Chapter XV: 
The ASF and the WPB: The Control of Production
 From the very beginning of the defense effort in the summer of 1940, the Army and the Navy were asked time and again to lay out in advance a fairly detailed program of production goals for military equipment and supplies. This was attempted with varying results insofar as degree of detail was concerned. Comprehensive procurement planning involved two major difficulties for the Army's supply arms and services. In the first place, there were no well-developed procedures or basic data for translating general military plans into specific quantities of weapons. In the second place, strategic plans, together with lend-lease needs, were constantly changing so that production goals determined at any one time were inadequate a month or two later.
In 1941 the Office of Production Management, with President Roosevelt's approval, began to develop tentative programs listing specific defense requirements. In the process it increased its pressure on the armed forces to prepare better information on production goals by time periods. It also urged the services to set higher goals so that all possible contingencies might be covered. Immediately after the 1942 fiscal year appropriations for the War Department had been passed on 30 June 1941, the President gave instructions for the OPM and the War Department to prepare a requirements program calculated to defeat the enemy in case the United States was attacked. On the basis of a joint Board (Army-Navy) estimate of military objectives, the War Department revised its manpower program, and this in turn increased the requirements for various kinds of equipment. The War Department General Staff also enlarged the contemplated reserve of critical weapons, especially tanks and guns. This program was known as the Victory Program.1
When General Somervell took office as assistant chief of staff, G-4, WDGS, he immediately became interested in improving Army procurement planning. The goal was an Army Supply Program which would set forth desired quantities for some 1,000 major items; requirements for such classes of supplies as food stuffs would be estimated in dollar volume. No such Army supply program existed before he took over as G-4 in December 1941, although preparatory steps had been taken. The first section of the Army Supply Program setting forth procurement goals for ground equipment for the calendar years 1942,

1943, and the first six months of 1944, appeared in April 1942, just a month after the ASF was created. In July 1942 the Army Supply Program became the official authorization enabling the technical services of the ASF to purchase the quantities of items set forth in the program. In addition, the Army Supply Program became a primary document in determining the budget needs of the Army.2
On Christmas Eve, 1941, Mr. Stacy May of the WPB urged General Somervell to raise Army requirements. Two months later, in February 1942, when a tentative supply program was calculated, the Supply Division of the War Department General Staff recognized that the quantities desired were too large for reasonable expectation. It had tentatively projected production goals totaling sixty-three billion dollars for ground equipment through the end of 1943. When the estimates for the Army Supply Program were completed in April 1942, the goal was reduced to about forty-three billion dollars. Another revision in May brought the procurement objective in ground equipment through December 1943 down to thirty-eight billion dollars. 3
While Mr. Eberstadt was proposing a revised priorities directive, Mr. Stacy May as chief statistician of the WPB suggested that the procurement goals of the armed forces had become too large-in fact, larger than could be produced, by the American economy. Whether true or not, the argument was not fully explored at the time. During the summer the planning committee of the War Production Board gave particular attention to the problem of the "feasibility" of military production goals. Instead of pushing the Army to adopt requirements large enough to provide a cushion for any contingency, as May had done in December 1941, the prime consideration of the WPB had now become the limiting of the ASF to "feasible" requirements. This concept of "feasibility" was a new approach to production goals: It ran contrary to the widely accepted notion of setting high goals as incentives-"something to shoot for." Under prewar conditions of ample raw materials, manpower, and plant facilities, a doctrine of "feasibility" would have been unthinkable. Many practical men both in and out of the Army believed that even under war conditions "feasibility" was simply a high sounding theory.
The proponents of the "feasibility" concept argued that over ambitious procurement programs would -result in great waste. For example, if a manufacturer was able almost to finish 100,000 trucks but could not get tires, carburetors, or other components, because higher-priority aircraft producers had obtained all these items, the almost finished but still useless trucks would be a wasteful drain on our economic resources. In the same way, industrial facilities might be constructed, but because of the scarcity of machine tools or raw materials they might never get into production. 
Procurement demands in excess of production capacity would result in unbalanced output, confusion, and chaos.
The War Production Board's method of measuring feasibility was based upon two different approaches. One was to calculate the supply and demand of certain limiting factors such as a particular raw material like copper, available industrial facilities, or labor force. A shortage in supply of any of these would cause the whole production effort to bog down. The second method

was that of employing a statistical technique based upon the concept of the potential gross national product. The economists and statisticians of the WPB planning committee began to estimate the production potential of America's industry by studying both single, basic, limiting factors and the potential gross national product. They had to consider not only military requirements but also those goods required to sustain the American economy.
A determination of feasible military procurement depended also upon how goods were to be divided between military and civilian demands. It was generally assumed that the smaller the share the civilian population received, the larger would be the share of the military. Yet this was an involved issue fraught with political, social, and economic considerations. For example, one of the many complicated questions to consider was just how far civilian transportation or housing or food supplies might be cut before over-all production would suffer. At the beginning of 1942 war supplies consumed about 27 percent of the national output. Many economists believed that not more than 45 to 50 percent of the total production could be devoted to war purposes.
In July 1942 the WPB planning committee estimated that war production objectives for the calendar year of 1942 would total fifty-five billion dollars, while on the basis of past production rates and reasonably expected increases, military production would in fact be only forty-five to forty-seven billion dollars. This would leave a deficit of eight to ten billion dollars. Similarly, in 1943 military requirements totaled 87.4 billion dollars; (soon raised to 92 billion dollars) against "feasibility" estimates of 75 to 80 billion dollars.
To the accumulated deficit of 1942 and 1943, non-munition expenditures for food and military pay would have to be added. To cover all these items, total war expenditures for 1943 would have to reach about 115 billion dollars, or 75 percent of the estimated gross national product.4
On 8 August 1942 Mr. Nelson informed the members of the AN MB that he was convinced that the total military procurement objectives for 1942 and 1943 were beyond attainment. He did no more, however, than express a hope for downward adjustment. On 8 September 1942, at the suggestion of Nelson, Mr. Robert R. Nathan, chairman of the WPB planning committee, sent a memorandum to Vice Adm. Samuel M. Robinson, Mr. Harry Hopkins, and General Somervell, asking them to review the latest analysis prepared by the committee's chief statistician, Mr. Simon Kuznets. The analysis was a long and detailed document setting forth the figures which have already been mentioned and pointing out that production goals substantially exceeded production capacities. But the WPB memorandum did not confine itself to recommending "a more feasible set of production goals." It also recommended a more careful system of production scheduling.
The document declared that with proper production scheduling and control the production program could proceed in balance. In a balanced program, where one part of the production effort did not absorb more than its share of resources at the expense of another, excessive production goals would not be harmful and might in fact prove a stimulus to greater production. But in the absence of adequate machinery for scheduling produc-

