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statement of what I knew to be the fact up to the time I took ,
hold of the coal matter about a week ago. I got (apparently ,
only) angry and proceeded to give him a good imitation of a
man who knew what he was talking about, descending, I re-
gret to say, to extreme statement. Immediately the gold lace
dropped away and a clear-headed, helpful man emerged
one who could not give us a ship, for he did not have one to
give, but one who gave helpful suggestions and kindly encour-
agement. I realized then that Sims was a big man, and what
he had said at first was to find out whether I was, or not, in
the shortest possible time.

After failing with Sims, to our mutual regret, I met with
Major-General Blatchford (a constructive, natural leader of
men), General Langfitt, Colonel Stanley, and Captain Moore
(a ship expert). They met to discuss my requisition on them
for Moore whom they want to use at Bordeaux and I want to
use here. Blatchford said that absolutely nothing was more
important than to help in this coal crisis and gave me Moore.
Have used him all day and shall try to get through with him
soon in order to release him for his own most important work.



32 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

I saw Beckingham of England and put him in contact with
Moore. My official papers will explain who Beckingham is,
and my relations with him, therefore.

By to-morrow morning I shall have for Pershing the form
of a cable for the War Department, and a statement of the
whole coal situation as I have found it, with recommenda-
tions for appropriate action.

Dined with Greyson Murphy, Perkins, and Swan Satur-
day evening and agreed upon the relation of Red Cross to army
activities here and in England.

Am writing this between 6 and 7 P.M. and start into con-
ferences again on coal matters after dinner to-night.

Paris, September 19, 1917

HAVING rounded up the coal situation for the army, and Gen-
eral Pershing having requested me to write the necessary
cablegrams to the War Department for him to send making
the requisite suggestions and requisition for ships, I took
automobile for Chaumont Monday afternoon after having had
the first meeting of my French Auxiliary Committee with the
Purchasing Board in the morning. Took Chauncey McCor-
mick (who speaks French) and my army chauffeur with me.
We made good time and covered the 156 miles by about 9.30
P.M. The General and his staff were at his quarters where I
spent the night. John and I sat up in conference and visiting
until nearly one o'clock. He approves my selection of Moore
to take charge of coal and supply transport from England.
Major-General Blatchford (C.G., L. of C.) has agreed to loan
me Moore for thirty days; but am inclined to think the Com-
mander-in-Chief will be insistent on his remaining on this de-
tail permanently owing to its vital importance.

The next morning I worked incessantly until about I P.M.
preparing my cablegrams and report on coal. Then presented
the matter to Pershing with Rogers (Chief Quartermaster),
Harbord (Chief of Staff), and Alvord (Adjutant-General)
present. Programme and cables all were approved. They




MAJOR-GENERAL J. G. HARBORD
Commanding Second Division



TIRE TROUBLE AND A WEDDING 33

cover suggestion of requisitioning lake vessels during winter,
methods of adapting them for salt-water service, methods of
loading to utilize all space, and a requisition for ships (steam-
ers) to carry 41, OCX) tons dead weight. In addition they pro-
vided for Moore to take charge of transporting from England
and eventual control of this work by the Commanding Gen-
eral, Lines of Communication.

After lunch with the General and his staff spent a time with
Major Robert Bacon, who took me to see the old tower and
wall. Bacon is commander of the Post at Chaumont. He was
formerly Ambassador to France and Secretary of State, U.S.A.
Chauncey and I then started for Paris. Everything went well
until about 10.30 P.M., when we got our automobile, a big Pan-
hard, in an impossible tire difficulty. We turned off at Grisy
(I think that is the name), a little village twenty miles from
Paris and off the main road. It was dark as pitch, and there
were no lights anywhere. Everybody was in bed and every-
thing barred and bolted. We gave up looking for an inn and
were about to compose ourselves for the night in the machine,
when Chauncey spied a light through a crack in a street
window on a side street. He knocked on the shutters and
they were opened on a French wedding party of about twenty
people seated around a table. They all rose and crowded
around the window. They passed us out wine to drink the
bride's health. The groom was a young French soldier on a
week's leave, the bride a beautiful girl of the village. She took
some of the white wax flowers from her bridal wreath and
handed them through the window to Chauncey and me. The
groom's father left the party and walked with us a long dis-
tance and helped us rout out a sleepy innkeeper. I told Chaun-
cey to ask him if he would take a wedding present back to the
bride and he answered that a Colonel's wish was to him a com-
mand. So I gave them a start for housekeeping when the war
is over; that is, if the poor fellow comes back. It was not a gay
wedding party, but one from the class of people who make
France glorious before the world.



