File No. 763.72Su/8
The Ambassador in France ( Sharp) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4.34 p.m.]
3087. Frazier reports to me that a joint note on the subject of 1918 campaign was signed by military representatives of Supreme War Council yesterday.1 Following is the substance of the main conclusions reached in this note:
- It was assumed that Great Britain was safe from serious invasion.
- It was agreed that the safety of France could also be assured, provided that French and British forces in France were continuously maintained at their present total aggregate strength, and received the expected reenforcements of no less than two American divisions per month, provided that a substantial and progressive increase took place in the total Allied equipment in guns of all calibers, machine guns, airplanes and tanks, with necessary personnel to man them, and the most effective coordinate daily employment of these and all other mechanical devices, provided every possible measure be taken for strengthening and coordinating the Allied system of defenses, especially in sectors most liable to heavy attack, provided [Page 37]that the transportation by rail be coordinated and improved, provided that the whole Allied front in France be-treated as a single strategic field of action.
- It was also agreed that Italy was safe, provided that the Italian Army be reformed, trained and equipped with artillery before May 1, and that several positions in the rear of the present line be constructed on modern principles, provided that the power of rapid rail transport be increased both in the interior of Italy itself and between Italy and France in order to secure strategic unity of action over both transportation [systems], provided that in addition to the necessary measures taken against pacifism by the Italian Government itself the Allies should assist Italy by the provision of coal, wheat and other necessaries, as well as financially, in order to prevent the creation of economic conditions which might weaken the resistance of the interior.
The military representatives consider that if the assumptions of 1, 2, 3 are accepted, the enemy cannot gain a definite military decision in 1918 in the main theatres which would enable it to break finally the resistance of any of the Allied Powers. After reviewing the changed conditions in the western theatres due to the Russian collapses, the military representatives reached the conclusion that, pending such a change in the balance of forces as they may hope to attain in 1919 by the steady influx of American troops, guns, airplanes, tanks, etc., and by the progressive exhaustion of the enemy’s staying power, they should strive to inflict such a crushing series of defeats upon the Turkish armies as would lead to the final collapse of Turkey and her elimination from the war. The military representatives are of the opinion that the present condition of Turkey is one of almost complete material and moral exhaustion; they believe that the Turkish forces are now 250,000 men at the utmost, and that they would dwindle even more rapidly if seriously attacked owing to the entire lack of reserves.
Therefore after studying the entire situation the military representatives reached the final conclusion that, while it will not be within the power of the enemy to reach a decision adverse to the Allies in the main western theatres if certain conditions are fulfilled, the Allies themselves can not expect in the main theatres to obtain a real decision against the enemy apart from certain contingencies at present unforeseen. They are therefore of the opinion that a decisive offensive against Turkey should be undertaken with a view to the collapse of resistance through the annihilation of its armies.
- Joint note No. 12 containing these conclusions was dated Jan. 21, 1918.↩