tion, it was important to set feasible limits to military output.
To General Somervell, however, the Kuznets' recommendation that was most objectionable had little to do with production scheduling or "feasibility." This was a proposal for relating war production objectives, strategic factors, and social policy considerations through a "supreme war production council." This "supreme" council was to be made up of individuals responsible for military strategy, production strategy, and social or political strategy. The report implied that in dealing with Somervell, the WPB was not receiving adequate guidance or broad strategic factors affecting military procurement.
General Somervell personally wrote out a sharp reply in longhand. It was typed and dispatched on 12 September with a carbon copy for Mr. Nelson. In his memorandum Somervell mentioned that Mr. Kuznets admitted that his data might be "unreliable." He expressed the opinion that procurement goals 10 to 20 percent higher than "feasibility" estimates scarcely seemed large enough to justify any wholesale change in production goals. He noted that only a few months before, WPB statisticians had been urging "this office" to increase military requirements. As for the proposed "supreme war production council," Somervell characterized the whole plan as "an inchoate mass of words." He added that in determining military and production strategy he much preferred the decisions of the President, Mr. Nelson, and existing military personnel to some board of "economists and statisticians." General Somervell ended up with an often quoted sentence: "I am not impressed with either the character or basis of the judgments expressed in the report and recommend that they be carefully hidden from the eyes of thoughtful men."5
Mr. Kuznets was an eminent statistician, recognized in his profession as an authority on national income figures. He had confidence in his economic analysis. With Kuznets' assistance Nathan drafted and dispatched an answer marked by such phrases as "I hesitate to take your memorandum seriously"; there is no reason "for now adopting an ostrich-like attitude"; and your conclusion "that these judgments be carefully hidden from the eyes of all thoughtful men is a non-sequitur." The Nathan letter went on: "I am obliged to be frank with you in expressing my disappointment in your reply. The problems discussed are important and their intelligent consideration is urgent." Nathan decried the fact that Somervell overlooked the basic findings of the report "in favor of minutiae" and urged that the main problem was the aggressive mobilizing of national resources for war.
Two issues had become badly confused in the exchange of correspondence between Mr. Nathan and General Somervell. First of all, there was the question of total military production which might reasonably be expected in 1942 and 1943. General Somervell was certainly not prepared to maintain that "unreal" procurement goals should be set up by the armed forces. For the most part, however, the ASF and others had been thinking in terms of physical limits to military production such as available industrial plants, labor supply, and raw materials. An analysis which attempted to summarize all of these limits in terms of the dollar as a common denominator was a new ap-

proach. Somervell feared that the whole technique of such analysis contained sufficient possibility of error to result in an unnecessary cut in production goals.
But along with the problem of determining military production feasibility the Kuznets document had raised the issue of machinery for relating strategy and production. True, General Somervell had raised this very issue himself in May 1942. Then he had been rebuffed by Mr. Nelson largely on the advice of the same persons who were now pressing for somewhat different machinery to accomplish the same purpose. But since May, Somervell had changed his mind. In any event it was this question of top administrative machinery in the Nathan correspondence rather than that of economic analysis which angered him.
The "feasibility" issue came to a head at the meeting of the War Production Board on 6 October. Prior to this meeting Mr. Nathan sought out key individuals to support his position. He spoke to Mr. Leon Henderson, and obtained an interview with Mr. Harry Hopkins and Mr. Isador Lubin who usually represented Hopkins in these matters. For an hour the three men had sat on the back porch of the White House while Nathan argued his case. In the meantime Somervell gained the support of Under Secretary Patterson and Vice Admiral Robinson. Most important of all, he came to the meeting with a letter from General Marshall to Mr. Nelson. General Marshall noted that "effective and elaborate machinery has been established for the guidance of the strategic efforts of the combined armed forces. I do not believe that a joint committee consisting of an economist, a politician, and a person familiar with strategy but not with production, could be an effective means of controlling the war effort." General Marshall also designated Somervell as the "representative of the War Department for the interpretation of strategy to the War Production Board."
The arguments at the meeting ranged over a wide variety of issues related to the "feasibility" question. In spite of the attack on excessive military requirements, it did not seem likely that the armed services would consent to lower goals. Then Leon Henderson, the OPA administrator, entered the argument. Henderson, when aroused, was a fighter. Beginning in a low voice he commented that the ninety billion dollar military program was greater than the value of our entire national output in several prewar years. Then he remarked that if the country couldn't wage war on ninety billions, maybe "we ought to get rid of our present joint Chiefs, and find some who can." He then made a violent personal attack on Somervell whom he charged with padding and inflating his requirements regardless of the disastrous consequences. He expressed himself as disgusted with Somervell's ignorance of production problems, his overbearing manner, and his obstinacy. When a listener attempted the role of peacemaker by remarking that after all, Somervell did not make the strategy, Henderson referred to Marshall's instructions and sarcastically asked, "Ain't he got a letter." 6 The meeting adjourned without any decision.
The day after the meeting Under Secretary Patterson told General Somervell that at the next session the War Production Board would probably recommend a military production objective for 1943 to-

taling some eighty to eighty-five billion dollars and added his belief that "production objectives ought not to be far in front of estimated maximum production." He then expressed the further thought that if the Army and Navy programs were to be reduced to the limits set by the WPB, such a decision should be made by the joint Chiefs of Staff with the approval of the President. The reduction would have to be "governed by consideration of military strategy." Patterson ended by expressing his desire to discuss the whole matter at greater length with both Generals Somervell and Clay.7 In private discussions the Under Secretary stressed his desire to settle the issue amicably.
The next meeting of the WPB took place on 13 October 1942. The meeting of the previous week had been unusually large as the contestants had rallied their supporters for the fight. It was a good omen for peace that, instead of forty participants, only a dozen people were present at the second meeting. Mr. Nelson opened the session by referring to the previous discussion and by stating his belief that the present program for 1943 was impracticable. He indicated that he was not certain whether the "maximum feasible level of munitions production and war construction" was seventy-five or eighty-five billion dollars. But he felt that the total was probably somewhere between the two figures. Mr. Leon Henderson expressed his general agreement, as did Isador Lubin, sitting at the board meeting for Mr. Hopkins. Somervell then expressed agreement with most of the discussion, although he stated that he was more optimistic than the others about the management and control of the production program. He suggested that Nelson should inform the joint Chiefs of Staff that the existing military production programs for 1943 were too large to .be attained within the established time limits. It would then be the responsibility of the JCS to determine the necessary action "to bring the over-all program within the limits of production feasibility."8
This simple solution was immediately accepted by the WPB as official policy. The controversy, according to WPB historians, was stopped "practically in mid-stride." 9 Members of the WPB planning committee looked upon the result as a great victory. Actually, each side won the point that it considered most important. The War Production Board wanted production goals for 1943 reduced to what it called "feasible" objectives, and as a byproduct had recommended a production strategy board. Somervell, on the other hand, was more optimistic about what was feasible, but he did not object to some reduction of procurement goals. He was strongly opposed to the "grand super super board." The controversy ended with both sides satisfied when Somervell accepted a limit to production goals and the WPB dropped the organizational proposal.
On 19 October 1942 Mr. Nelson addressed a memorandum to the joint Chiefs of Staff in which he pointed out that military requirements in the calendar year 1943 for munitions, facilities, and war construction then totaled ninety-two billion dollars. With the carry-over of the incompleted portion of the 1942 program, the procurement goal would become ninety-seven billion dollars. This did not include subsistence, pay of the Army, and

