Paris Peace Conf. 184.02302/2

The Chief of Staff, American Expeditionary Forces ( McAndrews ), to the Chief of Engineers, A. E. F. ( Langfitt )

Subject: Report of General McKinstry, War Damages Board, dated December 30, 1918.

The report from General McKinstry calls for an organization, for equipment, and authority for the expenditure of funds of the A. E. F., the furnishing of which is absolutely beyond the bounds of possibility. There is no authority for the expenditure of funds of the A. E. F. for many of the purposes stated. For instance, employment of civilian engineers, clerks, etc., and the renting of the necessary buildings to do the work that pertains wholly to that of the Peace Commission. It would seem impossible to furnish anything like the vast number of officers called for; motor transportation called for; and the clerical force, etc., desired, without seriously crippling the efficiency of the A. E. F. Apparently General McKinstry has not carefully considered the limited means at the disposal of the A. E. F., especially for the performance of work that is really beyond its scope.
It is the intention of the C. in C. to in every possible way aid the Peace Commission in the evaluation of war damages in France [Page 619] and Belgium, but the aid given must be such as is possible by using existing facilities. General McKinstry must make use of agencies already existing rather than create a vast organization which must prove wasteful of the limited resources of the A. E. F. Commanding Generals of our Armies, of the S. O. S. and of other parts of the A. E. F. will be directed to place at General McKinstry’s disposal existing facilities in order that they may aid in the work desired without taking them from their present duties.
There are serious objections to the gathering together in Paris of the number of officers that General McKinstry suggests. Due to conditions, every effort has been made, and is being made by the Commanding General, S. O. S., and by the Commanding General, District of Paris, to reduce to the very minimum the number of American officers stationed in Paris. To add to that number 50 or 60, together with other personnel, cannot be approved, unless the very best of reasons are given as to the necessity for stationing all that personnel in Paris.

Your recommendations on this subject are desired.

James W. McAndrews