34 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

We stayed all n'ght at the clean little inn, and this morn-
ing, our automobile having been repaired by our chauffeur,
reached Paris. The French of our chauffeur is confined to
two words "Oui" and "Tray Bone" and he greatly
feared he would be left alone to get back to Paris.

Had a conference with General Blatchford and Moore
in the morning. (Moore is going to be made a Major for the
good work he has done for us.) 1 Worked hard all day and here
is where I go to bed.

Paris, Monday, September 24, 1917

LAST Thursday General Pershing took me to lunch with Ad-
miral Mayo of the navy, Commander Sayles, Atterbury (Di-
rector of Railways) , and two or three other officers. There we
discussed the cooperation of the navy with the army in France.
At the request of Lindeboom (French navy) and Chairman
of the French Naval Purchasing Board for America, who
brought me a letter from the highest French naval authority,
I arranged with General Pershing for the transmission of a
cable from him to Washington requesting authority for the
transfer to the French Government of about twenty vessels
(aggregating about 31,000 tons) from the American Shipping
Board, which after the purchase by the French had denied
permission for the ships to leave. The French naval authori-
ties impressed upon me the desperate need of coal for their
navy which these ships would transport from England.
Some of their warships had only two or three days' supply
ahead. Since a part of these steamers would patrol and help
make safer the French ports where we are landing American
soldiers and supplies, and since this war involves France
and America in a common effort, it seems to me extremely im-
portant that these ships go to the French. This war from our
(the Allies') standpoint resolves itself into a question of hold-
ing out until America can really come into the struggle. Am
bending all my efforts to carry out the policy of Pershing
1 The first promotion for efficiency made in the A.E.F. (H. B. Moore).



GETTING COAL 35

to make the influence of the United States strongly felt in
creating a better coordination of effort between the three
armies which he feels is needed.

It is a joint struggle for a joint cause. What helps one helps
all. We must not lose sight of the common need in the search
for relief for our own needs. This I am especially mindful of
in my operations involving European purchases. Shall allow
nothing to be done to weaken our allies for our own benefit.
Distrust of each others' intentions is fatal to quick action in
time of emergency. The French seem greatly to appreciate
my attitude.

In trying to think back over the past five days I find that
this record will be less interesting if I try to catalogue all
important things my official correspondence and papers
must do that and will be more valuable if I speak at greater
length of a few things than to merely mention many. The
important thing above everything else is coal, and I rejoice
that in the last two days great progress has been made. Gen-
eral Pershing telephoned me from Chaumont this afternoon
that the War Department had answered his cable which I had
drawn up at Chaumont ; that our suggestions as to the req-
uisitioning of Great Lakes boats while navigation is closed on
the lakes in the winter, for use in bringing us coal from Eng-
land, was being acted upon; that the result of Admiral Sims's
refusal to me of a collier, which he (Pershing) had reported to
the War Department, had been a cable to him (Sims) to turn
over to us one or two colliers, and instructions to help us in
every way possible ; that coal was starting to us from America.
Pershing seemed much relieved, especially since we heard from
Lassiter yesterday that coal shipments would start from Eng-
land this week. We seized the Berwind at Dartmouth, hav-
ing been too late at Havre to catch her. Wired Lassiter hoped
he could provide tonnage capable of landing us 30,000 tons
monthly. Ordered first two cargoes to Bordeaux. I now hope,
with the better cooperation of the navy, that we can do better
than this from tonnage secured on this side, having the 41 ,000



36 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

tons dead weight carrying capacity which we asked for from
America in addition.

(The night-flying aeroplanes guarding Paris have an irre-
sistible attraction for me, and I have stopped three times
while writing this to watch one from my window. They
carry lights. They are so high up at times that the sound of
their propellers resembles the buzzing of a mosquito.)

