Copyright
Charles Gates Dawes.

A journal of the great war (Volume 1) online

. (page 16 of 30)
Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 16 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


said, "The alligator had his mouth open and was about to
close it on the turtle, when the turtle suddenly climbed a tree
and hid himself in the foliage." "But, papa," said the little
boy, "a turtle can't diml) a tree." To which papa replied,
"But this turtle had to."

Paris, September 14, 1918 (n A.M.)

GENERAL PERSHING and his army are winning a splendid
victory, having wiped out the St. Mihiel salient. 1 When I

1 Telegrams exchanged between General Harbord and General Pershing on
the occasion of the St. Mihiel victory
GENERAL PERSHING, September 13, 1918

C.-in-C., A..F.

Congratulations on your birthday and your fine work thereon. Nearly
three hundred years ago Oliver Cromwell on the I3th day of the month,
September, went into battle quoting Psalm 68, now the Episcopal morning
prayer for that date, "Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered; let
them also that hate him. Like as the smoke vanishes so shalt thou drive
them away."

HARBORD

MAJOR-GENERAL HARBORD September 19, 1918

Tours

Many thanks for your birthday telegram. Your old division might
well be termed The Ironsides, though I doubt whether they went to battle
quoting Psalm 68.

PERSHING



FULL BRITISH COOPERATION WON 169

appeared at Coubert at the Board meeting yesterday after-
noon all praised the first field army and its commander.
Payot brought over a French field map from his headquarters
with the American advance platted up to the last hour and
the other members of the Board signed it and presented it to
me as a remembrance of the occasion.

Colonel Beadon notified me that the English Government
had agreed to comply with General Pershing's request to have
the British General Staff represented on our Board, and that
General Ford had been appointed.

Ford is one of the ablest men in charge of the British supply
of the army rear. I think in our long fight for English coopera-
tion he has constantly approved our plan. My recollection is
that Lloyd George told General Pershing long ago that Ford
favored rear coordination and suggested in our early efforts a
consultation between Ford and myself. At any rate, England
is now squarely "in for it" and the world knows what that
means for the success of any great effort.

At the meeting I was enabled to state that the American
motor transport system was being reorganized as a result of
the work of the Board and along French lines. Payot said
Commandant Doumenc was at St. Mihiel then, and that our
motor work was being carried on there under the more elastic
plan of central control which the French follow. As our lines
advance the subject of motor transport behind the lines is
becoming of vast importance. The work which our Board has
accomplished already in unification of circulation and general
regulation of motor transports will be ever remembered. Then
if we get our mobile automobile reserve of 24,000 camions, to
operate under Foch, completed and we shall if the war
lasts a time longer it will be a tremendously effective
weapon in his hand. We established the Staff school for 60
c.m. railways at our meeting. I gave the Committee what
the A.E.F. could contribute in time of emergency to Foch in
light railway material, equipment, and personnel; also esti-
mate of motors available for his reserve in October.



170 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

The great victory which John and his army is now winning
will live in the history of the ages. It is difficult for me, how-
ever, to keep my mind from dwelling on the fact that it ren-
ders secure in every way my dear friend in the continuance
of his great work. I think my nephew William must have
been in a heavy tank in this fight, but am not sure.

Paris, September 15, 1918

GENERAL PERSHING'S victory is upon the minds and in the
hearts of all. His military success will be that which appeals
to the imagination and for which he will probably receive his
greatest praise. And yet really his greatest achievement is
the organization built up and held together during the past
year under~enormous difficulties. The great number of in-
vestigators and official visitors now among us are telling us
how we can improve this and that in our system. They for-
get the difficulties with which we have been confronted.
Results were always first in our mind system second. As
fast as we could apply system without lessening results, we
did so. And upon results we asked to be judged as well as upon
our system which we have evolved under the entirely new
circumstances of an allied warfare. I therefore keep my pa-
tience when the young men from the War and Treasury De-
partments tell us what we should and should not do. Much
of what they say is useful much is nonsense. 1 Stettinius,

1 Edward R. Stettinius brought to the assistance of the United States
Government an u'nusual experience in connection with munitions of war.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Great War, he organized and directed,
for Messrs. J. P. Morgan & Co., all purchases in the United States of war
supplies for the British and French Governments, which purchases reached
an amount not far short of four billion dollars, and, by meeting the Allied
deficit of munitions at a critical time, did much to save the Allied cause.

