File No. 800.24/58
The Ambassador in France ( Sharp) to the Secretary of State
[Received 8.25 p.m.]
4009. War Trade Board [from McFadden], attention of Woolley for Baruch:
No. 116. At a conference between House Mission and the British and French Ministers of Munitions, in Paris, late November 1917, it was proposed to create an Inter-Allied Munition Council to sit in Paris. As a result of this conference and of subsequent conferences and correspondence between the French and British Ministries of Munitions it is now definitely decided that the Council should be created and its composition, function and general activities shall be along the following general lines.
- Council is to consist of four delegates from each of the
Associated Governments representing the following interests:
- The Ministers of Munitions and American War Industries Board;
- Representative of the Minister of War or general staff of each of the Associated armies;
- Technical representative from each of the Associated Governments;
- Permanent representatives in Paris of the Ministries of Munitions and American War Industries Board.
- The Council to be permanent in character, to sit daily in Paris with formal meetings monthly to be attended by Ministers of Munitions of the Associated Governments.
- The authority of the Council is to be both executive and
advisory. The executive authority of the Council is to consist
- To arrange for the most advantageous employment of raw materials and manufacturing resources of the Allied countries in order that their munition programmes might be coordinated and carried out to the greatest possible extent and defining the word munitions so as to include all war materials based upon steel and other metals and chemical industries;
- To consider a Ad advise the munition programmes of the Associated Governments in relation to available supplies and transport.
- The advisory functions of the Council to be—
- To act as general advisors to the Inter-Allied Council on War Purchases and Finance in connection with purchases of munitions not only in the United States but also in neutral countries, occupying and performing about, the same functions in this connection as are now performed by the wheat, oil, fat, etc., executives;
- To assist the Inter-Allied Maritime Council in revising allocation of tonnage, advising them to what extent requirements put forward by each of the Allies are in accordance with military necessity;
- To coordinate the American munition programme with those of its associates and also the entire munition programme of the Associated Governments.
- The creation of a permanent Inter-Allied Statistical Bureau to be composed of ordnance and statistical experts for the purpose of providing the Inter-Allied Munition Council with all necessary data and statistics in connection with the production and possibilities of production of munitions by the Associated Governments.
- It was not definitely determined to whom the Council should be
responsible but it was suggested that they make reports to—
- The Supreme War Council;
- Inter-Allied Council of War Purchases and Finance;
- Inter-Allied Transport Committee;
- Ministers of Munitions and War Industries Board of the United States.
The above plan about reflects the general views of Loucheur and Churchill in connection with the composition and activity of this Council. In April, Pichon cabled Jusserand as follows:
I wish to remind you that the inter-Allied conference which took place in Paris, last December, has decided to organize an Inter-Allied Munitions Committee which will sit in Paris. The various other [Page 577]inter-Allied committees whose organization had been decided, at that time, are now working regularly and it is necessary to institute, without delay, the Inter-Allied Munitions Committee whose duty would be, more particularly, to examine the best repartition to be made of the common resources for the production of all that concerns the material constituted with steel and other metals and all that concerns chemical industries. It had been said, in Paris, that the representatives of each country would be the Minister of Munitions assisted by three persons of which one could usefully be a representative of either the General Staff or the War Minister. I beg you to ask the Government to be kind enough to let us know the names of its representatives and I propose that the first meeting of the Inter-Allied Munitions Committee be held in Paris during the first fortnight of May, the date to be decided upon by common agreement. Pichon.
At the request of Churchill the French have called a meeting of the Council at Paris for June 4 and same will be attended by Churchill, three British delegates and also by the Minister of Munitions of Italy together with three other Italian delegates. The French desire to know as to whether the American delegates have been nominated and if so, their names. They state that unless conference is attended by American delegates, the whole object of conference fails. We presented memorandum covering the subject to Colonel Dawes 1 who, after consultation with General Pershing, informed us that they considered subject civilian rather than military problem. We have also consulted chief ordnance officer of A.E.F. and they are without information in connection with the appointment of American delegates to conference.
In case you wish further information in connection with objects of Council we suggest you consult with Crosby who is thoroughly familiar with subject. The above has been brought to our attention through our association in connection with the Inter-Allied Metal Conference and we submit the above to you at request of French Ministry of Munitions. McFadden.
- Col. Charles G. Dawes, United States Army; chairman of the General Purchasing Board, American Expeditionary Force; member of the Military Board of Allied Supply.↩