Charles Gates Dawes.

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came over from Ghent and we three took lunch together.
My trip was taken chiefly to indicate to Van de Vyvere my
personal regard and respect. Tuesday went by motor to


Antwerp with Sewell and after an interesting day left that
night for Paris arriving Wednesday morning.

The balance of the week rather busy. Conferences with
Liquidation Committee and others. General Pershing is
here and we spend considerable time together in pleasant
visiting in contrast to the old strenuous days.

This morning (Saturday) took part in the ceremonies in
court of the Invalides, with which General Lewis, represent-
ing the President, and the Commander-in-Chief decorated
my friend Varaigne and other French officers with the Dis-
tinguished Service Medal before French and American troops.
Beman and Bertie were present. In addition to keeping up
with the Liquidation Commission, the plans for final de-
mobilization of the Military Board of Allied Supply and of
my own office require thought and careful attention. Am
experiencing exasperating delays in securing from the Allied
armies the detailed information desired and ordered as to
their condition on October 31, 1918.

Made Commander of the Order of Leopold


DIRECTION DES Bruxelles, June 17, 1919


From: MAJOR HAINAUT, D.V.C., War Office
To: GENERAL DAWES, American Member of the Inter-
Allied Supply Committee
Ely see Palace, Paris

I beg to inform you that, in agreement with the American
authorities, His Majesty the King of the Belgians has de-
cided to confer upon you the Commandery of the Order of

You will only receive the necessary chancellery documents
in a little time, but I hope to have the great honor to bring


you the jewel myself at the next meeting of the Inter-Allied
Supply Committee.

With my best congratulations

I remain, dear Sir

Yours respectfully


Letter to my mother

June 30, 1919

OWING to the fact that our negotiations with the French
Government for the sale of our surplus army property will
require a few weeks longer to terminate one way or the other,
my departure for home will be delayed until the 2Oth of July.
This is a disappointment to me, but I feel that you would
not want me to leave until I had taken my full share of re-
sponsibility in this important matter. If I should ask to
come sooner it would seem that I was leaving upon my col-
leagues the full onus of a very difficult situation and decision,
in which it is my duty not only to our Government but to
them that I fully participate. What I hope will be the final
negotiations with the French Government will commence
to-morrow. And so I am dictating to you an account of my
trip to England which will be of interest to you during the
three weeks' longer delay in my expected return.

A week ago Sunday at Paris occurred the dedication of the
Pershing Stadium, which was presented by America to the
Government of France. After attending this exercise in the
afternoon, I left with General Pershing and his personal aides
for Le Mans, where we spent Monday attending the opening
of the International Rifle Contest. We left on the General's
special train for Boulogne Monday night and took the Chan-
nel boat on Tuesday morning, arriving in London about
noon. I did not go with General Pershing to Oxford, where
he received the D.C.L. degree on Wednesday, desiring to
remain in the city and visit my dear friends Lieutenant-


Chief of Staff, A.E.F.


General Sir Travers-Clarke and Major-General Sir Evan
Carter, as well as my younger friend Captain Frank Covell.
General Travers-Clarke, General Carter, and Captain
Covell took dinner with me at the Carlton Tuesday and
Wednesday evenings, as did also Colonel Beeuwkes, one of
General Pershing's aides. In my report as Chairman of the
General Purchasing Board and General Purchasing Agent of
the American E.F., when you finally receive it, you will find
my tribute to English cooperation with my department of
the Staff, for which General Travers-Clarke and General
Carter were so largely responsible. My friend, Major-Gen-
eral Reginald Ford, now in command of the Service of Supply
of the British Army in France, had expected to visit London
with me, but was detained hi France by an important inter-
army conference. It is impossible for right-minded and
earnest men to be associated for so long and in matters of
such vital importance as those which have engrossed General
Travers-Clarke, General Ford, General Carter, and myself,
without having the warmest friendships develop. When
General Pershing placed upon me the responsibility of se-
curing animals for our army during the action in the Argonne,
I shall never forget the earnest way in which General Travers-
Clarke, under the authority of Marshal Haig, assisted me.
As for General Carter, from the very beginning of our partici-
pation in the war he has been an ever-present help in time
of trouble.