As Surveyor-General of Supplies, to which office he was appointed on
February 13, 1918; as a member of the War Council, which he entered a
month later; as Second Assistant Secretary of War, named by the Presi-
dent on April 6, 1918; as representative of the United States on the Inter-
Allied Munitions Council, Paris, from July, 1918, to the Armistice; and as
Special Representative of the War Department in Europe from August,




EDWARD R. STETTINIUS



EFFICIENCY OF STETTINIUS 171

however, who is extremely efficient, has a clear, logical, and
helpful mind. Sent here to report on us, he is showing every
appreciation of our past difficulties and his criticisms are
always constructive and helpful. We have been trying to de-
vise a central financial organization for some time. He has
given every assistance in this work. It is a pleasure to have

1918, to December, 1918, he contributed with conspicuous success to the
effective prosecution of the war.

His first activities in Washington were directed toward a solution of the
munitions supply problem, and particularly toward the coordination of
purchases and the adjustment of contracts for munitions and supplies to
the military programme. When this situation had been effectively met by
the centralization and coordination of the purchase, production, and sup-
ply of war material in the United States, he went overseas. He represented
the United States War Department on the Inter-Allied Munitions Council
and sat in conference with the Ministers of Munitions of England, France,
and Italy, in the consideration of measures designed to exercise control
over the munitions resources of the Allies and to direct their utilization
in the general interest of the Allied cause.

In addition to discharging abroad other duties specifically assigned to
him by the Secretary of War, he gave to General Pershing, Commander-
in-Chief of the A.E.F., in the language of General Pershing's citation,
"invaluable assistance in varied and important matters," these matters
involving problems of supply, the administration of the financial transac-
tions of the A.E.F., and, after the Armistice, the setting-up of organizations
for the cancellation of contracts and the liquidation of the business affairs
of the A.E.F. in Europe. Not the least of the services rendered by Mr.
Stettinius were the signally successful negotiations with our Allies in the
procurement of munitions which were required abroad in consequence of
the large number of troops sent abroad in the spring, summer, and fall of
1918.

Subsequently Mr. Stettinius returned to the United States, and, as a
result of his study and recommendations, the United States Liquidation
Commission, War Department, was formed to assume general charge of
the sale of supplies and the liquidation of the affairs of the A.E.F. in
Europe. He made a second journey to Europe in the spring of 1919 with
members of the Commission, assisting them in organization and serving
in an advisory capacity until July, 1919.

For his services to the War Department he received the Distinguished
Service Medal. The French Government, in recognition of what his labors
had contributed, not only to the effectiveness of the French supply of
munitions from the United States, but also to the whole Allied cause, con-
ferred upon him the rank of Commander of the Legion of Honor. The
Belgian Government conferred upon him the rank of Commander of the
Crown.



172 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

him here. Both Pershing and Harbord, as well as I, feel this
way about him.

Harbord spent much of yesterday with me. We had a con-
ference with the French on the hay situation in the afternoon.
John is biting into the S.O.S. for motors and personnel for the
emergency at the front and Harbord is bearing a heavy load.
But he is a great man and his shoulders are strong enough to
carry it. He is a dear, faithful, and loyal friend.

This morning received a telegram saying that General
Pershing had wired General Foch, as I suggested, indicating
his acceptance of the motor transport organization behind
the Allied lines. I certainly am rejoiced that John and I did
not yield to discouragement in our long fight to establish
our Board.

Received telegram saying Portugal had granted our request
to recruit 5000 laborers there. "To him who hath shall be
given." Victory is making our great task easier though it is
hard enough yet.

Paris, Wednesday
September 18, 1918 (9 P.M.)

