File No. 763.72Su/12

The Ambassador in France ( Sharp ) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]

3118. For Secretary of State and Colonel House:

Frazier reports to me as follows:

At a meeting held between General Robertson and General Pershing yesterday at Versailles General Pershing made the following objections to General Robertson’s plan of sending to France by British shipping 150 battalions of infantry for service in British divisions on the western front:

(1)
The national sentiment of the United States opposed to service under foreign flag.
(2)
Probability that such action by the United States might excite serious political opposition to the administration in conducting the war.
(3)
The certainty that it would be used by German propagandists to incite public opinion against the war.
(4)
It would dissipate the effort of the American Army as well as its direction.
(5)
The danger differences in national characteristics and military training of soldiers, with consequent failure of entire cooperation, would undoubtedly lead to frequent [difficulties] and eventual misunderstanding between both countries.
(6)
Additional man power could be provided as quickly on the western front by some plan not entailing amalgamation.

General Pershing thereupon made the following counter-proposition which would use the available tonnage for bringing over the personnel of entire American divisions to Europe:

(1)
That the infantry and auxiliary troops of these divisions be trained with British divisions by battalions or by some plan to be mutually agreed upon.
(2)
Artillery to be trained by using French material as at present but under American direction.
(3)
That the staff officers and higher commanders be detailed with corresponding units of the British Army for training and experience.
(4)
That those battalions after sufficient training be reformed as regiments and that after complete training of the artillery all units comprising each division be united for service under their own officers.
(5)
That plan above mentioned be carried out without interfering with plans now in operation for transporting American forces to France.
(6)
That the questions of supply be arranged with our advice in concert with American and British commanders-in-chief.
(7)
That the questions of equipment and arms be decided in an analogous manner.

Sharp