To-day I lunched with the officer second in command of
the French navy and Mr. Lindeboom, and Marshal Joffre's
secretary (whom I asked Lindeboom to bring, as he helped
me out of an embarrassment at the Joffre meeting at the
Stockyards arising out of the jealousy of Viviani of Joffre's
popularity). 1

To-day sent Pershing the outline of the order establishing
the organization for handling the transports from England
to France. Blatchford and Rogers approved of same, and
Pershing will issue order immediately. Have put the power
and its twin sister, responsibility, in the hands of Captain
Moore (who because of his great help to us is soon to be a
Major).

Pershing telephoned me asking if I could use in my work
Major Harjes, of Morgan, Harjes and Company, Paris, and
I gladly requisitioned him. Verily, war gives me an authority
to which peace is a stranger. The weather has been beautiful,
though I have not had time to enjoy it. Lindeboom is going
to America and will take with him the beautiful birthday
gift of the iyth Regiment to me. It is inscribed, "A token
of the respect, admiration, and affection of the personnel of
the i yth Regiment Engineers." I greatly value it and the
more because of my own attachment to those who gave it;
but I remember Balthasar Gracian's caution that it is not
the applause which greets one on entrance, but on exit, which
is important.

1 In the early part of the year I had presided over the meeting at the
Chicago Stockyards, Chicago, Illinois, held in honor of Joffre and Viviani.




LIEUTENANT-COLONEL HERMAN H. HARJES, of my staff, who afterwards
became Chief Liaison Officer of the American Expeditionary Forces, ren-
dered the most important assistance in the earlier work of my office with
the French Government and Army.

His residence and acquaintance in France as the head of the firm of
Morgan, Harjes and Company gave him access at all times to those in
French authority able to assist us. His advice and guidance were invalu-
able.

In the matter of the cession of the Belgian locomotives and other im-
portant supply crises, Colonel Harjes contributed an energy and intelli-
gence that insured success.

In the performance of his duty, as Chief Liaison Officer, he suffered a
broken hip in an automobile accident, but throughout the last two months
of the war, notwithstanding acute suffering, he carried on his army work
from his sick bed.

He received the Distinguished Service Medal of the United States.

C.G. D.




LIEUTENANT-COLONEL HERMAN H. HARJES



FRENCH SUPPLIES 37

Paris, Saturday, September 29, 1917

FOR the last five days have devoted most of my time to the
matter of coal supply for our army, endeavoring to complete
the organization which I have already at work. At my sug-
gestion a group of officers was appointed by General Pershing
to formally meet the French authorities in charge of the fuel
situation in France, to close definitely with them the question
of the joint action necessary to handle properly the fuel
question both wood and coal. He appointed Brigadier-
General Taylor (Engineers), Chief Quartermaster (Colonel)
Rogers, Director of Transportation Atterbury, Lieutenant-
Colonel Wilkins (Assistant Chief Quartermaster), and my-
self (General Purchasing Agent). This morning we held a
preliminary meeting at my office and outlined our position
to present to the French. Captain Hill (a very able man)
reduced it to writing. I was selected to verbally present our
position to the French whom we met at 5 P.M. at the office
of the French Minister of Supplies. All the French officers
having authority to definitely close the matter were present.
Our interview was satisfactory and the French will outline
in writing the principles agreed upon, leaving the method of
carrying them out for further consultation. My official
papers will show the action in full.

Yesterday (Friday) General Ragueneau, the head of the
French Mission at Pershing's headquarters, called with a
letter of introduction from General Pershing, and we dis-
cussed the relation of our purchases for our army to the
French situation. He pointed out how Frajice was practi-
cally stripped of supplies, and asked the closest cooperation
of our army in the matter of purchases. I told him I was de-
termined that we should do nothing without the approval
of the French Government; that I was holding up independ-
ent purchasing; that as Pershing had put me in control of the
matter he (General Ragueneau) and his associates must if
possible place a liaison board of the French at my headquar-
ters empowered to act with the same authority as to the



38 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

French attitude on any question as I had in regard to that of
the American army this to simplify and expedite as much
as possible our work. He agreed as to this. I earnestly hope
and shall steadfastly endeavor to keep in closest coordina-
tion of purpose and action with the French Government.