STARTED for Chaumont (G.H.Q.) Monday afternoon by auto-
mobile with Logan. My purpose was to expedite the settle-
ment of the differences on the minor details of the Allied
motor regulations which still remain and which the General
Staff has appointed a board to consider. When this is done,
Pershing will approve and Foch issue the rules to the Allied
armies. Everything is settled except a few details, and the
delay is annoying. Hope to have the matter settled so that
the order can be issued by Foch to the armies next week. As
our lines advance farther from the railheads nothing is more
important than this motor transportation system. While
what I say here does not apply thank Heaven to
Moseley and G~4, who are concerned in motor transportation,
my patience and forbearance are at times strained to the
limit by the narrow and bigoted attitude of some of our



THE INSTINCT OF PROPERTY 173

American officers toward the French. So thoroughly is Gen-
eral Pershing in sympathy with, and possessed of knowledge
of, the magnificent efforts which the French are making for
us that in justice to these officers I feel that it would be un-
fair to them for me to indict them before the General, with-
out their presence. This feeling alone keeps me from making
a serious issue with some of them. However, since supply
relations and negotiations with the French are largely in my
hands, I am able to see that justice is done in almost every
case. But it is exasperating, with knowledge of the sacrifices
that these people are making and have made to help out the
Americans, to hear prejudicial expressions from small na-
tures reflecting upon them. Of course these men speak from
only limited knowledge of our dealings with the French
army and Government. Again to blame the French for an
actual or alleged failure to do what they promised often
serves as an excuse for their own dereliction or lack of energy.
I state here that the record of French cooperation with the
A.E.F., when it is understood, will ever be remembered to
their credit. The attitude of a very few officers is something
of a handicap to us at times in our inter-army and A.E.F.
governmental negotiations.

The instinct of property universal in mankind makes dif-
ficult all questions of coordination in supplies. I have re-
flected on the comparative ease with which military coopera-
tion is secured as distinguished from supply cooperation.
Perhaps the answer is this: that military cooperation is
dictated not only from motives of self-preservation, but as
well because in the broader sense it works for the protection
of supplies and property, and the property instinct therefore
supports instead of opposes it. But it is curious to see an
officer cheerfully acquiesce in the sending of men to lose their
lives in the battle-line of an ally as he should and then
favor a narrow policy in supply contribution.

Logan and I started late Monday afternoon, and took
Colonel Mott with us as far as Foch's Headquarters. From



174 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

there Mott telephoned to Cirey-le-Chateau that Logan and I
would be there for dinner. We lost our way and at 1.30 A.M.
reached the chateau. We found Madame (Vicomtesse)
Salignac-Fen61on and her daughter, Countess de Castres,
sitting up for us. I had never met these charming repre-
sentatives of French hospitality nor seen the wonderful
chateau in which Voltaire lived and worked so long. But I
put here a word of appreciation of these women who have
turned over the use of this beautiful and historic home to our
officers and aviators. The husband of the Countess de
Castres is wounded and a prisoner in Germany. It is sig-
nificant of the devotion of all of France to this cause that the
delicate, sensitive, and refined Countess de Castres left this
beautiful place to become a nurse, and for the first three
months of her two years' work felt honored to wash the feet
of the wounded and suffering poilus as they were brought to
the hospital. After this preliminary experience and further
training she became a regular nurse.

At Chaumont 1 spent a busy day. Took lunch with General
McAndrew (Chief of Staff) and General Davis at John's
chateau. John is at the front preparing for what I cannot
here write. Logan and I left Chaumont Tuesday evening
and went as far as Cirey-le-Chateau where we spent the
night. General Frank McCoy also spent the evening there.