I spent some time at the British War Office in the com-
pany of these men. On Wednesday evening Beman arrived
from Brussels and joined me at the Carlton Hotel. The same
evening also Captain Sandys Dawes, the father of my new
godson, arrived in London to pilot us down to Mt. Ephraim
the next morning. At ten o'clock Thursday morning Gen-
eral Pershing and his aides, including Colonel Griscom,
our Military Attach6 at London, joined us at the Carlton
Hotel and, together with General Carter, Beman, and Cap-
tain Covell, we left by motor for Mount Ephraim, Faver-


sham, for the christening. General Pershing and I went in
the first car. My association with the General is so constant
and in all his actions he is so entirely the natural and close
friend of the long years, that I find myself forgetting how
important he is and what a central figure of interest he has
become everywhere. We were both surprised as we rode up
to Mount Ephraim about 12.30 to note the road decorated
with the Allied flags and to find upon our arrival at the house
the military band of the 8th British Hussars. We were
greeted by Mr. William C. Dawes, the present head of the
English family, and his wife; Colonel Bethel Dawes, a mag-
nificent old army officer of eighty years and a brother of the
late Sir Edwin Sandys Dawes; Captain Sandys Dawes, his
wife and my .little godson, together with Betty and Lancelot,
Captain Dawes's sister and brother; besides other collateral
members of the family. We started immediately for the old
Norman church in Hernhill village near by, built in 1120,
where generations of the Daweses, probably more pious than
the present, have worshiped for centuries and are now buried.
I went in the first car with the father and mother of the boy
and the grandmother, Mrs. Dawes. General Pershing, Mr.
William C. Dawes, Beman, and General Carter followed in
the second car. The villagers had gathered in the little
church. The old rector in his red robe, Rev. Dr. Springett,
who with an assistant performed the ceremony, is the uncle
of Captain Sandys Dawes, having married the sister of Mr.
William C. Dawes. General Pershing, Betty Dawes, the
eighteen-year-old sister of Captain Sandys Dawes, and I, who
were the sponsors and godparents of the child, occupied a
little pew immediately in front of the rector. Beman sat
with the rest of the family and Charles Ambrose William to
our right.

We returned to the house for lunch, which was attended
by the family and a few of the leading residents of the section
of the country, including the Lord High Sheriff of the County
of Kent and the Mayor of Faversham. After lunch the school-


children of the village called to present an address to General
Pershing. After that was over, Mr. Dawes asked me to step
before the children about eighty of them who proceeded
to sing "Auld Lang Syne," which Mr. Dawes said was the
village custom when a member of a family returned after a
long absence. The General and I were much impressed and
found ourselves choked up a little several times. The General
left in time to catch the four-o'clock boat for France at
Dover, which is but a short distance away, and General
Carter, Colonel Beeuwkes, Captain Covell, Beman, and I re-
mained at Mount Ephraim for the night. While the surround-
ings of the family were impressive and magnificent, they were
quite simple and unaffected people as should always be.
The grounds were thrown open to the villagers in the after-
noon, who came to listen to the military band and walk in
the beautiful gardens which surrounded the house. Beman,
General Carter, and Colonel Beeuwkes and I remained until
afternoon. In the morning the entire family accompanied me
around the grounds, the hunting stables, the beagle kennels,
the greenhouses where orchid-raising is the great specialty,
and over some parts of the estate which sweeps down the hill
from the house as far as the ocean, about three miles away, I
should say. We passed near the house an oak-tree by which a
tablet was placed stating that it had been planted in 1815 by
Charles Dawes to commemorate the allied victory in the
Battle of Waterloo. Mr. Dawes then took us to a spot where
all the family and the servants were gathered by previous
arrangement so that I could plant the tree which would com-
memorate the signing of the peace in the present Great War.
This tree must be regarded as having been theoretically, but
not entirely, planted by me, for after I had thrown in a cer-
tain amount of earth it occurred to me to suggest that the
gardeners, of whom there were a number there, could proceed
with it more scientifically, a view in which after watching me
they thoroughly concurred. Some of the family took a kodak
of the tree-planting, which when they send it to me I will for-


ward to you. I hope that the picture of old Colonel Dawes is a
good one, as for some reason he did not appear in the first
group, which was taken the day of the christening, by the
local photographer.