other miscellaneous expenditures. On the basis of the best available evidence on available production facilities and the supply of raw materials and other critical resources, the WPB had concluded that the nation's total capacity to produce munitions, industrial facilities, and military construction could be set roughly at seventy-five billion dollars. 
The WPB believed, Mr. Nelson said, that unless steps were taken to bring military procurement requirements into line with this production capacity, important parts of the program would not be fully achieved and there would be general confusion and chaos in the entire production effort. The WPB felt that the most satisfactory way to adjust requirements to productive capacity was to extend the date of delivery for some parts of the program into 1944. At the same time, it held that full provision must be made for the "must" programs as established by the President.
Mr. Nelson added that the chairman of the Production Executive Committee of the WPB was being instructed to obtain from the procuring services a monthly schedule to meet the President's "must" programs, and to accomplish the remaining parts of the military production program in 1943 and such part of 1944 as would be necessary. He estimated that about 40 percent of the second part of this program would have to be scheduled for production in 1944. In deciding what part of the program could be extended into 1944 with least damage to the war effort he asked the guidance of the joint Chiefs of Staff: This he wished to have not later than 15 November. To aid the JCS in making a decision, Nelson enclosed two papers, one summarizing the war production objectives for 1943 in dollar terms, and the other summarizing the estimated requirements for carbon steel, alloy steel, copper, and aluminum. The "must" programs-aircraft, merchant shipbuilding, escort vessels, the USSR protocol, and raw materials plants-amounted to 48.8 billion dollars. The remaining programs for the Army Ground Forces, the Navy, lend-lease, military and war housing, and industrial facilities totaled 44.1 billion dollars. In both alloy steel and copper, estimated requirements exceeded total supply; the first by 7 percent and the second by nearly 24 percent.10
The reply, shaped in large part within the ASF, was delayed nine days beyond the stipulated date. It was given to WPB on 24 November 1942 by Admiral Leahy, acting in behalf of the joint Chiefs of Staff: He announced that the procurement goals for 1943 had been reduced from ninety-three billion dollars to eighty billion dollars. Leahy added that the JCS believed that the revised 1943 military program had to be met in substance if the war objectives for that year were to be accomplished. Accordingly, the JCS urged an all-out effort to supply the required production facilities and materials. In revising the war production objectives downward, the aircraft program was reduced from 37 billion dollars to a little over 33 billion, the lend-lease program was reduced from 7.8 billion to 5.9 billion dollars (excluding Russian aid), the AGF equipment program from 18.8 billion dollars to 14.8 billion dollars, the Navy program from 10.4 billion to 8.1 billion dollars, command construction (except industrial plants) from 5.5 billion to 4 billion dollars, and industrial facilities construction from 2 billion to 1.65 billion dollars. This brought

bout a reduction of nearly thirteen billion dollars in procurement goals.11
This story of the adjustment of military procurement requirements in the autumn of 1942 is particularly important for one reason: it illustrated necessary interrelationships between the WPB, the JCS, the War Department, and the ASF. This action had other significance as well. It is probable, for example, that the reduction in procurement goals for 1943 played a very substantial part in guaranteeing the successful operation of the Controlled Materials Plan. Organizationally, moreover, a solution to the problem of relating strategic planning to production goals had now been found. The WPB estimated the total productive capacity of the nation and then fixed what in its judgment constituted the total proportion of productive effort which might be devoted to direct procurement of military supply. The Joint Chiefs of Staff in turn adjusted military procurement programs within the general limits set by the WPB. Strategic decisions were accordingly modified to meet this new situation, an arrangement that functioned throughout the remainder of the war. Productive capacity and military procurement requirements were thus brought into a rough but workable balance.
Production Scheduling
At the time that the issue of feasible military procurement goals was reaching a crisis, a new storm was gathering. On 18 September 1942 Mr. Nelson had announced the appointment of Mr. Charles E. Wilson, president of the General Electric Company, as Production Vice-Chairman of the WPB. At the same time a Production Executive Committee was established with Mr. Wilson as chairman.
The various procurement agencies of the war program were represented on this committee, including the ASF, which was represented by General Somervell himself. The precise functions of the Production Executive Committee and of the Production Vice-Chairman were not immediately determined. In a letter written in October, Somervell indicated the kind of production problem to which he thought Mr. Wilson should turn his attention. Confirming a discussion arising at a meeting of the. Production Executive Committee, Somervell informed Wilson that there was an "urgent and immediate need" for one billion rounds of .30-caliber ammunition, but in order to achieve this output, the Ordnance Department would have to have nine thousand tons of copper in November and December each, and ten thousand tons in January. Would Mr. Wilson look into the possibility of increasing copper production sufficiently to achieve this 100 percent increase in ammunition objectives? 12
The Office of the Production Vice Chairman seemed disposed to a different concept of its functions and inclined to ride herd on the various military procurement agencies. Indication of this tendency was not long in coming. In the October Monthly Progress Report of the WPB, released in the third week of November, the Office of Progress Reports declared that recent increases in deliveries of munitions were disappointing. The report then went on to say that output had not increased commensurately with the availability of raw materials for Army use. This failure it ascribed entirely to faulty production

scheduling by the procurement services.13
 The change was apparently an opening shot in a new campaign to change the relationship of the WPB to the War Department. At a meeting of the Production Executive Committee on 11 November 1942, Mr. Wilson proposed that a director general of production scheduling be set up who would be responsible to him, and that each procurement agency establish its own scheduling unit. Representatives from scheduling units in the armed services would make up a Production Executive Committee Subcommittee on Scheduling, which would establish criteria for scheduling, review production schedules, and adjust schedules to fit available production facilities and competing requirements. Final authority would rest with Mr. Wilson. 14
The next day General Somervell, joined by Admiral Robinson of the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Davison of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, and General Echols of the AAF, sharply criticized these proposals. The suggested scheduling plan, their memorandum said, would be "impossible of execution" and was "in direct contravention of the agreements reached between the War Production Board, the Army, and the Navy." The proposed authority would enable the director general of production scheduling "to dictate whether we made cannons, tanks, airplanes, battleships, or other war mat6riel." Such powers, the military representatives declared, were outside the province of the WPB, and the Army and Navy "would be entirely unwilling to vest them in another agency." They asserted that "the decisions as to the priority in the manufacture of war materiel is closely allied to strategy and tactics and must be made by the joint Chiefs of Staff." The memorandum added that though the War and Navy Departments "must insist on the maintenance of the terms of the 12 March agreement.," the two departments would be willing "to review with WPB the progress on end-item scheduling." 15
Nevertheless, Nelson supported Mr. Wilson in his determination to go through with his production scheduling plans. On 21 November Under Secretary Patterson received copies of two draft orders which Nelson indicated he was prepared to issue. Mr. Patterson showed these at once to General Somervell. One glance was enough to tell the worst. The Under Secretary agreed that the armed services should oppose these orders.16
The first draft order of one page only, was entitled "Powers of Production Vice Chairman." Section 2 terminated "those provisions of the agreements with the War and Navy Departments . . . which delegate to the War Department or the Navy Department powers over production . . . ." Section 4 gave the Production Vice Chairman the responsibility for scheduling out "the entire war production program . . . with the maximum productive possibilities of our economy, in the best possible balance with the requirements of the services under the strategic plans of the Chiefs of Staff." The proposed WPB order did leave one loophole whereby the armed services might retain some power over production. It provided that the Production Vice-Chairman might delegate to various agencies "such portions of his production functions as he finds it will be most efficient for them to perform."