The plan of campaign being carried on by Foch is that
which General Pershing used so strongly to advocate in his
talks with me long before the July offensive started. But
his plan of striking with the maximum force at the time of
the enemy's greatest weakness, which is now, involves a
policy of the rear as well as the front. It involves a policy
of tonnage and sea transportation as well as troop move-
ments. How few realize the full weight of responsibility
which General Pershing carries! How many after the war
will realize that in carrying out his plan he has to risk all in
one sense. Suppose in carrying out this plan in order to get
a blow of the maximum force possible this fall, he jeopardizes




DOOR AT CIREY-LE-CHATEAU



SUBORDINATING ETIQUETTE 175

by his tonnage policy supply reserves necessary for his army
next winter and spring. Suppose he does not thus jeopardize
supply reserves, but plans for another full year of war and this
makes it impossible to strike the maximum blow and end the
war before Christmas ! John is going to strike his maximum
blow. He is taking his chances on his supply. He believes a
reserve is meant to be used in emergency. This is why John
Pershing is fit to command the finest army in existence. He
carefully considers, and then acts without hesitation and
with the sublime confidence in his power to achieve which is
ever the mark of genius. May God be with him and his army
during the next month.

Paris, Saturday night
September 21, 1918

DURING the course of a conference yesterday over trans-
portation (rail in Zone of Advance), General Ragueneau,
of whom I am very fond, gave a lunch to those concerned and
invited me. As Moseley and Payot were both present I took
an unfair advantage of a social occasion, called Hodges and
Roop by telephone to the restaurant (Voisin), led Moseley
and Payot put of the lunch-room into an adjoining room,
and there we settled a form of approval to be given by Gen-
eral Pershing of the motor transport regulations of the Allied
armies which will enable General Foch immediately to
promulgate them. While I subordinated etiquette to take
advantage of the opportunity afforded by this accidental
juxtaposition of powers, my friend General Ragueneau
agreed with me that the end justified the means.

Since our army motor transport system is in course of re-
organization under the plan of the M.B.A.S. no working
time has actually been lost in the unreasonable delay in |
getting this matter of form settled. Such delays have their \
roots in human nature. In any large association of men I
engaged in a joint effort certain individuals in authority will ]
be found whose narrowness of vision or personal selfishness



176 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

of power, associated with extreme competency in the ad-
ministration of their particular unit of the machine, makes
their unreasonable opposition to general measures of co-
ordination difficult to deal with at times.

This afternoon took lunch with Payot and De Sieyes.
Payot feels deeply the great injustice done him by the
j French War Department in not promoting him to Brigadier-
l General in accordance with the recommendation of Foch and
Petain. He is exercising powers equal to those of a General
of an army like Mangin, but because these powers must be
exercised in the rear they do not attract public imagination,
and therefore poor Payot can be safely treated with injustice
by civilian authority ^where the victorious army commander
could not be. The history of this war will be written around
achievement not shoulder straps. But this does not
comfort Payot.

Sent Colonel Hodges to Pershing's field headquarters with
the copy of the motor regulations for his approval and sig-
nature to-day. These regulations are to govern, first, road
traffic in the zone of operations; second, the hauling of ma-
terial by mechanical transports; third, governing troop move-
ments by mechanical transports. I think our new system
will be in operation to a sufficient extent when our next
advance occurs as to prevent some of the motor transport
jams which occurred in the St. Mihiel offensive. However,
Doumenc helped out that situation materially according to
my present information. Instead of ten American officers as
at present at our motor transport school Pershing has told
McAndrew to send one hundred if possible.

Paris, September 23, 1918 (12.30 A.M.)

I HAVE not written anything before about our new offensive,
which starts to-morrow, 1 because I did not dare trust it even
to a paper which would remain on my person. But now there

1 The beginning of the Battle of the Argonne. The attack was actually
delivered September 26,



THE COMING OFFENSIVE 177

is not time enough left to have such an accident happen as to
lose it. We shall have twenty-five divisions on hand under
General Pershing available for the drive. Instead of striking
at Metz which we hope the Germans expect our left
flank, as I understand, will be in the neighborhood of Va-
rennes, west of Verdun. We are bombarding Metz, but the
General's eyes are elsewhere. St. Mihiel was but a preliminary
effort. The next is our great movement.

Spent a very busy forenoon on supply and transportation
matters. Prospects better for 60,000 animals from Spain.

1 1 P.M. At my room after spending evening with Major- .
General Ford, the new English member of our Board, and ,
Lord Pembroke. General Ford reports three days' steady .
rain around Verdun which will probably delay our offensive.
Ford has aggressive plans for the Board evidently. I no longer
am apprehensive of a lack of British interest.

