Copyright
Charles Gates Dawes.

A journal of the great war (Volume 1) online

. (page 21 of 30)
Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


practical, fearless, and possessed of the widest perspective.
He is essentially a man of action. In bringing him into con-
tact with Payot I bring together the ingredients of imme-
diate results.

I note by American papers received to-day (Chicago Trib-
une) that the Ordnance Department of the War Depart-
ment is under criticism for not having supplied us with
American ammunition. The great trouble was that America
had not prepared for war and that she was not in the war
long enough for her to get her stride. What was true as to
ordnance was true as to airplanes and as to ships, and as to
everything directly related to the supply of an army operat-



GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT OF ARMY 229

ing in a foreign country. One development of history will ^^^
be the results achieved by our Services of Supply, A.E.F.,
and through the splendid cooperation of the French and Eng-
lish, which as yet are not fully appreciated. But the United
States after all turned the tide of war. The support given
our army by our Government was all possible for it to give.
Again it will be developed to the credit of our governmental
authority that, not being able to ship supplies as rapidly
as needed, it gave the Allies that immediate financial and
moral support that enabled them to continue until we could
furnish the men. I cannot approve of the ex post facto criti-
cism of the Administration. Granted that it erred in not forc-
ing preparation long before the war, yet when the war came
it did everything it could to forward it.

It was a vast undertaking which confronted America when
she entered the war, and Rome was not builded in a day.

Pom, December 27, 1918 (11 P.M.)

SPENT much of to-day with the Commander-in-Chief, who
arrived from Chaumont this morning, and left for a much-
needed rest in the South of France this evening. Herbert
Hoover saw him this morning and suggested my detail for
duty in Berlin. In calling this morning upon him (Hoover)
with General Long of the British Army (Director-General,
Supplies and Transportation, B.E.F., at Saloniki), I learned
that the Commander-in-Chief was non-committal as to my
detail for this work. This afternoon and evening the Com-
mander-in-Chief took up the matter with me. Am inclined
to think he will not let me go, regarding my knowledge and
experience in inter-army and inter-government matters as
still needed by the A.E.F. In view of the disturbed conditions
in Berlin and the interesting nature of the work, my sense
of adventure is somewhat involved and the comparative
inactivity in my office since the armistice makes the detail
more attractive. However, I am in the hands of higher
authority.



230 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

Harbord is here and we took lunch with Harjes. President
Wilson has gone to England, where he is being received with
the honor due him and our nation. My son-in-law, Captain
Melvin Ericson, is here on his way with Major Cotchett to
Bulgaria. He brought me some pictures of my new grandson
whom I would much like to see in person.

Paris, Tuesday, December 31, 1918

RETURNED last night from a trip with General Harbord on
his train to Neuf chateau, the advance headquarters of the
Services of Supply and to Chaumont. We took Lieutenant
William Dawes, my son-in-law, Captain Ericson, and Ser-
geant Bob Wallace with us. Left Paris Saturday night. At
Chaumont yesterday I heard for the first time the head-
quarters band at guard mount. This band has been created
by the competition and combing-out process of our army
bands aided by the bandmasters' school established in con-
nection with the plan by Damrosch. I was delighted, though
not surprised, at the splendid results of the effort as evi-
denced by this great band. General Pershing, Collins, and
Boyd have all taken a great interest in the matter of army
music and the reorganized band owes its existence to General
Pershing's first suggestion and continued attention. I think
the band ought to be named for him. It should have a dis-
tinctive insignia and be known as the official band of the
A.E.F. Yesterday called on my good friends of the General
Staff at Chaumont. Discussed with General Davis policy of
Distinguished Service Medal awards to our allies.

Paris, Sunday
January 5, 1919 (9.15 P.M.)

GENERAL MCANDREW, Chief of Staff, called on me yesterday
morning and said one of the purposes of his trip to Paris was
to talk to me about Hoover's request for my detail to Berlin ;
that from what General Pershing had written him he feared
that the General's warm friendship for me might result after



PROPOSED DETAIL TO BERLIN 231

all in his letting me go ; that John was not sure he was doing
right by me if I wanted to go; that John did not think I
could be spared and that he (General McAndrew) and Har-
bord were agreed that it was not right for me to leave my
present service at this time. I was touched by the way he
spoke and his reference to what the General called "my
career." Told him, "Career be damned ; that if they felt that
way about it they could not drive me away with a club."
Called up Hoover on the telephone and asked him to drop
the matter. I know I should stay here if only to complete
my Report upon which I am at work.