In the afternoon (Friday) Lieutenant-Commander Linde-
boom of the French navy (General Staff) called for me and
took me to call on Marshal Joffre. Took Major Gushing
and Captain Coe of our regiment (who happened to be in the
city) with me. At Joffre's office met Colonel Fabry and
Lieutenant De Tessant, and a French naval commander who
with Lindeboom had all been to America with Joffre and
Viviani. Had an extremely pleasant visit with them. The
Marshal was delighted with his American reception, as were
all the others. He was very cordial. They all spoke of how
they were impressed at the Stockyards meeting with the
singing of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" "Glory,
Glory, Halleluiah, for God goes marching on." They re-
peated these words.

While very busy on the fuel situation during the week have
progressed in my organization for securing supplies in Eng-
land, Spain, and Switzerland. Christie, the man I have
appointed to take charge in Spain, will leave for there the
coming week. Upon him much will depend. Shall have him
report on the matter of the possibility of importing Spanish
labor to help build our railroads.

Am cooperating with the officers of the I7th Regiment
Engineers in presenting their plan for building piers at St.
Nazaire capable of handling 50,000 tons of freight a day. 1
Colonel Sewell and his staff have discovered that this can be
done at this harbor, despite French engineering advice to the
contrary. Their discovery has come in time, I think, to
check the other plans, which are much less desirable. Took
Captain Coe to Major-General Blatchford and other officers
of the Lines of Communication who will decide the matter.
1 The beginnings._of the Montoir project.



THE FRENCH COAL MINES 39

General Pershing telephoned his appreciation of my coal
work. I have had a busy but a satisfactory week. If the plan
of the iyth Regiment is adopted, it will be a wonderful con-
tribution to the effectiveness of our army and to the reputa-
tion of the regiment.

Paris, Sunday, September 30, 1917

AT our conference with the French yesterday an interesting ,

incident occurred. Some time ago, hearing that the French
coal mines were not being operated to full capacity, I started
a plan to have a report made as to this with the idea of sug-
gesting the sending of miners from the United States if this
proved the case. The French Government heard that I was
about to send an expert to make the examination and re-
quested that I defer doing so. Yesterday, in answer to my
question as to whether this would be agreeable to them, they
said that the labor situation and trades-unionism in France
were such that the importation of miners would involve
them in great domestic embarrassment. We therefore had
to give up a plan which I am sure would have greatly relieved
the coal situation both for them and us.

Having finished the organization for supplying coal and
moving it, which has consumed much thought and a large
part of my time, I spent some time to-day preparing orders
for submission to the Commander-in-Chief which when issued
will relieve me from attention to the details of coal operation.
Coal will start landing in a few days, and the machinery being
in motion will continue throughout the war. Its foundations
are so broad that it will expand as the burdens upon it in-
crease.

At the Saturday afternoon conference the French Govern-
ment also suggested that we turn over to them the ship ton-
nage we had, and were gathering, to transport coal from Eng-
land, and in return they would give us our entire supply of
coal from France. I had had an intimation that they would
make this proposal and called General Pershing by telephone



40 JOURNAL_OF THE GREAT WAR

and discussed it. He instructed me to decline the proposition
if made. In doing so at the conference I referred to the co-
operation of the General in the matter of endeavoring to
secure transfer to the French Government of certain sea-
going barges and tugs as well as the 31,000 tons of ship-
ping to which I have before referred in these notes. It would
not do for us to lose control of our transport system from
England to France in any degree. The reasons for this are
too obvious to discuss. I hear much criticism from the
French themselves of their complex organization and the
delays it entails and this from those highest in authority.
As for my own contact with it, I can say it has worked so far
very well in its relations to us, offering the minimum of
reasonable objections to our movements.

