File No. 763.72Su/59

The Diplomatic Liaison Officer with the Supreme War Council ( Frazier) to the Secretary of State


103. M. Clemenceau requested M. Tardieu to address the Council. M. Tardieu said the measures to be examined were the consequences of the decision taken at the last meeting of Supreme War Council and the telegram sent by M. Clemenceau, Mr. Lloyd George and Signor Orlando to the President asking that 300,000 men be called for military service each month in the United States. He reminded the Council that this telegram had been sent [presented] on June 61 and that President Wilson had replied that he saw no objection to these figures and that they might even be exceeded if necessary.2 The British and American Governments had found the necessary tonnage for the transportation of the men but it now became necessary to consider what was needed to transport guns, machine guns, aeroplanes, etc., and especially horses, as the French Government were unable to supply the American Army with horses after the month of July. The French had asked Lord Reading to request his Government to continue the arrangements made for transporting American troops in June and in July until the end of the year, and M. Jusserand had stated that according to Lord Reading’s reply there was little doubt that the necessary amount of tonnage would be available.

He then referred to a telegram which had been sent June 23 by M. Clemenceau to the French Ambassador in Washington indorsing the proposal of Generals Foch and Pershing that the American Army [Page 272] should be progressively increased to 100 divisions by the end of July 1919. He also read out a telegram which General Bliss had received on the same day from Secretary Baker commenting on this progressive increase. He said that while these figures were incomplete, as a result of his calculations it was seen that for the present month of July, 2,500,000 tons dead weight, for August, 3,000,000, and for September, 3,300,000 will be necessary. It was therefore obvious that a corresponding American tonnage effort would be needed to transport the additional supplies. He thought that these figures would increase until a monthly total of 8,000,000 tons was reached.

Mr. Lloyd George asked who had made up these figures as up to the present time all arrangements of tonnage had been made between the American Government and the British Shipping Board. M. Tardieu replied that these figures had been compiled in (collaboration?) with representatives of the American General Staff, of the French Government, and Sir Joseph Maclay. Mr. Lloyd George said that Sir Joseph Maclay had only casually been consulted for the first time about these figures on the preceding day. As all tonnage was either American or British, he could not see the purpose of these figures. M. Tardieu said that these estimates had also been considered by the military representatives of Supreme War Council. Both General Sackville-West and General Bliss stated that they had never been consulted about these figures and had never seen them. Mr. Lloyd George said that he felt the question should be considered by General Bliss and by Sir Joseph Maclay; he said that it was quite useless to examine the question without exact figures and without the presence of competent authorities. He said that the first thing was to find out how much America could transport and then if there were a deficiency, to see what British tonnage would be available to meet the deficiency. General Bliss said that two days ago he had heard that a plan was under consideration for providing tonnage to supply an army of 4,160,000 American soldiers and he had been asked to make a study of the tonnage required to supply such an [army]. He had made a study of it although he was not an authority.

M. Tardieu then said that he agreed entirely with everything that Mr. Lloyd George had said and he had merely endeavored to reach an estimate of the tonnage required to supply the American Army without in any way touching the question of providing tonnage itself. Mr. Lloyd George proposed that General Bliss should ascertain what America could do in the way of providing ships, and that if there were a deficiency the British Government could be appealed to. M. Clemenceau said it seemed to him that they were all in agreement regarding Mr. Lloyd George’s proposition. It was therefore decided by the Council that as soon as the American Government replies regarding amount of tonnage which it could make available, [Page 273] the British Shipping Board should be approached with a view to supplying eventual deficiency.

  1. Ante, p. 247.
  2. No copy of the President’s reply has been found in the files of the Department of State or among the papers of President Wilson.