When I leave the army my great department with all its
files is an orphan. Superimposed on the regular army organi-
zation the creature of temporary (during the war), but
while it lasted a continual and overwhelming succession of
emergencies the ending of the war ends all but its record.
And its record will be appreciated, remembered, or forgotten
according to the way I now compile and complete its elements.

Now that the pressure of emergency is over I have to spur
myself to work. I believe I am naturally inclined to indolence
when off a red-hot stove, where I have sat for the last two
years at least. Am enjoying the visit of Tiffany Blake and
the keen and able appreciation he has of our army situation
and the problems it has involved.

Paris, Saturday
January 11, 1919 (11.45 P-M.)

JOHN McCuTCHEON, Tiffany Blake, Percy Hammond, and
Floyd Gibbons have just left my room, where its atmosphere
has been rended for three hours by post-bellum discussion
immodestly led by myself. As I am too much awake to go to
sleep for a while I shall resume these neglected notes.

While measured by pre-war standards my present life is
made up of incidents suggesting the propriety of their pres-
ervation in writing, they all seem trivial compared to any-
thing that happened prior to November u, 1918. However,




232 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

spurring myself constantly I am working daily a little on my
Official Report covering the last sixteen months. One of the
most difficult things for a man to do is to refrain from accept-
ing undeserved credit. Notwithstanding experience and re-
flection confirm the dangers of silence when over-praised, and
the specter of merited reaction haunts the inner soul, still it is
hard to pursue the path of duty and wisdom and be loyal to
the truth to the extent of so holding the minds of others to it
that undeserved halos drop from one's own head. But in my
Report that is what I must do and be careful in doing it
thoroughly. The whole thing is so important. When John
named me "General Purchasing Agent, A.E.F.," he seems to
have created the idea that I bought everything of the 10,000-
ooo odd tons which we secured on this side of the ocean,
whereas I never even bought a lead pencil. However, in such
a statement I go to the other extreme in creating a wrong
impression. My Report must show what the independent
services did, and what my control of them did and did not do.
It is not an easy task. Again, my Report must not be con-
strued as reflecting upon the splendid accomplishments of the
War Department. It must also pay the tribute due to our
allies. My best efforts will be given to give a true picture.
I received to-day the notice of the award to me, 1 by the

1 GENERAL HEADQUARTERS

AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES

PERSONAL DIVISION

France, January 9, 1919

From: The Adjutant General, American E.F.
To: Brigadier-General Charles G. Dawes, U.S. Army.
Subject: Distinguished Service Medal.

I. Cablegram number 24I4-R received from the War Department
January 8, 1919, announces the award to you, by the President, of the
Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious and distin-
guished service as set forth below:

Brigadier-General Charles G. Dawes:
For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services.
He rendered most conspicuous services in the organization of the
General Purchasing Board, as General Purchasing Agent of the Ameri-
can Expeditionary Forces, and as the representative of the United



DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL 233

President, of the Distinguished Service Medal of the United
States in accordance with the recommendation written by
the Commander-in-Chief himself.

Not being in an especially modest frame of mind, therefore,
I may as well proceed to extremes and tell of an occurrence
to-day which appealed to my amusement and pride as much

States Army on the Military Board of Allied Supply. His rare abilities,
sound business judgment, and aggressive energy were invaluable in
securing needed supplies for the American Armies in Europe.
2. You will be informed later in regard to the time and place of the
presentation of the Medal awarded you.

By command of General Pershing: J. A. ULIO

A djutant-General

AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF

France, March 28, 1919
BRIGADIER-GENERAL CHARLES G. DA WES
General Purchasing Agent

American E.F.
MY DEAR GENERAL:

Now that active operations have ceased, I desire to convey my sincere
appreciation and heartiest congratulations to you and the members of your
splendid organization on the great results accomplished and invaluable
assistance rendered to our cause. Due to the tireless, patriotic efforts of
yourself and your highly competent assistants, your organization has not
only succeeded in securing a vast amount of supplies greatly needed in
the course of operations, but has accomplished this object in a scientific,
business-like manner that warrants more laudable expressions than or-
dinary terms of commendation.

