File No. 103.94/363
The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 1, 3.30 a.m.]
1514. For Baruch from Summers:
Churchill still working on nitrate situation and has advised you of developments. He is very anxious to have your support regarding a program for transporting guns and troops and has cabled you in detail. A special representative is leaving England for Washington carrying plans of this project.
Meeting past week of Inter-Allied Finance Council which I attended insisted that Transportation Council of Versailles consider total Allied railway program and not make inquiry piecemeal for engines, cars, and rails. French had submitted request for additional rails, locomotives and cars, shell steel and barbed wire. Italians had submitted request for rails, cars and locomotives. This was in addition to the Pershing program. I maintained these inquiries should be standardized and submitted to the Transportation Council so that some order of priority and the urgency of the demands could be determined. This action was taken by the Council.
The French Government have made very urgent representations in regard to the existing situation in France. The Germans in their retreat destroyed all railroads and the French insist that to support an advance they must greatly increase the railroad facilities and hold that America must supply these materials. Am leaving for Paris Thursday and will check over the details with Stettinius and Pershing’s representative. Made it very plain to Financial Council that America’s steel capacity was entirely allocated and that no increased programs could be met without depriving some essential program of steel. [Anderson] is sailing this week and will be able to give you information on the whole situation.