Charles Gates Dawes.

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available trucks was inadequate; the Commander-in-Chief had not at his
disposal the transportation he required for active sectors of the front.
Therefore they were led to centralize the motor transportation,
First, in each army.
Second, for the whole of the French armies.

The results were most satisfactory. He wished to point out that the
principle which was true for motor transportation was also true for all
sorts of resources, material, and facilities. He pointed out the question of
artillery material and recalled the fact that units engaged in active opera-
tions required a quantity of artillery far greater than those in quiet
sectors. The first thing to study, when large units are to be engaged in
such operations, is the amount of artillery that must be given to them in
excess of their normal allowance. This has led to the creation of the French
General Reserve of Artillery, which is at the disposal of the Commander-
in-Chief to be distributed as he sees fit among his armies. He believes in
the necessity of extending that principle, and creating a General Inter-
Allied Reserve of Artillery, at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief of
the Allied armies. His conclusion was that the pooling principle was the
only way to economize all sorts of material, and therefore have the material
available when and where necessary. Of course its application is difficult,
therefore the Committee are entitled to our gratitude for the very com-
plicated and useful work they are doing.

General Pershing said he wished, too, to express his appreciation of the
work the Committee were doing. The idea of the pooling of resources, he
recalled, had been initiated by the Americans in connection with the sea
tonnage. They had always considered it to be a most important factor in
economy of tonnage; one that should enable the Allies to take advantage
of any excess in available shipping for the general prosecution of the war.
Starting from that basis, the Americans had always encouraged the prin-
ciple of unification in all branches of resources and effort. He wished to
state that in his opinion the object of the activities of the Committee was
not to take away resources belonging to an Allied army to turn them over
to another army. Their object was chiefly to establish practical rules and
methods enabling the Allied armies, when it was decided to be necessary,
to use the common resources in the most intelligent and effective manner.
He finished by thanking the Committee for the work they were doing.


their great importance from a military standpoint in connec-
tion with our approaching offensive, the great necessity under-
lying them, all will contribute to their lasting usefulness.
This visit of John's was made on the eve almost of our first
great military attack on the front, the consequences of which
are sure to be extremely far-reaching.

General Moseley, Assistant Chief of Staff G~4, G.H.Q., also
came to the meeting. (Smither is Assistant Chief of Staff G~4,
S.O.S.) Moseley feels we are well prepared for the attack of
the first field army upon which the hopes of our cause so
greatly depend. Pershing and Petain came with Payot from
a conference l with Foch at his near-by Headquarters, which
was also attended by General McAndrew and Fox Connor, of
our G.H.Q.

The English attack of to-day is proceeding well as Travers-
Clarke is informed by wire. General Travers-.Clarke had com-
pleted the arrangements of the British rear before leaving
British Headquarters so he stated so that, though the
English attack would take place in his absence, his machinery
would run through three days all right notwithstanding. In
contrast to the attitude of some of the English high officials
toward our Board, General Clarke took this trip at this im-
portant time to ask me to ask General Pershing to make a
request of Lloyd George for additional representation on the
Board for British General Headquarters along the lines of my
letter of August 24 to General Pershing regarding our own
army which I had sent him through Major Bacon. I am to
see General Pershing early to-morrow morning in this con-
nection just before he starts for the front where so many
important events are impending. Everybody has been doing
his best to get things ready, and General Pershing will lead
into battle a magnificent and well-equipped army.

My days pass in a succession of tasks which must be ac-

1 At this conference the employment of the American army as a unit
was definitely conceded. (See General Pershing's Final Report to Secre-
tary of War, p. 70.)


complished. It would be interesting if in these notes I could
describe our gatherings in the old and historic rooms of La
Grange du Roy and our dinners at the chateau. Now that the
Belgian army is represented, there gather around the table
officers of five different armies. We are great friends. The
French officers especially are considerate. But the beautiful
and impressive surroundings somehow I seem to see only
when I have left them, for the hard burden of difficult and
perplexing decision is upon one's mind all the time. When the
war is long over and I am far away from all the cares of the
present and from this beloved country, there will come to me
pictures in detail which now I hardly notice. Now above and
overshadowing all is the atmosphere of tragedy unspeakable.

