File No. 012.2/30c

The Acting Secretary of State to the British Ambassador on Special Mission ( Reading)1

Excellency: I transmit herewith, at the request of the Secretary of War, a memorandum prepared by him with reference to the representative capacity in which Mr. Edward R. Stettinius, Second Assistant Secretary of War, is proceeding to Europe to attend the meetings of the Inter-Allied Munitions Council during his stay abroad.

The Secretary of War is particularly anxious to have it clearly understood by the British Government that the presence of Mr. Stettinius in Europe and at the meetings of the Munitions Council shall not be misunderstood, and that the limitations upon his representative capacity are definite, and as stated in this memorandum.

I have [etc.]

Frank L. Polk

File No. 800.24/79

Memorandum of the Secretary of War ( Baker), Dated July 11, 1918

The Secretary of War has examined with interest the plans of the Inter-Allied Munitions Council, and welcomes the opportunity afforded by its organization to discuss with representatives of the Allied Governments arrangements by which the several munitions programs can best be met and to obtain from the Allies the benefit of their experience. Accordingly, Mr. Edward R. Stettinius, Second Assistant Secretary of War, who is about to sail for France in connection with business of the War Department, has been directed, as representative of the War Department, to attend meetings of the Council during his stay abroad.

[Page 600]

It is understood, of course, that the functions of the Council are purely advisory, and that all questions affecting the allocation of materials and manufacturing facilities of the United States, or the modification of its munitions program, must be referred to Washington for action. Just as the British Minister of Munitions has pointed out that he cannot place in the hands of such a body the “right to overrule him on questions for example of quantity of British steel to be devoted either to merchant vessel or men-of-war construction,” just so the United States Government is unable to delegate similar power. However, full discussion of matters relating to munitions cannot but be of advantage to all concerned, and the Secretary of War is glad to avail himself of the opportunity of participating in these discussions and thereby of obtaining the benefit of the experience of the Allied Governments.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, on the same date, to the French and Italian Ambassadors.