The second proposed order established the Office of the Production Vice-Chairman within the War Production Board and prescribed its functions in detail. Among the most important of these was the provision that the Production Vice Chairman should "direct the formulation of production schedules for all war material, including delivery dates by months, by procuring agencies of the United States Government." He would approve production and delivery schedules of the procuring agencies and would "co-ordinate production and delivery schedules for war materials to assure a balanced program correlated to strategic plans developed by the Chiefs of Staff."
These proposed orders indicated the full extent of WPB intentions. They meant that the 12 March 1942 agreement was to be terminated and that the WPB would now assert authority to fix military production schedules. To General Somervell this was a direct challenge which must be met head-on. He asked his assistant, General Clay, to prepare a critique of the orders. He himself intervened at the White House through Mr. Hopkins. Actually the ASF prepared three different papers. There was a rather thorough analysis by General Clay, a five-page condensation by Clay of his longer paper, and a still briefer summary which reflected General Somervell's own estimate of the situation. Copies of all these papers were given to Under Secretary Patterson, who brought the whole matter to the attention of Secretary of War Stimson.17
In these papers Generals Somervell and Clay argued that the WPB orders would abrogate the existing arrangements on production between the WPB and the armed forces, would usurp the powers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and would introduce procedures which violated "sound principles of organization and authority." They accused the WPB of failing to meet its responsibilities in several critical fields, and implied that the board was incompetent to handle the job it wished to assume. The WPB proposals, Somervell and Clay said, would create wasteful and divided authority, would interpose an agency which would interfere with the smooth flow of materials, and would destroy the full control that the Joint Chiefs of Staff ought to have over all phases of military supply. Finally, Somervell and Clay asserted that the 12 March agreement was "logical and workable" and recommended that Mr. Nelson be given "explicit instructions" not to issue any orders contrary to it.
At this point Nelson realized that he had a battle on his hands. Although he received an offer of assistance from the President, he expressed confidence that he could negotiate a settlement.18 By nature he was inclined toward conciliation, a trait that his friends interpreted as democratic. His opponents on the other hand viewed it as an indication of weakness as an administrator. In any event, President Roosevelt called Nelson, Secretary Stimson, and Secretary Knox together and instructed them "to compose their differences." On 26 November 1942, five days after the two draft orders had been circulated, Mr. Nelson addressed a conciliatory letter to Secretary Stimson. He began by

noting that the executive order creating the WPB gave him responsibility "in connection with procurement and production" and that he had appointed Mr. Wilson his deputy for production. He explained that he had asked Mr. Wilson to do two things: first, to supervise the aircraft program, the radio and radar program, and the escort vessel program in order to achieve the President's goals for 1943; second, to exercise "central control and general supervision," through the Production Executive Committee, over the scheduling of the various production programs of the services. Mr. Nelson insisted that it was not his responsibility to determine what the military services required for strategic purposes, and that he did not want to upset the duties and responsibilities of the production divisions of the services where the programs were going well. He wished only "to investigate and supervise" production programs to insure that they were proceeding satisfactorily and in accordance with the wishes of the chiefs of staff and the government's war program. He noted somewhat plaintively that he would like "the wholehearted cooperation of the armed services in fulfilling this responsibility." In turn he pledged WPB co-operation with the "one aim that we shall get the maximum production of which this country is capable.19
Mr. Nelson may have delivered his letter in person. In any event he called upon Secretary Stimson during the morning of 26 November to discuss the Army disagreement. There was no doubt that the letter provided a basis for agreement. Stimson asked Assistant Secretary McCloy and Under Secretary Patterson to participate in discussions with Mr. Nelson to clarify the whole problem. Nelson, in a second letter to Secretary Stimson, sent on the afternoon of 26 November, wrote that "the point at issue seems too essentially simple," and added that he was "disturbed and puzzled by the amount of confusion which seems to have grown up around it." He then explained the situation as he saw it. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were engaged in determining the program of munitions to be produced in 1943, "fixed with due regard to the practicable limits of production as indicated by the chairman of the War Production Board." In order to accomplish this large program, the WPB had to make sure that resources in materials, facilities, management, and labor were efficiently utilized. To do this, Nelson said, there must be a central control agency to prevent competition among the various procurement agencies of the government. This competition, Mr. Nelson declared, extended far beyond raw materials. It included rivalry for common components, such as generators, bearings, valves, compressors, blowers, and fractional horsepower motors as well as a struggle for control of facilities, labor, and management. Since competition became more intense as production requirements became larger, only "effective central direction and control," could stem the rivalry. "It seems to me," Mr. Nelson wrote, "to be my plain duty as chairman of the War Production Board to furnish this central direction and control. I do not see how it can be furnished by any other existing organization." He admitted that the scheduling of end-items of weapons and munitions was a responsibility of the procurement agencies but held that to insure that these schedules were adjusted to the "applicable limiting factors" there

