File No. 103.94/397
The Ambassador in France ( Sharp ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11.15 p.m.]
5021. To Baruch for Replogle 1 from Summers:
Your 5539.2 I have had a number of interviews with Stettinius regarding Munitions Council. He has taken the position that the Council will be of more importance to the Allied Purchasing and to the Program Committee than to the War Department and evidently is counting on withholding active participation of the War Department. Do not think this has been definitely settled as Secretary Baker only arrived yesterday and it is probable Stettinius will reach a decision with him. Asked Stettinius for statement of Army steel requirements and he replied unable to furnish as all programs made here will be reviewed by General Staff in Washington and it will be safest to have War Industries Board get the figures in Washington. He has cabled War Department regarding these. The representatives of France and England criticize the American requirements for shell steel and it may be possible that War Department do not care to attempt to meet criticism that may be made of their extensive programs or defend their estimates. Should War Department definitely decide to withdraw from Munitions Council, there will be no possibility of the Allies challenging their estimates and this may be reason for taking this action.
It is absolutely necessary that total steel requirements be assembled so that allocation can be made. We have notified the various Governments that there is a distinct shortage that will require scaling down of all programs. We are making progress in getting figures of English production and hope to get figures of French and Italian production. The French Government have now withdrawn their request for further quantities of barbed wire and state an error was made in the estimates. I personally feel these programs will have to be carefully scanned to see that nonessential industrial consumption is eliminated and we are constantly working on this. It is of the utmost importance that all Allied requirements be scanned and approved from here before allocation is made there.