be carried out shall be left to the
Board, subject to such approval by the respective
Governments as may at any time seem advisable.

We agree to the above and wish it to be submitted to the
British and Italian Governments.


What I have gone through this last week has been really
the hardest work I have done over here. It has nearly used
up my energy for a few days, anyway. And now must
come the building-up of the new and great organization
which properly effected should do so much toward bringing
us an Allied victory. Real power should be camouflaged by
a wise man as is a heavy cannon. To expose it unnecessarily
is only to attract hostile artillery. This is the principle upon
which I will try to work in forming this new organization.
Only when power becomes so great that the unmasking of it
demonstrates the futility of any attempt to oppose it is it
safe to depart from this principle. Even then, though it be
safe, it is not wise. Vanity is often the assassin of a useful

Paris, Sunday, June 2, 1918

WE are at the height of a military crisis. It is all a question
of the ability of the Allies to hold out until we can come in
with full strength. General Pershing is here for the Versailles
Council. If I had time to write them, it would be interesting
some time to read notes of what he tells me from day to day


about his matters and the general situation; but I cannot
do so and cannot even write as I should of my own work and
duties. Everything here including work and duty is for me
now on a vast scale.

One week ago on General Pershing's orders I started for
England to endeavor to persuade that Government to join
in our plan for military unification of the Allied Supply Serv-
ice. Took Dwight Morrow, 1 of the Shipping Board, and
Sergeant Francis Kilkenny with me. Martin Egan, a friend
of the General's who was in England, had wired suggesting
that if I went to England I might straighten out some mis-
understandings of their officials and remove their doubts
about the wisdom of British participation in the plan. Ar-
rived London Monday about noon. Saw Egan; then called
on General Biddle, Base Commander, U.S.A., London, who
took me to lunch. Went to 10 Downing Street after lunch
(they had told me Lloyd George would see me the next day)
and caught Lloyd George in the hall. Presented to him there
the letter from General Pershing designating me as the repre-
sentative of the American army and containing copy of the
plan which he and Clemenceau had signed. In answer to his
statement that "they" meaning the British War Office
"were against it," I explained that this was a statement of
the plan so simple that they could neither misunderstand it
nor be against it. He announced himself for it as he had
alreadfy done in principle to Pershing. Arrangements were
made to call the British War Council together to consider
the matter, at which I was asked to be present and present

1 Dwight Morrow was a man who without accepting a military com-
mission performed work of the greatest military and economic value to the
A.E.F. and to the Allies. Members of the British General Staff requested
me to ask Mr. Morrow to visit them at G.H.Q., Montreuil, because, as
General Travers-Clarke said, they wanted to meet the man whose clear
analysis of the Allied shipping situation had profoundly affected the
Allied policy finally adopted. His unusual work with the General Staff of
the A.E.F. during the war was generally recognized.

He received the Distinguished Service Medal of the United States.



the plan. This meeting was set for 1.30 P.M. the next day.
In the meantime Cravath, whose aid has been invaluable in
this English end of the matter, had made an engagement for
me to meet Lieutenant-General Cowans, British Quarter-
master-General, who was the man blocking things. Lord
Milner, whose attitude was favorable owing to Cravath's
presentation of the plan to him, did not get back from
France in time for the 1.30 meeting of the War Council next
day, and so I was notified from Cowans' office that the
meeting was off until Milner returned.

This proved fortunate, for I then saw General Cowans
and General Crofton-Atkins, British D.G.T., with Cravath
and Morrow. We had no difficulty in reaching an under-
standing and Cowans signified his agreement to the plan.
As Lloyd George was already favorable, and also Milner,
this settled the matter and made a meeting of the War
Council unnecessary. Cravath and Morrow, after consulta-
tion with Milner, prepared the letter of acceptance for
Milner to sign which, after he had approved it, was sub-
mitted to me for approval. And so was completed a most
important step for better Allied operations in the future.

Met my London purchasing office staff for a short time.
Left for France Thursday morning. The British War Office
(who were very kind) had telephoned Major-General Carter,
B.E.F., at Boulogne of my coming. The latter had sent me
an invitation to visit British G.H.Q. when he heard I was
going to England. He met me with his motor and went with
me all the way to Paris, stopping for thirty minutes at his

Saturday presented the matter to General Pershing, who
was pleased and so expressed himself. Milner's letter to
Pershing sent in my care I delivered to him last night and
he is preparing letters to Milner and Clemenceau. Asked
him to include suggestion to the French Government to put
the Belgians on the committee as the English first proposed.
This heroic little army which made the Marne possible, and


therefore all possible, must never be forgotten as the larger
armies march to the battle they commenced.

And now my larger work begins. It will require great
patience and tact, for at first, operating as we do under a
conceded authority, reluctantly granted, we must proceed
by degrees; but if this war continues a year this Board, or
what springs directly out of it, will, next to the three military
commanders, be the chief factor in eventual Allied success.
This comes not because of self-confidence (of which I have
no small degree) , but because we can officially clear the way
for common sense the ultimate king of all successful wars
to have its day in the rear of the armies.

I have many, many plans. But to gain power to execute
them for the good of the Allied Supply Service our Board
must remain humble and work very hard. This afternoon
(Sunday) had a conference on the general A.E.F. dock pro-
gramme with Langfitt, Colonel Townsend, and Raymond
(U.S. Shipping Control Committee), Sherman and Morrow
(U.S. Shipping Board). Spent part of the morning with
General Pershing. Am very busy.

Paris, Tuesday, June 4, 1918

YESTERDAY I received a request from the French Minister of
Armament to arrange for use of American ammunition de-
p6ts by the French, who must hurriedly remove ammunition
from certain depots endangered by the German advance.
Communicated with General Wheeler, who came to Paris,
and gave him details. This morning at my office General
Wheeler met the French officers and gave them the needed
space. Was pleased with the way our people were prepared
to act immediately and the way General Wheeler handled
the matter. We are working closer all the time with our
allies, and we must if we are to win.

Saw General Pershing yesterday afternoon. He had just
returned from the War Council. Clemenceau brought up
the matter of our plan and it was confirmed. We were a


little afraid the War Council might mix in, but they did not.
This is no day for advisory committees only for action.

Am sorry I have time only to write of the general events
and cannot make a picture more in detail of what is happen-
ing. One lives a lifetime in a month in time of war. The next
sixty days are the critical ones. If our allies hold, we shall

Our Board becomes naturally the link between ourselves
and the two other armies in all coordinated supply activities.
The General, however, wants me to hold the position of
General Purchasing Agent for a time until he can have me
promoted based on my record in that position and then
formally transferred to my new work, at which I am now
engaged under his official designation to our allies.

Paris, June 8, 1918

AT General Pershing's suggestion I attended the conference
yesterday between Colonel Logan and General LeRond, Dep-
uty Chief of Foch's Staff, relative to the horse situation. In
order to put American artillery into action 80,000 horses are
immediately necessary, and 100,000 horses in all are needed
to see us through the next sixty days. Later in the day the
French notified Logan that they would furnish the 80,000
horses as rapidly as possible. Am busy with matters relating
to the coordination of the rear of the army with our allies.
Already we have arranged for coordination of munition
depot plans. There is so much to be done, and it is so im-
portant that I am not waiting for the appointment of the
other members of the Board by the French and English, but

Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 30)