File No. 800.24/75

The Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin) to the Secretary of State


1. War Trade Board [from Sheldon], for Vance McCormick:

No. 917. In Paris and here I have run against several instances of lack of inter-Allied coordination which must lead to injurious results [Page 595] and calls specifically for efforts at correction. Endeavoring to get several War Trade points like caustic soda cleared. I had a long conference with Loucheur, Minister of Munitions, pointing out the direct relationship between production of caustic soda and of chlorine. He dilated upon the defective chlorine program of the Associated Governments and this proceeded to a general discussion of negotiations on program and stated that the experiences of the last four months have resulted in great changes in requirements. The program of manufacture of propellants by Associated Governments is disproportionate to that of manufacture of gas shells, in fact the program of manufacture of propellants as based on the nitrate program of the Nitrate Committee, is yielding propellants in excess of requirements and indeed in excess of the ability to transport them to the front and use them there. He regarded this program as 40 per cent excessive, with the consequent meaning in terms of tonnage that you can readily determine. On the other hand the gas shell production is lamentably low. Churchill has made the same statement to Cravath. Italians were unable to pursue Austrians for the same reason.

I do not see how it is possible to rectify this situation promptly, and in this every representative American in Paris and London agrees, except by the coming to Europe of Baruch and Stettinius and the placing in London and Paris of first caliber men representing W[ar] Industries] B[oard]. The first question that every representative Frenchman and Englishman has asked me, whether in the diplomatic service or in other departments, is related to the coming over of the head of the W.I.B. I realize that it is not my function to offer this advice to Baruch, but I regard it as my duty to lay the facts before you and urge you personally to do so.