During the morning Mrs. William Dawes, Betty, and I went
over to the old church where we looked at the gravestones of
the Dawes ancestors. The Daweses came to Mount Ephraim
from Westmoreland, where they had lived for centuries, in
the early i6oo's and have lived there ever since, except for a
short space of ten or fifteen years. During this time an icono-
clast rector took up three of the flat Dawes gravestones of the
seventeenth-century period in the floor of the church, and
after imperfectly chipping off the inscriptions placed them
in the walk just outside the church. A brass tablet, however,
has been placed inside the church above the old graves. I
noticed the grave of Major William Dawes, who fought in the
English army in the Revolutionary War. So that here was the
case of an American William Dawes and an English William
Dawes in opposing armies. In one of the old Dawes homes at
Westmoreland over a gateway was an inscription, the fac-
simile of which Sir Edwin placed over one of the gates at
Mount Ephraim. I shall always remember it "Keep your
eyes toward the sunlight, and the shadows will fall behind
you." Sir Edwin is buried in the old churchyard. Two
commemorative tablets on the walls of the old church and the
memorial chapel built by his son are a tribute to his memory.
It was his interest in the Dawes family which led him twenty
years ago to write to me and suggest a reunion of the two
branches. The American family has never been interested up
to the present generation in old Ambrose Dawes, the father
of William Dawes of Sudbury, the founder about 1620 of the
American family. I hope that hereafter both the American
and the English family will regard his memory as an asset.

The Daweses showed me the Siwash Indian relics which
Rufus some years ago sent to the children, who are very proud
of them. They referred often to the pleasant visit which




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Rufus and Helen made them some years ago. The family is a
patriarchal one. The old butler has been with them for fifty
years and is as much a member of the family as any one of the
blood. The servants cheered when the tree was planted and
acted and were treated in all respects as members of the
family. Mr. Dawes took me to a blacksmith shop to call on a
blacksmith whose family for three hundred years have been
at the same work in the same place.

On Saturday afternoon, the next day, I drove with General
Carter to his home thirty miles out of London to meet his
family. Lady Carter was ill in bed, so that I did not see her,
but the two children were as unaffected and simple as had
been all of the younger people that I met during the trip.

Captain Sandys Dawes has just returned from Palestine
where he served with the English army. He is not entirely
tamed after this experience. On Saturday night the family
came up and dined with me at the Carlton Hotel during the
celebration over the signing of the peace that afternoon. At
dinner time Captain Sandys Dawes, although naturally quiet
and dignified, arose fully in the most energetic Dawes fashion
to the exigencies of that somewhat hilarious occasion. When
Colonel Beeuwkes, General Pershing's aide, who had re-
mained in England with me, sat solemnly down, after having
delivered an alleged toast, he landed in a plate of meat and
gelatine thoughtfully placed on his chair for him by the Cap-
tain, who then and during the entire evening, while keeping
all his faculties, seemed to rise to every occasion. Being over
middle-aged and admitting it, I withdrew at eleven o'clock
and went to bed, leaving the somewhat worried elder Mrs.
Dawes to feebly but continuously cope with the high spirits
of the children, including Lancelot Dawes, fourteen years of
age, who was present. The next morning Colonel Beeuwkes
told me that it was nearly two o'clock in the morning before
she could persuade them to leave for the night motor ride
back to Faversham. The tremendous celebration of peace in
London I shall not attempt to describe, as the papers have in-


formed you of it. On Saturday night the Daweses brought me
up photographs which the village photographer had taken of
the gathering at the house and of the Genera! and myself with
the family. There are a great many of them and I am sure
you will be interested in seeing them.