My nephew William Dawes is in the 3Oist Heavy Tank
Battalion, A.E.F., with the British Army. Am anxious about
his welfare in the recent fighting. General Ford offered to
telephone British G.H.Q. to have them look him up and will
do so in the morning.

Paris, September 25, 1918

RETURNED last night from meeting of our Military Board at
Coubert. Delivered to the Board General Pershing's signed
approval of the three sets of regulations governing motor
transport of the Allied armies. The reorganization of the
motor transport system of the American army for which the
Board is responsible will in my judgment almost double the
effectiveness of the transportation in the rear of the First
American Army in the coming offensive. The Board is
rapidly becoming what I always felt was inevitable the
coordinator of the Allied rear. Major-General Ford, of the
British General Staff, who attended his first meeting, is an
ideal member experienced as a soldier, possessed of au-
thority, and havinga keen, alert, and practical mind. Through-



178 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

out all the delays of the English I have never lost faith in the
idea that finally they would become enthusiastic cooperators
in this great work. That time has now arrived. Ford, acting
upon an expression in my letter to Pershing, transmitted by
: him to Milner, suggests the changing of the name of the
Board more nearly to express its coordinating military power.
He complains that the word "supply" creates the impression
that we are dealing simply with something to eat. Being long
habituated to covering military authority under civilian
camouflage, and avoiding the encouragement of opposition in
the effort to establish usefulness, I am more or less indifferent
to names, but I agree that the Board is now so powerful and
well recognized that its name makes little difference. As a
matter of fact I am responsible for the English name.

Ford has proposed to the Board the consideration of rail-
road transportation. We established the sixty-centimeter
school. The record of our meetings will indicate our growing
activities.

While writing this received a code message from General
Pershing asking me in person to make another appeal to the
French for additional animals to help him in his operations at
the front. Will do this later in the afternoon to M. Tardieu.

General Ford was kind enough to telephone British G.H.Q.
and found that William is still all right.

Paris, September 29, 1918

EVENTS move so fast I cannot note all of them. I will detail
one of the more important of them.

Pershing wired me on the 24th to make an appeal in person
to the French for more horses for his army. I did so and Tar-
dieu took up the matter with his customary energy. To-day
I have wired Pershing that the French expect to send him
30,000 additional horses cutting them out of the French army.
Marshal Foch is meeting the emergency. As I have always
maintained, emergency is after all the greatest coordinator.
Motor trucks and horses are the essential things for the hour.



PROBLEMS OF THE REAR 179

Our lines advance. The army must follow closely the enemy.
Delay in pursuit is disastrous. But the requirements in trans-
portation facilities for a modern army are simply overwhelm-
ing. This is why what the French have done for us in the
horse supply is so vital. I wired Pershing this morning, telling
him that the French would furnish 30,000 more horses (they
have already given us 136,000) and that the 30,000 was a
reduction from the French army: "While this instance of
extreme cooperation on the part of our noble ally is but one of
many, it evidences her high confidence in your personal ability
to effectively use in a crisis her most essential military re-
sources."

General Harbord spent most of yesterday with me. Our
lines advance everywhere. Foch is bending every energy to
following up the enemy's slow retirement under pressure.

Paris, Thursday night
October 3, 1918

JUST back from a day at Coubert two meetings of the
Board. General Ford, the new member, is ideal cooperates
in every way, ignores irrelevant detail and has an eye always
on results. He understands the relative importance of things.
Railway transportation problem was the principal one under
consideration. Arranged for a committee of officers repre-
senting the three armies to visit all fronts to report on the car-
unloading methods with a view to their improvement. Com-
mittee will meet at my office Paris Monday morning and
start immediately after a short consultation.

Discussed matters at rear of American First Army with
Payot, who is coming to Paris to-morrow for a further consul-
tation with me. If second conference confirms my impressions
derived from the first, am thinking of going to General
Pershing's Headquarters to make suggestions to him looking
toward improvement. French claim that confusion of trans-



Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 16 of 30)