Paris, Tuesday, September 3, 1918

WHILE I am waiting at his house for General Pershing this
morning it occurs to me to make a note of something that
happened at our meeting yesterday as illustrating negotia-
tion from an inter-army standpoint. Pershing and Petain
had both discussed the great necessity of the motor reserve.
Payot had stated with great emphasis the necessity for the
American army to furnish its quota of camions. The matter
of the failure by the French to deliver us hay as agreed had
been the subject of our earnest discussion before Pershing
and Petain arrived. I had stated that because of that failure
Harbord had just requisitioned 1 6,000 tons of hay from
America three shiploads. So I interrupted Payot to say,
with the emphasis with which he was demanding camions
from us, that if he would deliver us 16,000 tons of hay as a
reserve we would give him these three ships full of camions
for the inter-Allied motor reserve. I had been demanding,
in view of the importance of saving tonnage, that the French
withdraw their order preventing us from buying hay locally.
Now Payot and Petain work as closely together as Per-
shing and myself. Immediately that he saw that I was to ex-
pose a shortcoming of the French which, Heaven knows


was excusable enough he winked at Petain, who suddenly
arose, thus putting an end to the entire meeting. Pershing,
Petain, and Payot left the meeting, and as soon as they were
out of the building Payot sent for me to join them, and told
me he would come to Paris to-day to get the French (through
Vilgrain) if possible to agree to our buying hay in France.
Here comes the General.

P.S. 5 P.M. I resume after a long conference (up to 1.30
A.M.) with General Pershing who is on his way to his army.

In the evening Beadon came to me to express his indigna-
tion because Payot's wink, which closed the meeting, pre-
vented an exposition on my part of a partial failure of the
hard-working French which I was only resorting to in order
to compel action as important to them as to us. I told
Beadon that he had a wrong impression of Payot; that he
had only done what I should have done ; and that by agreeing
to do what he knew was right had proved that any further
argument on my part was unnecessary. When Beadon, who
is a very fair man and nice fellow, heard what Payot had
said to me afterward, he agreed fully that I was right. The
incident only shows how easy it is for people to make trouble
when there is a lack of full knowledge of all the circum-
stances, and how careful we should be at all times not to
criticize or misjudge others. I am very very fond of Payot
and trust him. He is an invaluable aid to the American
army and a superb officer.

To-day Payot is here laboring to get the civil French
authorities to agree to our buying hay direct which they yes-
terday refused Colonel Krauthoff. He brought me this after-
noon a complete German grenade-thrower which he had him-
self taken and with a brass plate attached with an inscription
to me, which I shall have translated and file with these notes. 1
Took lunch (very late) with Ganne, Tardieu, and others.
1 Granatenwerfer

Pris pres Epieds (10 Km. N.E. de Chateau-Thierry) le 23 julllet, 1918,
BUT le champs de bataille ou s'illustra la 26 ifeme Division, U.S.

Rapport e au Colonel Charles Dawes en souvenir de 1'activite et de


The main purpose of my visit with General Pershing,
among others, was to have the General write Lord Milner
urging that the English create a direct representation of
the British General Staff on our Board in addition to the
representative of the English War Office. The General wrote
the letter, attaching my letter of August 24 as explaining
in detail what was desired. General Travers-Clarke is anx-
ious to have this done and to come on the Board himself.
I hope finally that our long siege against English conserva-
tism will now be completely successful. My letter of Au-
gust 24 to General Pershing was largely written for English
consumption. It brought General Travers-Clarke to Paris
and Coubert. Now we shall see if it does not bring around
the War Office. If it does our Board is entirely equipped. An
Englishman always defers to a sound reason in time, though
it must be firmly, almost violently and continuously, pre-
sented under some circumstances. I attach a copy of the
General's letter. 1

1'intelligence remarquable avec lesquelles le Colonel Dawes a constitufe
le Comite Inter-alli6 des Ravitaillements, dans le but de cimenter 1'union
des armees franchises et americaines et de rendre plus forte leur action
commune, par son devoue collaborates et ami le Colonel Payot, Aide-
Au G.Q.G. 24 juillet, 1918. (Signe) CH. PAYOT


Taken near Epieds (10 Km. N.E. of Chateau-Thierry) July 23, 1918,
on the battle-field where the 26th U.S. Division made itself illustrious.