With unswerving zeal, coupled with the gift of picking assistants who
possessed the highest degree of specialized ability in multifarious lines
of endeavor, you had built up an organization that stood unparalleled;
fulfilling every demand made upon it with celerity and thoroughness.

The magnitude of your task was enormous; the innumerable demands
made upon your organization would have disheartened any other but un-
selfish, patriotic, able Americans; yet you and the men of large affairs who
responded so readily to the call have achieved success.

Likewise may it be said of the lesser personnel in your organization, who,
actuated by a high sense of duty, have performed their work so admirably.
In the name of the American Expeditionary Forces, I thank them one and
all. These few words of appreciation are indeed but small reward for the
magnificent service you rendered the common cause.

Sincerely yours

JOHN J. PERSHING










234 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

as anything that has happened for a long time. I took Charles
M. Schwab over to call this noon on General Pershing, who
has just returned from a few days' rest at Nice. In the ante-
room we met General Fox Connor, of the General Staff, a
regular of regulars, a most able and efficient, albeit precise,
officer. Schwab in his remarks said, "Well, I notice one thing
over here, and that is that Dawes does not seem to be thor-
oughly disciplined." "No," replied General Connor, "and in
the early days a number of regular general officers got ready
to hand him something, but after looking him over once
decided not to do it." General Connor, I may add, did not
give the impression that this decision was based altogether
upon motives of personal consideration for me. It amuses me
to think of what must have been the first impressions of me
of these splendid officers and dear friends so used to con-
ventional military methods of statement and address
when, breathing fire and brimstone, I made my incursions
into the system after results, my mind fixed upon the red-
hot poker of dire necessity pressed against the lower part of
my back and oblivious to nicety of expression or conventional
forms of military salutation. Well, it is all over. And now I
am by degrees relapsing into more placid and dignified ways
befitting the banker and business man of the old days. But
shall I ever get quite back?

To impress Schwab with two things first, the terrible sup-
ply emergency with which the A.E.F. contended, and, second,
what he and his Shipping Board had done to help us I told
him, what is the fact, that in the month preceding the armi-
stice he had shipped us from America over twice as many tons
of supplies as had been shipped us during the entire first six
months of the existence of the A.E.F.

And so, as Pepys says, to bed.

Paris, Thursday, January 30, 1919

ON Friday noon, January 17, started to Tours with my friends
John McCutcheon and Tiffany Blake, both of whom re-




CONFERRING OF DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL BY GENERAL
PERSHING, TOURS, JANUARY 1 8, 1919




GENERAL PAYOT, REPRESENTING MARSHAL FOCH, CONFERRING
CROIX DE GUERRE AT LA MORLAYE, JULY 1 6, 1919



APPLAUSE ON EXIT 235

turned to Paris on General Pershing's train Saturday. At
Tours at General Harbord's house all night. On Saturday
morning, January 18, was decorated with ten other Generals,
including General Harbord and General Kernan, with the
Distinguished Service Medal. General Pershing gave the
medals and the ceremony took place before troops in the
Headquarters enclosure. Balthasar Gracian made a remark
several hundred years ago to the effect that it is not the ap-
plause which greets one on entrance, but on exit, which is
important.

The anticlimaxwhich the inexperienced and over-vain bring
upon themselves by encouraging newspaper self-exploitation
upon assuming important duties is one of the chief causes of a
subsequent failure. The censor happily protected the A.E.F.
from much of this sort of thing, but many in the United States
were destroyed, or destroyed their own usefulness themselves,
by it. I have been so accustomed to associating ceremony with
non-accomplishment, since in civil life it is the chief resource
of those desirous of publicity whether deserved or not, that I
confess I was not over-impressed on this occasion. To be sure,
this was a case of applause on exit, but the receiving of con-
spicuous applause at any time should be avoided on principle
as dangerous and involving one in a mental trial as to his
comparative merit by every disappointed competitor. The
court being prejudiced and the decision therefore against him,
one accumulates prejudices which endure, while from the
minds of those not directly concerned remembrance of the
distinction soon vanishes.

