File No. 763.72Su/50
The Diplomatic Liaison Officer with the Supreme War Council ( Frazier) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11 p.m.]
54 [55?]. Last night in discussing with Wiseman the question of the best utilization of American troops to meet the present crisis, we both felt that you must be puzzled to note the four successive agreements made between the American Government and General Pershing and the French and British Governments with the approval of the two latter and yet to find that neither France nor Great Britain is satisfied with the agreement of Abbeville1 which superseded the three preceding agreements. Wiseman tells me that as far as England is concerned the explanation is that the British Government did not wish to come to a deadlock with General Pershing and to appeal over his head to higher authority, consequently they accepted an arrangement which they did not think adequately met the situation. I feel reasonably certain that the same explanation would apply to France. The situation as Wiseman and I see it is briefly this:
On the one hand you have General Foch, the commanders in chief of the French and British armies and their chiefs of staff, the military representatives at Versailles, including General Bliss, in full agreement with his colleagues, who all believe that to prevent the appalling danger of the Germans exhausting the Allied reserves and having them at their mercy in July or August, every available, ton of shipping should be utilized for the transportation of American infantry and machine gunners; on the other hand there is General Pershing who wishes to build up an autonomous army by utilizing the excess of tonnage over what is necessary to transport six divisions of infantry and machine gunners per month, for the transportation of artillery, etc., necessary to complete his divisions. The difference in result between these two conflicting plans is not insignificant; assuming that tonnage can be found for transporting 200,000 men in the months of May and June and that only infantry were sent, the Allies could count on 400,000 men to fill up their shattered divisions arid thus not be forced to reduce the number of [Page 227]such divisions. According to General Pershing’s plan, barely half of this number of infantry would be available at the end of the same period. Therefore, if the agreement of Abbeville is adhered to, and if General Foch and those who agree with him are right, the best measures for meeting the greater grave emergency will not have been used. If General Pershing is right, and if all tonnage be used to transport exclusively infantry and machine gunners during May and June, it only means that the creation of his Army will be delayed by two months.
General Studd told Wiseman yesterday at Versailles that there was no reason to believe that the morale of the German soldier had deteriorated or that the German staff had not accomplished all it expected in the offensive.
- May 2, 1918.↩