Brought back to Colonel Charles Dawes, in remembrance of the re-
markable activity and intelligence with which Colonel Dawes formed the
Inter-Allied Committee of Supplies, with the aim of cementing the union


Personal France, September 2, 1918

Secretary of Slate for War

London, England

The attached letter [my letter to Commander-in-Chief, dated August
24, 1918. See pp. 148-52] of Colonel Dawes clearly sets forth the impor-


At Coubert General Moseley told me he had advised
General Pershing to send him to the front and put me in
charge of the 4th Bureau of the General Staff in his place.
General Pershing this morning also told me that Moseley
suggested this. No higher tribute could be paid me than
this by Moseley, but I know what my training fits me for
and I stated that this would be a mistake of a very serious
nature. General Moseley is a most able officer, and his
c ommanding ability and long experience with our own Zone
of the Advance render him indispensable in this place. Like

of the French and American armies and of strengthening their common
action, by his devoted collaborator and friend Colonel Payot, Aide-Major-
At G.H.Q. 24th July, 1918. (Signed) CH. PAYOT

tance of the coordination work of the Military Board of Allied Supply
in the rear of the three armies, as well as the necessity for the closest
touch with it by the General Staff of each army.

Desiring to keep Colonel Dawes as the American member, I have not
followed his suggestion to substitute a member of my General Staff in his
place, but have given him authority, in his discretion, to call in members
of the Staff and chiefs of the services to assist him.

Therefore, in the case of the French and American armies there is the
closest contact and cooperation of the General Staffs with the Military
Board of Allied Supply. The British General Staff, however, does not have
direct representation on the Board, since the British member represents
the War Office alone.

Since, for the preservation of final authority of the respective Com-
manders-in-Chief over the lines of communications of their respective
armies, Marshal Haig and I have not acceded to Marshal Foch's desire
for central control of the rear under Colonel Payot, and since this Board
provides a proper agency for central control, without lessening the final
authority, I earnestly request that the British General Staff be given
representation on the Board in addition to the War Office in order to fur-
ther strengthen it in its important work.

If General Travers-Clarke should be directly represented on the Board
as is a similar authority in the other two armies, much delay in its work
would be avoided and its general purposes be effectively forwarded.

With expresson of my high personal and official esteem, believe me,

Respectfully yours


P.S. My previous correspondence on this subject was directed to the
Prime Minister. J. J. P.


all unselfish and overworked men, he occasionally, working
at such great tension, becomes discouraged. But he never
falters. Much of our coming success will be due to his work.
General Pershing told me of his violent interview with
Marshal Foch of last Saturday. 1 While notes were taken of
the interview, they will never indicate how important and
intense was the issue. At one time Foch told Pershing he
would appeal to the President of the United States. It
ended with John's success. But I will say here that if any
weaker or less able man than John Pershing had been con-
fronted with this crisis, the American army, which is the
pride of our nation and will ever be in history, would have
been dissipated and a common victory rendered less certain.
And yet Foch and Pershing are great friends and will always
be so. Each admires the other. Unusual men take unusual
methods of expression at times, but they never misunder-
stand each other. The sincerity of both Foch and Pershing,
their common and sacred purpose, their common ability,
bind them closely together. But when General Foch said,
"I accept," he had yielded the American army its proper
place in history. This was due to General Pershing, and to
him alone, under circumstances which no other man in any
of the three armies in my judgment could have mastered.
Pershing is incomparably the strongest character I have
ever known.

Paris, September 5, 1918

HAVE just returned from the British aviation field where I
saw my friend General Sam McRoberts start on his trip
from Paris to London by airplane, and now have a few min-
utes' quiet.