The value of ceremony as a social power is unquestioned.
It cannot be dispensed with without destroying one of the
great incentives to human effort, and one of the useful agen-
cies of proper governmental and social discipline. At times
the individual must use ceremony as the best means to noble
ends. But let every wise man beware of too much ceremony
whether it is directed toward the submerging or toward the
exploitation of his own individuality. In all my negotiations



236 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

as an army officer in inter-Allied conferences I have fought it
as a bar to progress and quick understanding. In proportion
as men are right-minded and intelligent, ceremony is unessen-
tial in their relations.

Left Tours Saturday night for a visit to the Riviera. My
son-in-law and Major Cotchett, on their way to Bulgaria,
through General Harbord's kindness went on the special
train with us to Marseilles, stopping at Bordeaux. General
Harbord, General Langfitt, General Rockenbach, and Gen-
eral Russell were in the party beside myself. This all-star
aggregation landed at Monte Carlo Monday night. Every
day except two it exhausted itself in a chamois-like game of
golf on a rough portion of the Alps. The first two days,
after five hours' hard exercise on each day, I was pretty
stiff, but by the end of the week got well limbered up. We
had a delightful time, though the discipline under which we
moved could not have been stricter. We could not even
visit the Casino, being in uniform.

Returned to Paris last night. While writing this received a
telegram from Harbord that I had received the decoration of
Commander of the Legion of Honor. I certainly am pleased.
How difficult it is to keep vanity under the harness of the
intellect.

Paris, Friday
February 14, 1919 (10 P.M.)

WE buried Colonel Carl Boyd to-day. Only a week ago he
was in good health. His loss is a heavy one to General Per-
shing who relied upon him greatly. He was a noble character.
He leaves a wife and daughter with whom we all mourn.

Am somewhat depressed as I force myself to these notes.
Secretary Baker having suggested that I be the military mem-
ber of the Liquidating Commission, General Pershing, who
had the matter already in mind, bore down irresistibly, and
here I am head over heels in a mean and thankless task, but
one which I have no honorable right to decline. Had I not



A THANKLESS TASK 237

long ago decided to sink personal considerations in this war
service, I should have avoided this position as I would small-
pox. The "going is good" for me to leave the army now, but
to stay as a member of a commission to sell its assets is to
work hard without the incentive of a war purpose ; to be away
from my family and business; to run the risk of making se-
rious mistakes which will result in attack upon one's motives ;
in other words, to risk the reputation for success which I now
have for no adequate personal purpose. However, the way the
thing has been put up to me I should feel like a skunk if I did
not do it. There is no patriotism in what I am doing only
a desire not to shirk what I really am qualified to do and that
I ought to do. Somehow it is not so inspiring to work at
saving money for one's Government as to work at helping
to save its life. * .

Am working hard at my Report as General Purchasing
Agent; next must come my Report as American Member of
the Military Board of Allied Supply. In the meantime am
working already as a member of the commission. And this is
the time I looked forward to as that when I should be about
leaving for America.

And so to bed.

Paris, February 16, 1919

THE continued deaths and dangerous illnesses of my army
friends and associates depress me greatly. This morning
Webster Otis is critically ill and I have had to wire his father
that the outcome is very doubtful. He is a dear fine boy and
has done his part well. Have been in daily communication
about him with the doctors for a week.

Spent the morning trying to catch up with some of my
personal mail, and also worked on my Report.

Last night at a dinner given to Hoover was decorated
formally as Commander of the Legion of Honor by Clementel,
French Minister of Commerce, who inexpressibly horrified
me by kissing me on both cheeks before a large audience of




238 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

which the American part must have been tremendously
amused. Hoover made a telling address. This man has earned
the highest possible place in history. As we sat at the table
together I told him our old friends in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and
Marietta, Ohio, who knew us better, would never have made
the mistake either of making us so prominent or of kissing us.

Paris, February 28, 1919 (10 P.M.)

