File No. 800.24/53

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

No. 8076

Sir: With reference to my cipher telegram No. 8207 of January 9,1 communicating the agreement regarding the joint manufacture of tanks by the United States and British Governments, and your telegram No. 6303 of January 18,1 authorizing me on behalf of our Government to sign the said agreement, I have the honor to transmit herewith the original document which His Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and I signed this afternoon. There are also enclosed two photographic copies of the agreement.

I have [etc.]

Walter Hines Page
[Page 561]

Agreement between the American and British Governments for the Joint Manufacture of Tanks

The Government of the United States of America and the Government of His Britannic Majesty, being desirous of cooperating in the use of their respective resources for the production of the war machines known as the tanks, and having considered the joint recommendation made to them by Lieutenant Colonel A. G. Stern, C.M.G. and Major J. A. Drain, U.S.R., whom they had appointed as their Commissioners to investigate the possibilities of such joint production, the undersigned, duly authorised to that effect by their respective Governments, have agreed upon the following articles:—

1. The above-mentioned Commissioners are authorised by the respective Governments—

To build a factory in France, the cost of which is to be defrayed in equal parts by the contracting Governments. The factory shall be of sufficient capacity to produce three hundred completed tanks per month and capable of being extended to produce at least twelve hundred tanks per month. The materials required for the construction of the factory shall be obtained in France and in England. The unskilled labour for the erection of the factory shall be supplied by the British Government. Skilled labour shall be supplied by the British or by the United States Government as the Commissioners may elect.
To arrange for the production of, and to produce, fifteen hundred tanks during the year 1918, or as many more as may be required and authorised by the respective Governments, and to arrange for the provision of the components for these tanks in the United States and Great Britain substantially as follows:—
  • In the United States: Engines complete, with starter and clutch, radiator, fan and piping, silencer, electric lighting, dynamo and battery, propeller shaft, complete transmission, including main gear-box, brakes, roller sprockets, gear shifting and brake control, track links and pins, rear track sprockets, hub and shafts, front idler hub and shafts, track roller, track spindles and bushings.
  • In Great Britain: Bullet and bomb-proof plates, structural members, track shoes and rollers, guns, machine guns and mountings, ammunition racks and ammunition.

2. The respective Governments undertake to give the necessary priority in respect of material, labour, shipping, and other requirements to enable the programme to be carried out in the most expeditious manner.

[Page 562]

3. It is understood that the tanks produced by the factory are to be allocated between the United States, France and Great Britain according to a determination to be reached later between the Governments of the three countries, provided that the first six hundred tanks produced shall be allocated to the United States Government, and provided further that the latter and the British Government shall each take one half of the number of tanks not taken by the French Government, unless unequal allocation between them shall be subsequently agreed upon.

4. The price which shall be charged to the French, British and United States Governments, should there be an unequal allocation between the two latter, shall be five thousand pounds sterling per tank, which price shall be subject to adjustment at the close of the operations occurring under this agreement, and the liquidation of all assets upon a basis of actual cost, such actual cost to include no charge for overhead by either Government.

5. The capital necessary to carry out this programme shall be supplied in equal parts by the United States and British Governments. Expenditure in France shall in the first instance be paid by the British Government.

Materials purchased in Great Britain shall be paid for by the British Government and those purchased in the United States of America shall be paid for by the United States Government.

An adjustment of the accounts shall be made every six months.

6. It is further agreed that the United States Government shall replace the steel provided by the British Government for armour plate. The replacement shall be in the form of ship plates and shall be made on or about the date of delivery of armour plate to the factory, on the basis of ton per ton, the necessary allowance for difference in value to be made in the adjustment of the accounts.

In witness whereof the undersigned have signed the present agreement and have affixed thereto their seals.

Done at London in duplicate the 22nd day of January, 1918.

Walter Hines Page

Arthur James Balfour
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.