File No. 800.24/65

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


4127. War Trade Board [from McFadden], attention War Department and War Industries Board:

No. 159. The following is approved memorandum on the organization of the Inter-Allied Munitions Council.

The Inter-Allied Munitions Council is an organization having authority, composition and sources of information which enable it to study, criticise, and make all kinds of propositions in regard to programmes for the manufacture of munitions of war. They will have for deliberation four principal objects, namely:
The basis of military requirements which might be modified by a study of Allied experiences, notably in regard to those Allies who have only recently entered the war and whose programs are still in the course of elaboration;
The adoption of the most efficient methods in the arsenals of the Allies as a result of experience of the Allies;
The specialization in particular categories of production by each of the Allies respectively;
The allocation and transport of raw material for munitions to the various Allied countries.
The Council has a second important function. A number of inter-Allied organizations have developed, some with executive power and others with advisory functions. It is necessary to coordinate all these special organizations occupied with munitions and to have their operations approved by the Inter-Allied Munitions Council. All those organizations whose operations seem desirable should be subordinated to the principal council of munitions conforming in principle to all those [the scheme] set forth in the table annexed hereto.1
In regard to the special committees indicated on the annexed table, it was understood at the conference in Paris held in November, 1917, that it was necessary to have a technical committee for the discussion between the Allies of technical questions connected with war materials, which committee should be charged to exchange information on inventions, experiences, and improvements, not only in regard to study of these questions, but also in regard to their manufacture. This committee to be composed in the case of each of the Allies of an officer for the study of plans and another for actual manufacture but there would be no advantage in drawing too strict a line of demarcation between these two functions. This committee should be able to centralize a great deal of the liaison work which is carried on between the different countries on the subject of inventions, and the officers and ministries of munitions as well as those from G.H.Q. occupied with these questions in Paris should render account to this committee. Specialists could be attached for the consideration of any particular question. This committee would be a committee for consultation only. Each ally to retain entire responsibility for those models if adopted by each of the armies respectively in accordance with the authority of their respective representatives.
The aviation committee, which is already in existence, to render account to the principal council.
The chemical committee under similar conditions will do likewise.
As yet there is no explosives committee existing but it will be necessary to create one for the purpose of handling questions of division of supplies. (There are already certain very important questions under consideration such as the amount of explosives with which we should provision Italy and the amount of powder which America should be prepared to furnish in 1919, also questions as to the most economical mixtures to be employed.) The executive committee on nitrates should be subordinate to this committee but would continue to sit in London where it will exercise its executive functions.
At present no committee on nonferrous metals is in existence but constant conferences are being held and it is desirable [Page 586] that these should be [put] on a methodical basis with certain executive subcommittees to be formed when necessary to deal with any particular metal.
In regard to steel, at present moment there are arrangements between the different Allies for the division of cast iron and steel of various qualities. But these questions are not discussed at present in their entirety. Evidently it is very desirable that the division of American and English steel should be examined by the principal council but outside of the general function of the secretariat to furnish particulars on this subject, it will probably be necessary to have a separate committee examine any questions which may be raised on the subject of steel. If it is understood that an inter-Allied committee is to be charged with this question, it should hold its meetings in London.
There remains the question of railway material (rails and wagons). There is an inter-Allied organization at Versailles charged with railway transport. This organization cannot be subordinate to the Munitions Council because this transport, with all the Allies, is not under the Ministry of Munitions. But a liaison should be established between this committee and the Munitions Council in regard to manufactured and raw materials.
This list of committees is not limited in any way and may be added to as circumstances demand. In order that the Munitions Council may be qualified to exercise a comprehensive and inter-Allied view of the comparative urgency of Allied demands for railway material, rolling stock, etc, at the time when the Munitions Council shall be called upon to make its final decision with respect to the allocation of steel, the inter-Allied railway transport committee should be asked to gather together for the Munitions Council all information covering the programme of railway construction of each of the Allies and to classify the various programmes according to their urgency.
The Council shall meet every month or every six weeks at Paris. It shall be composed of the Ministers of Munitions except in the case of the United States which shall be represented by a special delegate accredited by the American Government. The Ministers and the American delegate shall be two in number from each Allied country, one of whom shall, if possible, reside in Paris. And if each of the Ministers of Munitions deem it necessary, there shall also be a representative of the Ministries of War who shall be either a member of the general staff or an officer qualified to speak in their names. The Council shall have a permanent secretariat including, if necessary, one member for each ally. This secretariat shall be charged with the collection and concentration of the work of the various special committees and to make résumés and reports therefrom periodically to the several Governments. It shall also keep itself informed of the decisions and resolutions of the Council and shall prepare a regular account of the same for the Council. The Inter-Allied Bureau of Statistics is understood to be included in the secretariat. In addition to the regular meetings arranged for above, [Page 587] special meetings could be called as occasion arose for the same either between delegates residing in Paris or between special delegates designated by their Governments.
The secretariat shall assemble and collate particulars received regarding those subjects under the consideration of the Council in such form and manner as shall be found to be most expedient for the use of the Council and shall bring the same periodically up to date. In carrying out this plan, it shall follow the principal lines of the memorandum prepared by the Ministry of [Munitions] entitled the Review of Allies’ Munitions Programmes in such matters as are not outside the plan or folio of documentary’ [material] periodically distributed by the Inter-Allied Statistical Bureau. It shall prepare in addition special reports and minutes on such other subjects as may be indicated by the Council. The secretariat should be responsible for preparing for the Inter-Allied Council of War Purchases and Finance and for the Allied Maritime Transport Council all necessary documents relating to munitions and the manufacture of war supplies. The secretariat will receive in return, from the councils above mentioned, all necessary [information] relating to the dispositions made or proposed to be made by the councils with respect thereto.
There being no single definition indicating the authority of the Ministries of Munitions in each Allied country respectively, it is understood that in principle the authority of the Council shall extend to all productions having for their basis steel, other metals, and chemical manufactures, such modifications excepted as may be found needed to accord with special conditions in the respective countries.


  1. Not transmitted.