must be some central review and control. This power he desired to vest in Mr. Wilson, guided by the Production Executive Committee. Nelson concluded by saying that "it is my considered opinion that unless such a step is taken, the war production program for 1943 will not be achieved." 20 Even more than .the first, this second letter of Mr. Nelson on 26 November indicated a desire for an adjustment of Army-WPB differences.
Secretary Stimson and his aides met Nelson and Wilson again on 27 November. They agreed to prepare a statement which would embody their latest understanding of WPB relations to the armed services. Under Secretary Patterson and Assistant Secretary McCloy then went to Nelson's office and prepared two drafts of a statement for mutual agreement.
On the same day that top Army-WPB officials were meeting, General Somervell requested a special meeting of the WPB so that the Army Service Forces could present its point of view on production scheduling for the information of WPB officials. At this meeting the Ordnance Department, which had the largest proportion of ASF procurement, explained the procedures used for production scheduling and forecasting. Maj. Gen. Levin H. Campbell, Jr., Chief of Ordnance, emphasized the constantly changing needs for end-items of war supply and with the aid of several assistants, related how the Ordnance Department had established industry integration committees bringing together the engineering talents and production skills of the producers of an individual item. Modifications in schedules were recommended to the Ordnance Department by these committees. These schedules had to be altered to meet changes in design, or tardy delivery of materials and components. This presentation demonstrated that the ASF was concerned with production scheduling, had devised procedures for it, and had made changes to fit available raw material supplies and other factors.21
The following day, on 28 November, Secretary Stimson sent Nelson a draft of the new Army-WPB understanding. He explained that this draft, while not substantially different from the one Mr. Nelson had presented to him, "accords most nearly with my own recollection of the course of our united discussions yesterday," and constituted a sort of "bill of rights for the practices of the services." The Secretary concluded by stating that this paper, with Mr. Nelson's two letters, should furnish a "workable understanding for the future" and meet the "President's directive to us to compose our former differences." He then enclosed a copy of his statement signed by Secretary of Navy Knox and promised that if' Mr. Wilson encountered any difficulty in accomplishing his objective, "We will all try to meet you again in the same spirit." 22
On 1 December at the next regular meeting of the War Production Board, General Clay presented a document entitled Production Progress and Scheduling. This paper protested that whatever shortcomings there might be in military production scheduling could be attributed to an inadequate supply of raw materials and to the absence of firm control over their distribution. For example, General Clay mentioned that the failure to forecast accurately the deliveries of medium

 tanks, as pointed out in the WPB report, was the result of the fact that the WPB had not allocated alloy steel with which to make tank treads.23 In other words, General Clay implied that failure in production scheduling was the fault not of the armed services but of the WPB.
The final solution to the production scheduling controversy preserved the essentials of the 12 March agreement. If Mr. Nelson had not permitted someone in WPB to draft or to circulate an order which categorically declared that the agreement was terminated, there never would have been such a controversy. But to declare the agreement ended and to assert that the WPB would "direct the formulation of production schedules for all war materials, including delivery dates by months," was simply asking for trouble .24
For the record it should be made clear that General Somervell and others in the ASF never at any time opposed WPB scheduling of component parts. The Controlled Materials Plan announced on 2 November 1942, set up a category of Class B products for which the WPB allocated materials directly. No one in ASF objected to that arrangement. What Somervell and his staff in ASF opposed was the WPB effort to terminate the 12 March agreement by unilateral action. They objected also to the WPB insistence upon fixing production schedules for end-items of military equipment. General Somervell felt- so strongly on both scores that, as has been noted, he went so far as to suggest that Mr. Baruch should replace Nelson in order to prevent the WPB from taking over Army functions.25 Only after Mr. Nelson's letters of 26 November, when the WPB chairman made clear that he was not trying to take over ASF procurement duties, was the way opened to settling the controversy.
It seems likely that Nelson at the outset didn't know what he wanted his Production Vice-Chairman to do. Mr. 
Wilson was probably invited to join the WPB as a counterweight to Mr. Eberstadt, whom many persons inside the WPB were reluctant to accept because of his previous vigorous championship of Army and Navy viewpoints. One group in WPB was always fearful that the Army would take over "control" of the economy, and constantly watched for opportunities to restrict the ASR Furthermore Nelson seems never to have appreciated how much importance General Somervell attached to the 12 March agreement, defining WPB War Department relationships, possibly because he was not particularly sensitive about organizational matters; Somervell was. Under such circumstances it was difficult for the two minds to meet.
Undoubtedly another factor making for complication was the very different relationship which existed between the WPB and the Army Air Forces. There was an elaborate array of joint committees and

boards which linked together the WPB, the AAF, and the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics in the production of aircraft. These included an Aircraft Production Board, an Aircraft Resources Control Office, and an Aircraft Scheduling Unit, the last located at Wright Field. Much of this machinery had been set up as early as the spring of 1941. Under existing arrangements, the AAF and the Navy practically turned production scheduling of aircraft over to WPB officials. In the light of this fact WPB could not see why the same procedures should not apply to the Army. But General Somervell was opposed to such an arrangement. He had an active division in ASF headquarters carefully watching production scheduling by the ASF procurement agencies-the technical services. If the WPB worked directly with these technical services, one reason for the existence of an ASF headquarters would have been removed. But more than this, ASF headquarters wished to be free to shift production schedules as changing overseas combat experience or plans demanded. If the WPB had to be consulted about and approve every shift, delays might result. Somervell was determined to keep supply closely intermeshed with procurement operations, for in that relationship he saw the primary contribution of the ASF to the war effort.
Unfortunately, the WPB-ASF controversy seeped down to the operating levels of both organizations and also became public. After the issues had been adjusted, the War Department, the Navy Department, and the War Production Board tried to pour oil on troubled waters by issuing a joint press release stating that the dispute from the first "had to do with method, never with purpose or principle. To win the war quickly, effectively, and with the lowest expenditures of life, is everybody's goal." Conversations among officials of the organizations involved had resolved all issues, the release declared, and the new arrangements assured "that the immense production task for 1943 will be carried through to a successful conclusion." 26 A separate statement by Mr. Nelson accompanied the joint release explaining more fully just what Mr. Wilson's duties would be. On 9 December 1942, the WPB issued a series of orders defining Wilson's duties. Then on 17 December, Under Secretary Patterson wrote to Mr. Nelson that it was the Army understanding that the WPB intended through its Production Executive Committee to establish feasible limits of the several military programs; to control the scheduling and allocation of common components; and to review scheduling methods and procedures in the procurement agencies.27 But it was the Army's distinct understanding that it alone would "be responsible for the establishment and adjustment of end-item schedules as it deems necessary to the war effort . . . ." These press releases, orders, and letters marked the official end of the controversy over production scheduling. No further difficulty on that score arose throughout the rest of the war.
The question of production control raised basic problems of relationship between the WPB and the ASF. The prob-