Paris, October 4, 1917

THIS war involves the United States in a supreme test as
to its ability to coordinate not only the various lines of
effort relating to its own military preparation, but its col-
lected and consolidated results of preparation with those of
its allies. As one laboring constantly to effect this coordina-
tion, its importance is daily the more impressed upon me.
When the source of main military supply is so far distant
from the point of use, as is the case with the United States
and its army in France, the importance of coordination in-
creases in proportion to its difficulty. What, as officers on the
field of consumption of military supplies, we are seeking, is
to locate the control of the movement of supplies from Amer-
ica as a base, at the point of use. The President and the War
Department indicate, by their every action and their en-
deavor to speedily comply with Pershing's suggestions, that
they recognize the importance of this principle; but to put it
into effective operation will require time and thought.

Priority in shipments, route of shipment (ports of disem-
barkation), and relative necessity of material should be,
barring exceptional emergency, determined here and not in




CHARLES G. DAWES
Brigadier-General Engineers



IMPORTANCE OF COORDINATION 41

America. Ships now come loaded with material for St. Na-
zaire and Bordeaux. Since a steamer cannot land at both
ports, land transfer and double handling of freight result. If
loading and routing of ships were determined here and not
in America, freight for two ports would not be mixed
freight needed most three months from now would not dis-
place freight whose lack holds our engineers idle, and delays
work on our lines of communication, keeps our foresters out
of the forests of France from lack of sawmills and axes when
Paris fears revolution this winter from lack of fuel, and the
armies in the field face a fuel shortage.

Coordination of our own activities is our first problem.
We are rapidly but none too rapidly solving it. And
then must come effective coordination of supplies, and mili-
tary effort with our Allies. The war would best be fought if
one cbmrhander-in-chief controlled the movement of the ships,
supplies, and men of the three nations. Since that is impossi-
ble, liaison boards, representing the three governments, with
final power, are desirable. It is conceivable at times that the
most effective military results would be obtained if our
United States ship tonnage was devoted largely to supplying
England's fighting army ; at another time that England's ton-
nage would be devoted to carrying supplies for the army of
France and the United States. If we fail (that is, the Allies)
in this war it will be because we do not coordinate quickly
enough. Pershing and all of us see this. We are working for
it night and day. I am glad that my particular service is
largely along these lines. The enormous destruction of ship-
ping by German submarines makes coordination the salva-
tion of the Allies the lack of it, their defeat. We must not
deceive ourselves.

General Pershing over the telephone indicated that in
addition to my other heavy duties he wishes me to take up
the question of labor. We need 50,000 men for the building
of our railroads, and to do other construction work. Where
to get them, to what extent we can use our troops, to deter-



42 JOURNAL OF THE GREAT WAR

mine the Spanish and Italian situation in this connection
all this is involved. I do not quite know to what extent he
wishes me to take hold of the matter. If I cannot do it thor-
oughly I must not attempt it. He wanted me to supervise the
selling of Liberty Bonds to the soldiers for its stimulating
effect on American subscriptions, but I asked him, in view of
my present heavy burdens, to assign this work to others.

Received letter from Van de Vyvere relative to going to the
Belgian lines with the Belgian Cabinet who meet the King
there every Monday; but how in the world I am going to get
the time to do it I do not know.

Paris, Saturday, October 6, 1917

SPENT most of the morning at my office with Major-General
Bartlett, who is to succeed General Lassiter as Military At-
tache of the American Embassy at London. Went over the
character of problems he would have to meet based on those
we have encountered the past thirty days. Informed him as
to the relations of the General Purchasing Agent and Board
to his organization as we understood them. Had him meet
Captain (Major) Moore and Lieutenant-Colonel Wilkins,
who are now handling the coal transports and shipments
and the coal exchange at ports with the French for coal at the
points of our use. We reached a good understanding. I ex-
plained to him that the serious questions in my judgment
which confronted him were those which would arise out of the
request of England for use of our tonnage from America to
England in return for the coal and other supplies she is fur-
nishing us in England for use in France. The request for the
use of the 41,000 tons' capacity of steamers we have just
requisitioned, to carry on the first trip steel billets to England,
is in point. My feeling is that we must go to every extreme
in our efforts to cooperate with England and France. If we



Online LibraryCharles Gates DawesA journal of the great war (Volume 1) → online text (page 4 of 30)