I have tried to write this letter in detail in the way which
would please you. It was really an occasion which moved me
very much at times. Like the two countries in which they
live, the two branches of the family have been at times es-
tranged and on opposite sides, but like their countries I hope
they have come together not again to be divided in spirit.
While William Dawes of Boston, the fourth from William
Dawes of England, rode with Paul Revere in the fight against
the English, William Dawes of Evanston, the eleventh from
William Dawes of England, rode on the Hindenburg Line in
command of a tank manned by Englishmen, fighting with
them against a common enemy. This fact, as well as because
little Charles Ambrose William Dawes is named after William
Dawes, the present head of the English family, after Ambrose,
the common ancestor, and after myself, your eldest son, would
indicate a complete reunion of a fine old stock in common
purpose hereafter. I only wish that the old William Dawes
and Father and Uncle Eph and the others, who have done so
much in America to make the family name stand for accom-
plishment and earnest purpose, as well as all the old English
Daweses, could know of it all.

Your affectionate son.

Paris, July 4, 1919

ON Wednesday our Liquidation Commission received the first
offer of France for our surplus supplies in France at a con-
ference with Paul Morel, the Minister charged with the matter
of liquidation for the French. The offer was 1,500,000,000
francs. This is much too small a price, and we of course re-
jected it. We have now to continue negotiations, but they
should be concluded within the month at least as to the


aggregate price. Our surplus material is worth under favor-
able conditions in my judgment about $i, 000,000,000, less
what we have sold and used and otherwise disposed of during
the period of inventory. Suppose we assume $750,000,000
as the value we should fix as the starting-point in the trade as
against the less than $300,000,000 which the French offer; I
think we shall finally agree on about $400,000,000 to $450,-
000,000 as the proper price under the difficult conditions in
which both sides negotiate.

Filed with the Commission a memorandum giving my
views as to the absolute necessity of selling to the French Gov-
ernment. Cabled home postponing my departure until later
in the month. Very busy with the Commission during the
first three days of the week. Am preparing my papers and
work preliminary to leaving for home.

Tuesday, July 4, our national holiday is being celebrated as
only our French allies can celebrate. No people surpass them
in sincere gratitude and generosity in the graceful and touch-
ing expression of it.

Attended the reception to General Pershing given by the
City of Paris at the Hotel de Ville yesterday afternoon a
most magnificent affair. Attended in the evening the dinner
given by the French Government to our military and naval
representatives, with General Pershing as the guest of honor,
at the Pre Catalan, in the Bois de Boulogne. Marshals Foch
and Petain were present and about eighty other officers
equally divided between the French and Americans. The
speeches of the French Ministers and of General Pershing
were perfect in their adaptation to what was really an his-
toric occasion.

To-day is filled with celebrations in honor of our nation.
At the Pre Catalan banquet was pleased with the music of the
French military (poilu) band and engaged it for my dinner to
Payot and the Military Board of Allied Supply which I am
to give Tuesday night, at which I shall say "Good-bye" to
my dear friends on this side of the ocean.


Paris, Sunday
July 6, 1919 (11.30 P.M.)

AM rather depressed at leaving this life of activity, strenuous
endeavor, and unusual environment as the time for my sailing
draws near. Took lunch with the Commander-in-Chief and
his aides. Harbord and Collins dined with me. The week has
been one of numerous celebrations most of which I have es-
caped. In my younger days I suppose they would have ap-
pealed to me more. When Harbord brought me this evening
the invitation of the Commander-in-Chief to ride as a member
of his Staff in the Peace Parade, I experienced the usual in-
ternal conflict between vanity and common sense, the latter
finally prevailing. No one will regard my being in the parade
as an incident of it except myself and to ride in it means
that I cannot see it.

Am pushing the gathering of information as to the Serv-
ices of Supply of the three armies as hard as possible, having
sent Colonel Hodges to the General Headquarters of the other
armies. Our own information is mostly in. On Tuesday
night, after the meeting of the Military Board of Allied Sup-
ply, I shall give a dinner to General Payot and the other mem-
bers at the Ritz. I certainly shall miss my faithful friend
General Payot when I go.