lem of feasible military procurement goals was partly one of substance-of economic policy-and partly one of organizational relations, of how to fix. total military procurement goals and of how to divide available productive resources among various military procurement programs. The issue of production scheduling had also raised questions as to who should have primary responsibility for fixing production schedules of end-items of military materiel.
In 1944 a different kind of controversy arose between the WPB and the ASE This time no organizational relationship as such was involved. The issue was entirely a matter of policy on which there was basic disagreement between the War Department and some civilian agencies on the one hand and certain groups within the WPB on the other. In the end, the Executive Office of the President had to intervene and settle the dispute. Here again, the entire controversy was argued not just on its merits but on ideological grounds. The War Department was accused once more of trying to "control the civilian economy." The conflict was also portrayed in the public press as a struggle between "big" and "little" business for postwar markets. The subject of this controversy was the timing of production reconversion from war to peacetime output.
Apparently, Mr. Nelson began to think about industrial reconversion early in 1943. In April of that year he asked Mr. Ernest Kanzler, a former WPB official, to prepare a report for him on reconversion problems.28 Kanzler reported in June. From then on there was a rising crescendo of interest in the subject. In October President Roosevelt asked the director of the Office of War Mobilization to appoint Mr. Bernard Baruch and Mr. John M. Hancock to study industrial demobilization.29 Three weeks later the Truman Committee issued its report entitled Outline of Problems of Conversion from War Production.30 Mr. Nelson announced that as manpower, facilities, and materials became available in a given area, and where there was no conflict with programs of a higher urgency, WPB would authorize the production of additional civilian goods.31
Under Secretary of War Patterson and General Somervell opposed this reconversion proposal. Both men were alike in their single-minded concentration on meeting Army procurement requirements. They doubted that the "coddling" of civilians by producing additional nonmilitary items could be accomplished without hurting military needs. Both believed that even if the industrial problems could be overcome, reconversion would create a peace psychology with an accompanying letdown in military production effort. They did not object to reconversion planning as such but they did to Nelson's timing and to the publicity given to his program.
The ASF believed that a large part of the evils of reconversion planning could be mitigated if the control of the operation were in suitable hands. Accordingly Somervell's director of mat6riel, General Clay, asked one of his assistants, J. A. Panuch, to prepare a recommendation that both cutbacks and reconversion be handled by the Production Executive Committee in WPB. In spite of the earlier dispute between ASF and WPB over the Production

Executive Committee and its powers, the armed forces by this time had a great deal of influence in the committee and worked very well with its chairman, Mr. Charles Wilson. In a sense, Wilson was now being pitted against Nelson, since he favored the Panuch plan. On the other hand Nelson hesitated to accept it, which was interpreted as fear that the plan would give the determination of reconversion policy to the military. Ultimately Nelson agreed to accept it and after long delay both cutbacks and reconversion were put under the jurisdiction of the Production Executive Committee.
Nelson's position was becoming increasingly difficult. By 1944 the status of the WPB had deteriorated and the "center of power" had shifted. Manpower had become the crucial problem, and control over this resource was vested in the War Manpower Commission, not the WPB. Moreover, the Office of War Mobilization, headed by former Justice James F. Byrnes, had been created .32 Byrnes was on the best of terms with representatives of the armed forces, but there was some doubt about his attitude toward Mr. Nelson. Mr. Byrnes in his new assignment not only had some powers which had formerly been assigned to Nelson, but also the authority to decide conflicts between WPB and other agencies. In short he, rather than Nelson, had become the top policy maker on war production issues.
Nelson faced a dilemma. On the one hand he was anxious to proceed with reconversion planning; on the other hand he had to obtain Mr. Byrnes' approval, overcome Army objections, and find an alternative to the proposals that would put authority into the hands of the Production Executive Committee. On 11 January 1944 he told the War Production Board that cutbacks in the production of military goods would create pockets of unemployment throughout the country. Reconversion he argued, ought to take up the slack in employment. To this Under Secretary Patterson immediately replied that any talk of reconversion before the European invasion was even launched was premature. He added that relaxation on the home front would damage morale on the military front. As a result of this discussion, the board put off proposals for immediate reconversion. 33
Interest in reconversion did not cool, however. On 15 February 1944 Baruch and Hancock issued their Report on War and Post- War Adjustment Policy; 34 a week later Mr. Byrnes ordered all war agencies to implement the recommendations of the report; 35 and at the beginning of March, the Truman Committee publicly championed Nelson's earlier announced program of gradual reconversion. 36 Then on 22 May 1944, the Navy suddenly announced a cutback of its fighter plane program and the cancellation of a contract with the Brewster Corporation which would result in closing its Long Island plant. Angry workers, with a good deal of public backing, threatened a "stay in" strike until they got work.37
These events spurred Mr. Nelson to action. A chief reason for his previous delay was that he still hesitated to place reconversion authority in the Production Executive Committee, which he felt had too many military members to handle an es-

sentially civilian problem. But no satisfactory substitute machinery had been developed, and since the pressure was great, Nelson surrendered. On 18 June he announced a program under the control of the Production Executive Committee which among other things made some raw materials immediately available for civilian production. 38
Nelson's announcement came just twelve days after the invasion of Europe had begun, which led the Army to protest its timing. Patterson wrote to Nelson that while he appreciated the desirability of reconversion planning, he was apprehensive of positive steps at a time when American troops were locked in mortal combat with the enemy. 
A few days later, the joint Chiefs of Staff publicly announced that it opposed immediate reconversion. On 4 July in a heavily attended meeting of the War Production Board, the question again came up for discussion. Nelson was not on hand, having been hospitalized with pneumonia. The opposition to reconversion was led by Mr. Patterson who pointed to the very serious "slippage" in war production and stated that if the trend continued, "the ability of our soldiers to pour it on in full measure to the Germans and the Japs is sure to be impaired." 39 On 8 July 1944 a letter of the joint Chiefs of Staff to Mr. Nelson was made public which stated that the "existing lag in war production . . . may necessitate revision in strategic plans which could prolong the war." 40
In the meantime General Somervell spear-headed a drive to increase war production. On 4 July he announced that munitions output was behind schedule and urged "stop delaying production .... Put off that fishing trip, it can come after the war is won." He told the Indiana Chamber of Commerce: "We must remember that our sons are fighting on a twenty-four hour shift in Normandy and there's no double pay for overtime, and no time out for their postwar planning either." 41
Mr. Nelson was incensed at what he believed were exaggerated and misleading statements. He complained to Mr. Byrnes about the actions of the services. At the same time, Under Secretary Patterson and Somervell were also pleading with Byrnes to help get a "sense of urgency" into the war effort. Again, they pointed to the disastrous psychological effect of immediate reconversion. In effect, Byrnes sided with the services when he gave the War Manpower Commission, whose outlook on reconversion was basically the same as that of the armed services, the authority to review all specific reconversion proposals.42
It is important also to note that the War Department was not alone in its opposition to Nelson's reconversion proposals. The staff of the WPB itself was divided. Mr. Wilson was only one of many board officials who were less than enthusiastic. He and many other leaders of industry who had patriotically left their private pursuits to serve within the War Production Board were deeply wounded and indescribably bitter at the smear attack which attributed their opposition to reconversion to fear that small business would get a head start on big business. The WMC was also opposed to an early resumption of peacetime production, even on a small scale. Again and again Chairman Paul McNutt had asserted that reconversion

