File No. 763.72/5403

Mr. Balfour, for the British Special Mission, to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: At the conference on Saturday3 various subcommittees were appointed to deal with military subjects, but a certain group of questions concerning munitions was not touched on. As time is drawing on it seems desirable that these should be discussed very soon, as some of them raise points on which early action may be required. For example, the question of acetone is one in which we think that the United States Government might assist us in our negotiations with manufacturers, but we must take some steps within the next few days. It is not yet clear through what [Page 60] channel we should act in such cases, nor, so far as I am aware, is the policy clear as to the form in which any assistance that you may be good enough to render us will take.

Again, I have learned from London that the Russian Government may very shortly be initiating proposals for assistance from your Government, and it is I think important that we should put you in touch with the action as regards munitions for Russia which we have taken and the reasons which led the Allied conference at Petrograd to adopt the programme which is now governing Russian supplies.

The question of the orders for guns to be placed by us with American firms is also engaging the attention of the Government at home. This matter cannot of course be finally settled by the present mission, but we should be glad to carry it as far forward as possible before we leave.

I should be very grateful if you could help me to push on the various subjects to which I have referred in this letter, and I think this can best be done by having an early conference on the whole munitions question as sketched out in the original programme.

Yours very sincerely,

Arthur James Balfour
  1. See ante, p. 55.