File No. 763.72/13355a

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page)


7144. [Shipping] Board’s State 16, for Stevens, from Hurley: Acting upon the call of the Inter-Allied Supreme War Council for the fullest possible immediate American military participation the President has decided after consultation with representatives of England and France and heads of Government departments to increase our military effort as follows:

A minimum of 91,000 troops will be shipped overseas monthly commencing April 1. Every available American transport, the transports loaned by the British, and American and [Page 199] British liners will be used for this movement. We understand England to have guaranteed, besides, sufficient additional tonnage to carry at least 29,000 additional troops per month. This makes a total of 120,000 troops per month as a minimum.
A cargo movement will be carried out consisting of the necessary engineering matériel for ports and lines of communication, such part of the aviation and ordnance programs as will be ready for shipment including replacement of materials 438,000 tons for France and 50,000 tons for England and quartermaster, medical and miscellaneous supplies for monthly increments of 91,000 men, plus maintenance of our troops now in France and establishment of reserves. Great Britain to furnish the material and supplies for the additional troops according to her agreement as fully stated in Pershing’s cablegram No. 596 of February 12 and 705 of March 10.1

After careful study of all tonnage requirements of the United States it is clear that this movement can be carried out, but only with the greatest difficulty. The execution of the undertaking is subject to the provisions that we retain all neutral tonnage now employed in the service of the United States, that the submarine sinkings do not develop to an unusual extent above the present losses, that the Emergency Fleet Corporation’s promised delivery of ships be carried out, and that the import reduction now planned be not impeded. All tonnage owned or controlled by the United States will be required by the Shipping Board to meet the military program and other imperative needs and commitments. Ships loaned to France and Italy will not now be disturbed but we must utilize all Dutch ships requisitioned in our harbors to meet our present program. We cannot divert any additional tonnage without impairing the military program to which we are thus definitely committed.

The War Department is repeating this cable to Bliss and Pershing. British and French Ambassadors also notified.

  1. Neither printed.