would aggravate an already tight manpower situation.
In the face of all this opposition Nelson grimly determined to go through with his plans. He had a good deal of backing from labor, from small business, and from such a powerful Congressional body as the Truman Committee. He tried to soften the impact, however, by instituting his orders gradually. Three were issued between 15 July and 29 July.43 The fourth and most controversial, the "spot authorization order" provided that a WPB regional director could authorize, under certain circumstances, a small manufacturer to produce civilian goods. This order was put into effect on 15 August.44
The long simmering conflict had come to a boil. President Roosevelt was troubled by what had become a public brawl. Consequently, when Chiang Kai-shek requested him to send a personal representative to China, the President saw a possible solution to his problem in offering the assignment to Mr. Nelson. Nelson accepted. In spite of the charge that Nelson was being "exiled" and the statement by a Nelson intimate to Sterling Green of the Associated Press that "Nelson is being kicked right square in the groin," Nelson himself declared that he was going to China willingly because he felt he had an important mission to perform .45
Meanwhile, Mr. Wilson had grown more and more bitter over the charges that he represented big business. He believed that they were inspired by Nelson's personal staff and that Nelson had hesitated both in exonerating him and in curbing his opponents. At an eventful meeting on 24 August 1944, Nelson told the WPB staff about his coming trip to China. Trying to avoid an open break, he eulogized Wilson. But Wilson refused to be placated. He told the same meeting that with Nelson in China, every action he took would be held as a betrayal of his absent chief. Rather than be put in such a situation, he declared, he had sent his resignation to the President. Later, at a press conference Wilson savagely attacked Nelson and his policies. On the same day Mr. J. A. Krug, much to his own amazement, was asked by the President to become acting chairman of the War Production Board.46
Subsequently, Mr. Nelson described the conflict over reconversion as "the most severe fight between military and civilian elements which our government ever witnessed." 47 His statement completely over looked the opposition of Mr. Wilson and other civilian officials within his own agency, the opposition of the chairman and staff of the War Manpower Commission, and the intervention of Byrnes, who decided against the Nelson program. His statement also implied that Under Secretary Patterson had no mind of his own on the issue and was only a mouthpiece for men in uniform. Blind to all these facts, Mr. Nelson then proceeded to level such charges as these: (1) that the Army tried to protect war production "by the simple means of creating pools of unemployment" ;48 (2) that the military "mistrusted American management as well as American labor" and did not want them to think about reconversion; 49 and (3) that the armed forces "miscalculated" their military procurement needs in reducing some

schedules and then in increasing them later.50
The intemperance of these charges must provide their principal refutation. There need to be added but a few facts for the record. First, it is important to note that during the first seven months of 1944, military procurement deliveries steadily declined in volume. To help remedy this situation which was regarded 'as a matter of serious concern within the ASF, General Somervell in the summer of 1944 launched a vigorous campaign for increased war output.51 On 1 July 1944 the WMC announced the extension of its manpower priorities program to three hundred major production areas over the whole country. Labor shortages had become a serious obstacle to military procurement. Previously, Mr. Nelson had said that the military should determine its procurement needs. In 1944 he contended that those needs were unduly high and that complaints of shortages were "phony." He stated that he was prepared to maintain that the war could be won with fewer military supply deliveries than those previously approved and scheduled for delivery during the year but offered no basis for his belief, however.
Second, neither Under Secretary Patterson nor General Somervell at any time expressed opposition to WPB anal industrial planning for postwar reconversion to peacetime production. In its relations with its contractors, the ASF was actually encouraging just such planning during 1944 and especially in early 1945. What the Army representatives objected to was a program to start actual reconversion while the war was still on and when neither its outcome nor date of termination could be clearly forecast. They firmly believed that an active reconversion program would encourage management and labor to believe that the war was won, that military production was no longer important, and that it was time to scramble for a good competitive position in the postwar production of civilian goods. Patterson and Somervell were both convinced that to encourage attitudes like these, which they believed the Nelson order of 15 August 1944 did, would endanger the successful outcome of the war.
Third, the reconversion controversy, as already noted, was settled by Byrnes, a civilian. As director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion (OWMR), he exercised his authority in the name of the President. His position was one of arbitrator of home-front problems. The War Department was opposed to Nelson's reconversion orders, which was its privilege. It could not prevent the issuance of those orders; indeed, the orders were issued over the protest of War Department representatives, including Mr. Patterson. The War Department then in accord with established procedure appealed its case to the OWMR for decision. Byrnes indicated that he felt the Nelson orders were inadvisable at that time.52
On 30 September 1944 Mr. Nelson formally resigned the chairmanship of the War Production Board. In the meantime the military services continued to press

against "spot authorizations." On 19 November General Eisenhower stated that a lack of ammunition had delayed the capture of Aachen, and Somervell said that shells were in such short supply that they had to be flown to the front. On 23 November 1944 a "memorandum of agreement" was drawn up between Krug and Hiland G. Batcheller of WPB, and General Somervell and Mr. Howard Bruce, civilian successor to General Clay in the ASF in charge of production. The WPB agreed to permit no further relaxation of restrictions on civilian production for the time being and to expand civilian production in the future only after "full consideration" of any military objections.53 Finally on 1 December, the chairman of the WPB, the chairman of the WMC, Under Secretary of War Patterson, and Under Secretary of the Navy Forrestal agreed to suspend spot authorizations for reconversion in 103 areas where there were serious manpower shortages.54 Nelson's program had been all but abandoned.
At no time had Somervell been interested in opposing Nelson for personal reasons; to him reconversion was only a small part of the larger danger of complacency, of a slackening in military production. Even after the victory over the Nelson program, he continued his campaign to create a sense of urgency in war production. In Boston on 2 December 1944 he said that the war's end was being delayed because workers were deserting their jobs and in New York he told an audience that workers were worrying about their postwar futures when the postwar future of many of our soldiers would be under six feet of German sod.55 Such talk naturally aroused a good deal of resentment among business and labor people. They did not dispute the need for greater production but held that the Army itself was responsible for shortages when it miscalculated requirements and when it ordered cutbacks. By castigating others, they said, the Army was trying to cover its own mistakes. Moreover, actual shortages at the front arose more from logistical difficulties than from production failures.56
Such opposition tended to make General Somervell more circumspect. When he appeared before a Congressional committee, he still pleaded the same urgency, but was much more careful than he had been in his public speeches. He pointed out that in spite of the shortage of manpower, no military campaign had yet suffered from shortages. "Our problem," he told the committee, "is to keep us from suffering from a lack of supplies." When Senator James M. Tunnell of Delaware remarked that on the Army Radio Hour he "heard one fellow make the statement that they fired two shots where they could have fired five because of the shortage of ammunition," General Somervell explained, "That's because of the difficulties of getting. ammunition from the ships to the gun and not because of any failure of production yet . . . ." 57
Though Somervell was more careful in his remarks he did not become less forceful. He waged his war against complacency as vigorously as ever. On 6 December 1944 he carried his fight for an appreciation of the need for more war production to the National Association of

