Chapter XIII: 
The ASF and the WPB: Early Attempts To Define Responsibilities
The Army Service Forces during World War II never experienced budgetary stringencies. From 1 July 1940 through 31 December 1941, Congress appropriated some twenty-five billion dollars to the War Department for the procurement of war supplies other than aircraft. About three billion dollars had also been allotted for lend-lease purchases. Between 1 January and 30 June 1942, Congress appropriated another 23.5 billion dollars for military procurement by agencies of the newly announced Army Service Forces. Appropriations for the fiscal years 1943 and 1944 added another fifty billion dollars.1
But funds to purchase supplies were very different from the delivery of completed articles for Army use. In the whole calendar year 1941 the procurement agencies which later made up the Army Service Forces received actual deliveries of supplies amounting to 3.5 billion dollars. Of this amount, food stuffs were a major item .2 From 1 July 1940 through December 1941 the total production of American industry for Army and Navy use included merely 65 heavy guns, 4,705 light field and antitank guns, 6,787 tank guns and howitzers, 9,518 mortars, 87,172 machine guns, 4,203 tanks (almost all light), 7,833 scout cars, and 208,034 trucks.3 This was a start, but only a start toward the output of the tremendous quantities of military mat6riel required to win World War II.
Military procurement involved a whole complex of economic relationships-the necessary production plants, specialized machine tools and the "know-how" to make them effective, raw materials and component parts, adequate labor force, and on top of all these, a "civilian" (i. e., essential but not directly military) production adequate to support military output. Military procurement could not operate in a vacuum; it had to be part of a highly planned and highly organized total war production effort. As an agency of the War Department, therefore, the Army Service Forces was only one element of an intricate governmental machine for industrial mobilization.

This lesson had been taught in World War I 4 The need for general industrial preparedness had been acknowledged by Congress in amending the National Defense Act of 4 June 1920. Among the provisions of the legislation was Section 5a which said that the Assistant Secretary of War would supervise War Department procurement and should make "adequate provision for the mobilization of materiel and industrial organizations essential to wartime needs." 5 Upon the basis of this somewhat ambiguous language grew the industrial mobilization planning of the War Department from 1920 to 1940. The Navy Department was associated, in name at least, with this effort through the device of the Army and Navy Munitions Board.
The Industrial Mobilization Plan
Although it had borne the responsibility for industrial mobilization planning for the federal government between -the two wars, the War Department never had any doubts about the necessity for separate and distinct administrative machinery to direct industrial mobilization. The 1939 revision of the so-called Industrial Mobilization Plan was the last one prepared and published by the ANMB before World War II. 6 Actually, the document was a "plan" only in a limited sense. It was not a substantive program dealing with details of operations or with estimates of magnitude; rather it set forth a proposed organizational plan for agencies to be set up in order to accomplish industrial mobilization.
The Industrial Mobilization Plan briefly sketched the reasons for government control of industrial resources in wartime and outlined the broad elements involved in such control. The plan then presented positive organizational proposals. When war became imminent, the President, "under the authority accorded him by the Constitution and by the Congress," was to supervise industrial mobilization before serious economic problems developed. But the magnitude and emergency nature of the task required an "adequate organizational set-up to which this responsibility may be delegated. It is contemplated that such a set-up will be manned by quaked civilians chosen by the President. Appropriate representatives of the military services will advise and assist in the accomplishment of the task involved."7 The plan then gave suggestions for the internal organization and the responsibilities of a proposed War Resources Administration, together with brief statements about other needed emergency agencies, such as a War Finance Administration, a War Labor Administration, and a Price Control Authority.
There are three features of the Industrial Mobilization Plan which deserve particular notice. First, the plan contemplated a civilian agency to direct industrial mobilization as a whole. The plan specifically declared that in wartime the operation of the various emergency agencies would be undertaken by civilian administrators selected by the President.8 Second, the Army and Navy would continue to be