At my request the Labor Bureau has been transferred to
Tours to get it in closer contact with the operating con-

1 The General was referring to his conferences of August 30 and Sep-
tember 2, both of which were devoted to the issue of the unity of the
American army. (See General Pershing's Final Report to the Secretary
of War, pp. 39 and 40.)


struction chiefs. Received a fine letter of commendation
from S.O.S. for my accomplishment. When I took over the
task of recruiting and organizing militarized civil labor for
the A.E.F. in addition to my other work, it was with some
misgivings. But with the able help of Jackson, Smith, Estes,
and others the Labor Bureau of the G.P.A. has made good,
and that task is done. We started about February 25 with
nothing. Our task was to recruit, officer, feed, transport, dis-
cipline, and maintain laborers under organization, turning
them over to the control of construction officers only when
they were actually at work. On March 25 we had 6000; on
April 23, 14,000; on May 23, 23,000; on June 25, 30,000; on
July 23, 37,000; and on August 26, 45,251. Of this number
8000 are prisoners of war operating under the Labor Bureau.
Our actual recruiting amounted to about 26,000. The other
laborers we took over from others for organization and con-
trol. When we started, Europe had been thoroughly combed
over. Spain, Italy, and Portugal all embargoed our recruit-
ing. I do not understand yet how we did so well. But thank
Heaven! it is done. I will attach letter from Smither con-
veying commendation of General Harbord and his own. 1


31 August, 1918

From: Commanding General, S.O.S.

To: Colonel Charles G. Dawes, General Purchasing Agent
Subject: Labor Bureau

1. The Labor Bureau has been transferred to the newly organized Army
Service Corps. The efforts of its procurement branch, being confined to
the procurement of labor in Europe, will continue to operate solely under
your direction, in the same manner as do the procurement divisions of all
other Supply Departments in respect to supplies in Europe.

2. Upon the occasion of this passing of the Labor Bureau from your
direct supervision and control, the Commanding General desires me to
express to you his keen appreciation of the manner in which, under your
able administration, the Labor Bureau rapidly grew from its inception to
its present thorough-going organization. During that period it has been
the agency which has enabled important projects to be continued under
construction. Dealing with laborers of many different nationalities, a
multitude of vexatious problems were involved in the successful manage-


Our laborers consist of Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Indo-
Chinese, Portuguese, French, Senegalese, Cabyles, Moroc-
cans, Tunisians, Germans (prisoners of war), and some
others under the caption "mixed," which may sound like
piling Ossa on Pelion in the matter of designation. And then
and this should have been mentioned first we have
some 6000 to 7000 women, including "W.A.C.S," whom we
brought from England. I still, however, must help recruit as
per my orders.

The retreat of the Germans continues. We are straining
every nerve to get the S.O.S. in the immediate rear ready for
the advance. Harbord arrives this evening.

Paris, Monday A.M.
September 9, 1918

ARRIVED from visit to front I A.M. and leave for Coubert in a
few hours, but had such an interesting trip shall make a note
of it. Arranged the trip for McFadden, of War Trade Board,
through our Military Board French officers He has been
a faithful and effective worker of great ability for the
A.E.F., and had not as yet been to the front. Arranged to
have the party, including Dr. White and Mr. Darrow, of
Chicago, go to Coubert for dinner and the night at our head-
quarters, meeting me at Meaux yesterday morning, to which
point I went (Sunday morning) with General Harbord, who
stopped there for a celebration of the Battle of the Marne.
Mr. Stettinius accompanied us. Went to Soissons, where we
saw Mangin at his new headquarters near there into which
he had moved that morning. Went about eight to ten kilo-
meters beyond Soissons, where we looked at the artillery

ment of this organization. All of these you have met and solved in the
most expeditious and capable manner.