Manufacturers. He began his speech there with the words: "This is the most important speech I have ever made." He then said, "Make no mistake about our situation, they have supplies at the front right now. It's the future we must provide for." Greater weight of munitions, he emphasized, could shorten the war and save lives. "This nation," he said, "has committed its troops to fighting the war in one specific fashion-with an overwhelming superiority of material .... American industry and American workers must rededicate themselves, here and now, to an upsurge of production on the home front so that our forces on all fronts shall be limited in their use of materiel only by our ability to get it to them and by elbow room on the fighting fronts in which to use it." 58
The Germans in their counterattack in the Ardennes on 16 December 1944 provided emphasis for this speech. The Battle of the Bulge, creating the necessary sense of urgency on the home production front, completed the demise of the Nelson reconversion proposals. Early in December 1944 General Clay was transferred to become Mr. Byrnes' deputy in the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion. 59 It is probable that Clay was influential in drawing up the first report of that office under the Reconversion Act. This report placed part of the blame for production shortages on Nelson's "too early start toward reconversion." 60
Reconversion talk was not renewed until after the defeat of Germany had become almost certain. By that time Nelson's proposals had become only a small part of a much larger program. The battle was renewed on as fierce a scale as ever, and the charges of military dictatorship were again raised. Mr. Byrnes' own advisory committee blasted him for his surrender of home-front control to the Army, castigated General Clay and demanded his removal. Mr. Byrnes told them, "He's leaving." 61 But this time the end of the war in Europe was in sight. Somervell himself recommended to the Chief of Staff that Clay be transferred to the European Theater of Operations. The ASF was ready now to think more seriously than ever before about reconversion and neither Patterson nor Somervell wished to oppose a positive step looking toward actual reconversion to peacetime production.
Smaller War Plants
just as the Army and the WPB had to mesh their policies and operations in large-scale undertakings, so did they find it necessary to establish careful and satisfactory working relationships down to the smallest war plant. Public Law 603 of the 77th Congress, approved on 11 June 1942, provided for the chairman of the War Production Board to appoint a deputy specifically assigned to mobilizing the productive capacity of small business concerns. Under the terms of the act, the WPB chairman was to direct the attention of procurement officers of the government to the productive capacity of small plants and to take such action as would result in the granting of government contracts to small businesses. Here again it was left for administrative officers to develop working

relationships to effect the purpose of the law.
In August 1942 a Small War Plants Branch was established in ASF headquarters to promote as full a utilization of small plants as possible, consistent with quality, quantity, and speed requirements in the delivery of war supplies. A month before, officials of the ASF had begun a series of discussions with the Smaller War Plants Division of the WPB to determine the best methods for carrying out the act. An agreement in principle was reached within a short time, but it was not officially announced until October. The delay was caused by the absence of the chairman of the Smaller War Plants Corporation from the United States and the reluctance of any of his subordinates to give final approval.
On 30 October 1942 the commanding general of the ASF distributed a statement of policy on the use of smaller war plants to the seven technical services. This policy outlined the procedures which had been agreed upon in order to derive maximum benefit from the Smaller War Plants Division. A representative of the War Production Board was assigned to each technical service to work with an officer designated by the service. The two were to review the procurement requirements of the Army Supply Program and select products suitable for manufacture by plants recommended by the WPB. They would then ascertain the total quantities of products which might be provided by small plants and direct contracting officers to place definite orders. In addition, existing prime contracts were to be examined, with representatives of the WPB to determine the possible extent of additional subcontracting. 
Subcontracting of future contracts was also to be extended. The statement made clear that it was War Department
policy to place contracts with small businesses without the necessity of compulsory certification by the WPB or the actual making of procurement contracts by the Smaller War Plants Corporation. Representatives of the Smaller War Plants Division were also stationed in each of the district procurement offices of the technical services.
Preferential treatment for smaller concerns was provided for in a WPB directive issued on 10 October 1942. Under existing procurement directives a percentage of business was usually earmarked for small companies and forwarded for execution to buying offices in the field. In time, most of the screening took place entirely in the field rather than in Washington, thus avoiding the duplication of work. This program of decentralization was finally formalized on 24 April 1943 in an agreement signed by the Under Secretary of War and the chairman of the Smaller War Plants Corporation. By mid-summer of 1943 the Smaller War Plants Corporation representatives in field offices had familiarized themselves with Army procurement methods to such an extent that few discussions were necessary in Washington. The relationship of the two agencies in the matter of spreading contracts to small plants continued on a very friendly basis to the end of the war. 62
With the assistance of WPB officials, the ASF in the year of July 1944 to June 1945, awarded 25 percent of all contracts, measured in dollar value, to plants employing fewer than five hundred persons.63

The production quarrels between the ASF and the WPB provided a good deal of excitement. In large part the difficulties could be traced to the personalities of Mr. Nelson and General Somervell. In Somervell's eyes Nelson was vacillating, apparently unable to understand the Army's point of view on military procurement, and inclined to listen to certain groups within the WPB staff who seemed sincerely to believe that the Army was politically reactionary and must be kept in its place, war or no war. In Nelson's eyes, Somervell no doubt seemed to be a positive, inflexible, and even presumptuous individual, inclined to tell Nelson how to run his own job. That the difficulties were largely those of personality is supported in part by the fact that neither Somervell nor his associates had any similar clashes with Mr. Wilson or with other high officials in the WPB.
One factor which made these personal relationships even more troublesome was Nelson's unwillingness or inability to keep his associates from reporting every issue to the press, usually in a garbled form. On one occasion, on 13 September 1942, Somervell addressed a memorandum to key ASF personnel deploring the "continual airing in the public prints of the alleged controversy between the War Production Board and the War and Navy Departments." He added that "our personal relations with Mr. Nelson are of the best," and warned against statements that might be "construed as criticism of the WPB . . . ." Somervell ended with the remark that the "battle is being fought abroad and not in Washington" and that "Mr. Goebbels would pay millions of dollars to stir up dissension" among war agencies.64 One thing Somervell and his staff did not do was to run to newspapermen with their side of any occasional difference with the WPB. For that very reason the Army point of view was seldom understood by the outside observer.
In Somervell's eyes, moreover, the issues which arose were important, even vital, matters of procedure and policy, but he was not inclined to be personal about them. In fact a criticism which might justifiably have been leveled against Somervell was that he thought too infrequently in personal terms, that he was insensitive to the impression made upon others by his own drive and positive beliefs. Somervell never had an inclination to make his differences with Nelson a purely personal matter; after any conflict he was ready and willing to sit down with him the next day to try and iron out any issue. It was apparently difficult for Mr. Nelson to understand such an attitude. He was certain that Somervell's criticisms were personal. For this reason, after the "feasibility" dispute of October 1942, Somervell endeavored to remain in the background and leave all ASF relations with the WPB to Under Secretary Patterson and General Clay.
In summary, the record of these ASFWPB relationships seems to suggest first of all that the difficulties arose from fundamental differences between the personalities of Nelson and Somervell: A second factor was the absence of a clear-cut understanding of the respective roles of the military procurement agencies and the central economic control agency. From the ASF point of view it seemed clear that it was the WPB-or certain persons inside the WPB-who could not or would not understand the differences in the responsibility of each agency.

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