responsible for determining direct military supply requirements and for actually placing orders and expediting the production of war equipment. The plan recognized that in war, the "actual procurement of the munitions needed by the services" should continue to be performed by military officials. In the third place, the role of the War Resources Administration was one of "wartime industrial coordination": it was to adjust military requirements for productive resources with other essential needs. The extent and nature of the measures necessary to this task would be determined by the civilian agency.
Thus there was nothing in the prewar thinking of the War Department which suggested any belief that the Army or the Navy or the ANMB could or should "control the civilian economy." Indeed, in response to the criticism that industrial leaders themselves had played no part in creating the Industrial Mobilization Plan, the War Department in July 1939 set up a Committee of Review, composed of prominent business men, to make suggestions about industrial mobilization.9 The War Resources Board, established with President Roosevelt's approval on 9 August 1939, criticized the centralization of economic controls in a proposed War Resources Administration and suggested that the seven agencies contemplated by the plan function directly under the President. But the board said nothing to indicate that the Army and Navy should not be responsible for the procurement of end items of military equipment.
Industrial Preparation for War
From the time that President Roosevelt set up the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense (NDAC) on 28 May 1940 until the creation of the War Production Board on 7 January 1942, a number of different agencies and a variety of methods were employed by the federal government to mobilize the industrial resources of the nation.10 Two general aspects of this development are pertinent here. At first the central civilian agency gave most of its attention to assisting the armed forces in expanding their organization and in improving their procedures for large-scale procurement. This phase had practically been completed at the time of Pearl Harbor. Thereafter, the principal task was to control the use of the nation's productive resources for military output and essential civilian needs. This was increasingly necessary after Pearl Harbor.
When the NDAC began to operate, the procurement bureaus of the War Department were just beginning to recover from twenty years of limited personnel and meager operations. Under the circumstances the Advisory Commission saw as its first task the job of helping the armed forces, both in finding the necessary productive facilities and in letting contracts for the rapidly increasing volume of desired supplies. This assistance was provided mainly through two units, a Purchases Division and a Production Division, as they were identified in the Office of Production Management after January 1941. The Purchases Division helped the Office of The Quartermaster General in the purchase of food stuffs, clothing, and general Army supplies (including trucks). Mr. Douglas C. MacKeachie of this division was instrumental in persuading The Quartermaster General to set up regional market centers for the purchase of produce to be supplied Army posts and air

bases. This system was retained throughout the war and proved highly satisfactory. The Production Division worked closely with the Office of the Chief of Ordnance in finding contractors for tanks, guns, and ammunition. During 1941 when the OPM took over the Social Security Building for its work, the Chief of Ordnance moved his Washington office into the building in order to work even more closely with OPM. At this early stage there was little for a civilian agency to do in "controlling" the economy since there were great unused resources in materials, manpower, and facilities to be absorbed by the defense effort.
A priorities system on a very simple basis was begun as early as August 1940. The Army and Navy agreed on the preferences to be assigned some two hundred primary items of equipment, and priorities were accordingly assigned by military procurement offices. While the NDAC gave its consent to the arrangement, the operation remained entirely in the hands of Army and Navy purchasing officials. Then in October 1940, the President officially created a Priorities Board, and a further extension of preference ratings to military procurement items was arranged in December.11
While there were occasional disagreements over priorities between the OPM and Army and Navy officials, the pattern begun in 1940 was retained throughout 1941. Army and Navy purchasing officers assigned preference ratings to their procurement contracts according to a scheme jointly worked out through the Army and Navy Munitions Board and approved by OPM. These preference ratings might be handed to a first subcontractor by the prime contractor, and to all subcontractors for military items placed on a "critical list." The official history of the War Production Board comments that "the inadequacy of the OPM staff, and its complete lack of a field organization, were he primary reasons why so much of t priorities power was thus surrendered t the Armed
Services." 12
During the second half of 1941 the Ordnance Department b an to take over from OPM the person 1 who had been helping to find product' n facilities and to let contracts. By the tire the Army Service Forces was created this process of absorption was practically completed. This change, described as "one of the significant developments of 1941," has been lamented in the official history of the WPB. "These transfers marked the end of any effective civilian influence over the production or scheduling of direct military items or components." 13
In the second half of 1941 there was a policy conflict within the government over the curtailment of civilian production of items consuming large quantities of metals, such as automobiles and refrigerators. Indeed, the basic issues confronting OPM just before Pearl Harbor were how far to curtail civilian production and consumption, how fast to convert from industrial to war output, and how most effectively to exercise central control over the distribution of basic metals production. The armed services contributed to, but certainly did not dominate, these discussions.
According to the official history of the War Production Board, three basic developments in military procurement and industrial mobilization had taken place by the time of Pearl Harbor. First, the armed forces continued to let contracts for all