Harbord wants me to go to Armenia with him as a member
of his commission. I should like to help found a better con-
dition of things as an agent of our great country in the land
where Will Shedd and Uncle John and Aunt Jane did so much
for others Will finally giving his life. To be useful is to
find whatever of happiness there is in life and there is
little enough at best. I used to feel sorry for Will Shedd who
was spending his life helping people in Persia, and enduring
hardships in order to be able to do it. He should have felt
sorry for me.

"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, saith the preacher."
As a matter of fact, if we did not have vanity which is the
commonest of human characteristics and saw ourselves as


others see us, we should probably starve to death as a race,
not regarding our existence as worth the effort to maintain it.
Such is the reflection induced by the antics of individuals
during a time of international pomp and circumstance in
peace celebrating. Humanity sets out killing each other, and
succeeds in filling millions of graves with the best portion of
it. Then a good section of what is left of it proceeds to cele-
brate in champagne and pre-historic dancing. "Vanity of
vanities, all is vanity, saith the preacher." And so to bed.
If there is less humidity in the atmosphere to-morrow morn-
ing I shall probably take a brighter view of things.

If I had not mentioned my coming dinner for Payot, what
I have written before would seem more consistent. But, thank
Heaven, I never stayed a pessimist overnight in my life !

Paris, July 6, 1919

THE heart-burnings among our officers who have not received
the Distinguished Service Medal, when they unquestionably
deserve it, leads me to question the advisability in our coun-
try of any governmental system of decoration even for military
or civil accomplishment. 1 Apart from the unwisdom in a Re-
public of establishing a system tending toward the creation
of classes, the disappointment of the unpreferred is apt to be
directed toward the Government as well as toward its agent
in decoration distribution. The Decoration Board of the
A.E.F. is swamped with thousands of requests for reconsidera-
tion of disapprovals of the D.S.M. As a matter of fact it has
been impossible, and always will be impossible, to discrimi-
nate justly in the distribution of awards in a large army
from the very vastness of the task which prevents considera-
tion of all the cases from the viewpoint of the same minds.
An officer of the A.E.F. who has succeeded in his task, been
promoted, been commended by his superior officers and
associates, should not feel himself reflected upon because he

1 See Report of Daily Activities, December 31, paragraph 5. Ap-
pendix C, vol. n, p. 251.


has not received one of the few hundred Distinguished Serv-
ice Medals distributed among millions of men. And yet some
of them do, and I greatly regret it. The "world will little note
nor long remember" even our names much less the minor
things relating to our personal vanity. I suppose, as one who
has received much more recognition than he deserves, it is
easy for me to recommend philosophy to those who have been
unjustly treated. But when I find disappointment so keen
and rage so blinding that I have to endure patiently an attack
on the system and everybody connected with it, including
intimations that I have not been duly active for my friends
all because I have failed in a strenuous recommendation to
have the D.S.M. awarded where it was deserved I come
to realize that the system is questionable.

How little any one cares to hear of our failures and griev-
ances! If the world was not cold, human vanity would de-
mand all its time and energy expended in sympathizing with
grouches. Realizing, especially this morning, that this is a
very cold world after a conversation with some officers who
did not get the D.S.M. , I suggested to them the following
paraphrase: "Weep, and the world laughs at you. Laugh, and
you laugh alone." This did not seem to comfort them, their
sense of humor being submerged along with their other
faculties in deep pessimism.

Pans, Friday evening
July n, 1919

ON Tuesday occurred what will be the last, but one, meeting
of the Military Board of Allied Supply. It was held at my
headquarters at the Elyse Palace Hotel. The representa-
tives of the four armies were present. General Payot pre-
sided. I am happy to say that the compilation by the different
staffs of the information as to supply systems has so far
progressed that the great composite picture of the Allied
army supply system in France will be preserved for the mili-
tary students of all time.


On Tuesday evening at the Ritz I gave a dinner in honor
of General Payot and the other members of the Board at
which about one hundred guests were present. I paid as best

Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 23 of 30)