3. Please permit me to add my personal appreciation, as I have per-
sonally watched this development from its beginning
By order of the C. G.:


Asst. Chief of Slaf, 6-4


action. A French deputy who had preceded us at this point
two hours before was killed by a shell which burst in his
party. Looked at the shelling of the Chemin-des- Dames road.
Brought back a French bayonet as a souvenir of this spot.
It was lying near the body of a French hero a private
soldier. Went through Soissons bombarded and deserted
and stopped for a minute in the deserted and ruined cathedral.
Took the road as Mangin directed and got to the Oise by
Noyon, but the bridge was blown down and we could cross
only on a temporary footway. Noyon, like Soissons, is a
stark ruin. The Germans are just out of it. The Noyon-
Soissons road was somewhat rough from occasional shell-
craters Came back through Compiegne and then to Soissons
again. Took dinner with General Mangin and his Staff.
Clemenceau had been there in the afternoon on his way to
visit the wounded deputy, who later died.

It was an interesting trip, as there was action everywhere in
progress on the front, though comparatively light, owing to
the rainy weather. We came into sight of it, however, only
east of Soissons. Mangin again and again expressed his
appreciation of the American troops. We traveled some two
hundred and fifty to three hundred miles during the day
according to McFadden's estimate.

At Military Board meeting this P.M. I expect to receive
for the A.E.F. authority for it to buy hay locally in France,
which we have desired so long and which should save us much
tonnage. Have not heard of the results of Pershing's letter to
Milner, which I am awaiting with interest. When General
Travers-Clarke came to see me in Paris he brought with him
and showed me the correspondence between Foch and Haig
in connection with the former's request for the central com-
mand of the Allied rear. Considering this correspondence,
considering the wisdom also of such a step, and the general
situation, I do not see how the British can decline to accede to
General Pershing's suggestion.

Discussed with Harbord Saturday evening the question of



a central financial organization for the A.E.F. He and Ker-
nan dined with me.

Paris, September 10, 1918

AT Coubert for meeting of Military Board yesterday after-
noon. Long and weary session. Got permission for the A.E.F.
to buy hay in France along its line of communications which
should help out our acute hay crisis. We have now only ten
days' supply on hand.

Discussed the 60 c.m. railway situation and accepted prin-
ciple of an inter-Allied Staff study and treatment of it in-
cluding a school such as the M.B.A.S. has established at
Rozoy for the Allied motor transport.

At the chateau in the evening Major-General Buat (P6-
tain's Chief of Staff), General Woodruff, English liaison
officer at French G.H.Q., and Colonel Mott, our American
liaison officer at Foch's Headquarters, dined with us. All
are much interested in our work. Stayed all night at Coubert
and then motored to Rozoy with the other members of the
M.B.A.S. to see the inter-Allied Staff school we have estab-
lished there in connection with the system of unification of
the motor transports in the rear of the Allied armies. In the
school there are thirteen American officers, ten English, ten
French, five Belgian, and two Italian. We listened to the
morning lesson. Payot addressed the school. Prepared a
telegram to Pershing asking his ratification of the inter-Allied
system of motor transport which we are putting into effect, as
Foch desires to promulgate it immediately.

Had a sense of satisfaction in attending this meeting and
seeing some of the results of the tremendous efforts which we
have made to establish and empower the M.B.A.S. Its im-
mense usefulness is at last generally recognized and I no
longer have to apologize, threaten, or explain. It speaks for
itself. It has been no light task to fit the yoke of a common
purpose upon the necks of the proud and independent chiefs
of the services of the three armies, but with the wonderful aid


and upon the initiative of our great Commander-in-Chief,
General Pershing, it has been done. For all my trials and
disappointments and work in getting this inter-Allied agency
started and they have not been inconsiderable I felt
myself repaid this morning as I sat before the school engaged
in a meditation made practicable by my inability to under-
stand the lectures in French delivered by the instructors.

Returned to Paris as usual at forty miles per hour. I often
wonder at my peace-time conservatism in regard to speeding.
It makes a difference when you have to do anything. Theo-
retically nothing mapped out for our Services of Supply is
possible considering the increasing importation of troops, but
practically we will take care of them. Dwight Morrow's story
is applicable. A father was telling his little boy a story. He

Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 15 of 30)