Paris Peace Conf. 184/79a

Dr. A. A. Young to the Director of the Central Bureau of Planning and Statistics ( Gay )

My Dear Gay: Major Dulles and his group arrived some days ago. They will be invaluable, I am sure, in the important work which has to be done here. We have had some friendly discussion with Dulles and the others respecting the precise way in which the group could best fit into the organization of the Peace Conference. I am sure that the solution which has been reached is one which you will approve. Since I last talked with you in Washington the general organization of the American delegation to the Peace Conference has been altered in two ways:

Messrs. Hoover, Hurley, Baruch, McCormick and Davis, who under the original plans would have been members of the peace organization as “technical advisors”, are to form a separate organization dealing with current business in the food, raw materials, shipping and financial situation and, through liaison arrangement, advising the Peace Commission on these matters.
At the instance of the American commissioners, the Inquiry has absorbed the whole research and intelligence organization of the Peace Commission organization proper; that is, whatever specialists on territorial, economic, and political problems have been sent to Paris by the Department of State or by the Army have been assigned to the Inquiry and distributed in to the different parts of its organization. This means that the Inquiry is now the general division of economic, political, and territorial intelligence of the Peace Commission organization. I am in charge of the Central Economics Section of this Division. Aside from the Inquiry, as enlarged, the Peace Commission organization includes only the commissioners and their personal aides, the advisors on international law and on military and naval problems, the secretariat and the general executive organization.

Under these conditions there were only two alternatives with respect to the disposition of your group:

They could have maintained their separate identity and could have been directly attached to the other council composed of the heads of the War Boards and the representative of the Treasury.
They could be absorbed in the Central Economic Office under my direction.

This situation was explained very frankly to Major Dulles and to Messrs. Leith and Tower. Their decision was that their work would be more effective if they were absorbed into the organization of the Peace Commission proper.

It has been arranged, accordingly, that Major Dulles will remain closely attached to McCormick and the other War Board heads, familiarizing himself with their problems, ascertaining their needs, and advising them with respect to sources of information. The other men become members of the organization of the Peace Commission and as such become members of my central office. Wolman and Cumberland will work directly as members of this organization. Tower and Leith, I hope, will have an office so located that they can easily maintain the necessary contact with the heads of the War Boards.

The whole group, however, will operate as a unit. All important problems will be discussed in conference in such a way that there can be joint and mutual determination of the best way of handling them, whether by special assignment here or by securing the information from you or from organizations on this side.

I expect that many of the larger problems will have to be referred to Washington and that, particularly, there will be very frequent cable requests for specific information.

I trust that you will agree with me that this is a better outcome than would have resulted from installing your group as a separate and distinct staff outside of the Peace Commission. There are some problems, such as those relating to shipping, trade, and raw materials, with which your group is best equipped to deal. There are other problems, especially those bearing upon territorial adjustments upon which the Inquiry has more material.

It would be highly unfortunate if it should happen that the particular problem was assigned to the wrong group of men. The present arrangement makes that impossible. Furthermore, the present arrangement has, I believe, the unanimous approval of your group here. As the thing is worked out there seems to be better chance than I had ever thought possible of accomplishing that general co-ordination and centralization in which you and I have been mutually interested.

Sincerely yours,

[File copy not signed]
[Page 487]

Memorandum by the Secretary of State 2

No plan of work has been prepared. Unless something is done we will be here for many weeks, possibly for months. After the President’s remarks the other day about a draft-treaty no one except the President would think of preparing a plan. He must do it himself, and he is not doing it. He has not even given us a list of subjects to be considered and of course has made no division of our labors.

If the President does not take up this matter of organization and systematically apportion the subjects between us, we may possibly have no peace before June. This would be preposterous because with proper order and division of questions we ought to have a treaty signed by April first.

I feel as if we, the Commissioners, were like a lot of skilled workmen who are ordered to build a house. We have the materials and tools, but there are no plans and specifications and no master-workman in charge of the construction. We putter around in an aimless sort of way and get nowhere.

With all his natural capacity the President seems to lack the faculty of employing team-work and of adopting a system to utilize the brains of other men. It is a decided defect in an executive. He would not make a good head of a governmental department. The result is, so far as our Commission is concerned, a state of confusion and uncertainty with a definite loss and delay through effort being undirected.

  1. Reprinted from Robert Lansing, The Peace Negotiations: A Personal Narrative (Boston and New York, Houghton Miffin Company, 1921), p. 201.