I TO-DAY finished my Report to the Commanding General,
Services of Supply, as GeneraTPurchasing Agent and Chair-
man of the General Purchasing Board, A.E.F. This has been
an absorbing and difficult task. Now that it is over I wonder
whether anybody will read it. Impressed myself with a sense
of its public and historical importance, I have exercised great
care and given the Best there is in me to its preparation. Ow-
ing to constant interruption in my office I have done much of
the work in my room at night. The final figures of tons of
material secured on this side of the ocean, from the beginning
of the A.E.F. to the date of the armistice, stand at 10,000,000
ship tons as against 4,400,000 dead-weight tons shipped us
from the United States. If any one had told us at the be-
ginning that this task confronted us, we should not have
believed it possible of accomplishment. As David must have
kept his mind upon his sling-shot instead of on the size of
Goliath, so it was with us.

And now in extra hours I must prepare my Report as the
American Member of the Military Board of Allied Supply.

Two of my colleagues on the Liquidation Board of the
A.E.F. Senator Hollis and Mr. Homer Johnson have
arrived. After talking with them I am impressed with their
breadth of view and their competency. I feel sure that within
a very few months it will be possible for me to make way for
General Krauthoff as a member and complete my army work.
It is only because I felt I might help a little, through my long
experience in general Allied supply negotiation, in getting
the Board more rapidly acquainted with the real environment




GEORGE WEBSTER OTIS, I7TH ENGINEERS
Died in France

He represented all that is cleanest and best in the young
American soldier and his memory is enshrined
in the hearts of his comrades



THE GENERAL HEADQUARTERS BAND 239

in which its work must be performed, that I became at all
reconciled to the idea of becoming the military member.
Now after meeting them I know that they have every per-
sonal quality I possess, and after giving them whatever in-
formation I have, it will be possible for me to go without em-
barrassing the work. I really should not stay long, for I find
it increasingly difficult to be patient with others when my will
is crossed as of course I should be. It is only that I have
worked under pressure so long. But after an explosion is over
and they are only occasional I force myself to humble
apology for whatever is improperly personal in my reflec-
tions.

The Commander-in-Chief and I are occasionally given in
our close friendship to shutting the door and indulging in
strong comments upon a hostile world after which it is
always easier to deal meekly with it.

I regret the gradual but increasing neglect of these notes,
the interest of which hereafter I realize. Since starting them
I have never read any of them over.

The General Headquarters band from Chaumont, which
they now call " Pershing's Own," delights me. Because of the
method of forming it I believe it to be unique in the world to-
day. It is the most virile and stirring band to which I ever
listened. Including the 26 trumpeters and the accompany-
ing drums, there are in all 106 in the organization. Collins
and I (who with Damrosch worked over its plans) went to
hear it the other night. It should be kept alive after the war
as a national asset, and if the people of America ever are
allowed to hear it there is a possibility of arousing enough
sentiment behind it to secure the legislation necessary. On
the spur of the moment I think I shall suggest to some public-
spirited citizens to start such a movement right away.

Paris, Sunday, March 9, 1919

A WEEK ago to-day I left for Tours to meet the Commander-
in-Chief on last Monday. The purpose of my trip was to get



240 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

action on the delayed promotions in my old regiment, the
1 7th Engineers, as it sails in a few days for the United States.
Am glad to say I was successful General Pershing tele-
phoning to General McAndrew about it. Lieutenant-Colonel
Coe becomes Colonel and takes the boys home. 1

Spent Sunday night with Harbord. Read him my Report as
General Purchasing Agent which I left with him. General
Pershing arrived Monday. I left with him on his special train
at noon on an inspection trip of the troops. Monday after-
noon we were at Saumur. Was with him until Thursday
morning when we reached Paris. He inspected troops at
Gievres, Is-sur-Dun, Chateaureaux, and other places in their
general vicinity. Troops inspected numbered about 25,000.
Part of the time as we walked between the lines we were in
mud so thick that we had trouble in pulling out our feet.
No heels were "clicked" this trip. Reviews were held at
some places. The General made short and effective addresses
after inspection to the men at all places. At Is-sur-Dun, just



Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 30)