end-items of military equipment. Their procurement officers issued preference ratings to their own contractors to help them obtain necessary raw materials and component parts. Second, civilian-managed agencies reporting directly to the President had been created. At first these agencies had worked with the military procurement agencies to improve purchasing operations, but gradually the OPM became more and more of a central control agency, directing the utilization of national productive resources. Third, close relationships .between military procurement agencies and the central control agency became increasingly essential. Naturally, Army and Navy officers asked for a voice in formulating economic mobilization policy. But the Office of Production Management had begun to object on the ground that this would give the military too much power over predominantly civilian interests. 14
On the other hand, civilian leaders never questioned the advisability of having the military direct its own procurement activities. Mr. Bernard Baruch, who headed the War Industries Board in World War I, advised that a civilian agency should never sign Army contracts. Mr. Donald M. Nelson, Baruch's counterpart in World War II, noted: "This advice sank into and anchored itself into my mind, and I never deviated from it." 15
The Creation of the WPB
A month after Pearl Harbor the President created a new general policy body, the War Production Board. In contrast to its predecessors the Supply Priorities and Allocation Board (SPAB)16 and the Office of Production Management 17 which lacked the authority to meet the rising emergency the new board had wide, though somewhat ill-defined, powers.18
In addition to absorbing the authority vested in OPM and SPAB, the War Production Board was to "exercise general direction" over wartime procurement and production. Specifically, this included the power to determine basic policies, plans, procedures, and methods for guiding federal agencies in the matter of purchasing, contracting, specifications, construction, conversion, requisitioning, and plant expansion. The chairman of the WPB would issue whatever directives were necessary; he would report from time to time to the President; and, of course, he would perform any other duties that the President desired. Moreover, federal departments and agencies were to comply with the policies and procedures on war procurement and production as determined by the WPB chairman, as well as to provide him with necessary information. The chairman was to exercise his powers through such officials or agencies as he might determine, and his decisions were to be final. As chairman, President Roosevelt appointed Mr. Donald M. Nelson.
The authority conferred upon the chairman of the War Production Board was broad indeed. But it was also vague. What constituted "general direction" over war procurement? Did the authority "to determine policies, plans, procedures, and methods" of federal departments and agencies purchasing war supplies imply the power to transfer procurement activities from one agency to another-specifically from the Army to the WPB?

Mr. Nelson later recorded that at one time he did consider the possibility of transferring all military procurement to the WPB. It was his belief that the President would have approved and supported such a decision on his part. But after thinking the problem through, he "decided against such action in the interest of more rapid production." He added that "if I had the same decision to make over again I would do exactly the same thing."19 Mr. Nelson gave several reasons for his decision: the time needed to build a new organization, the recollection of Mr. Baruch's advice against a civilian agency signing munitions contracts, the disruption of the military services if procurement officers were all transferred to a civilian agency, the confusion that might result over specifications and inspection responsibilities, and the legal obstacles including appropriation practices.20
Whatever Nelson's reasons for not taking this step, one may entertain at least a grave doubt that the authority conferred upon the chairman of the WPB conveyed the power to transfer procurement operations away from the Army and Navy. By long-standing legislation the purchase of military equipment had been vested in various parts of the War and Navy Departments. Under the First War Powers Act of 1941, the President might have transferred this authority to another agency, but he did not actually do so in Executive Order 9024. While the language of the order was very broad, it seems unlikely that the President was delegating to Mr. Nelson his statutory authority to determine needed wartime administrative organization. The understanding which had begun to develop between the procurement offices of the Army and OPM during 1941 suggested a workable relationship. The language the executive order seemed to say on that the WPB was still to be a central agency with general authority over industrial mobilization as a whole, rat r than the actual procurement agency for all war supplies.
The Army-WPB Agreement
Nonetheless, the meaning of Executive Order 9024, and r. Nelson's intent there under, became immediate and vital concerns to the War Department. Before 9 March 1942 the Office of the Under Secretary of War was responsible for War Department relations with the War Production Board. The Army half of the ANMB was a part of the Under Secretary's office. Moreover, General Somervell as G-4 had taken steps in January 1942 to build closer working relations with Mr. Nelson. The informal group working on supply reorganization of the War Department requested Mr. Nelson to assign someone to participate in this activity. Both Mr. A. C. C. Hill, Jr., and Mr. E. A. Locke, Jr., personal assistants to Mr. Nelson, sat with the group in February. Mr. Nelson, it will be recalled, was consulted about the pending reorganization of the War Department, and in fact had expressed the opinion that General Somervell would be a good man to command the new Army Service Forces.21
On 12 March 1942, just three days after the ASF came into being, Under Secretary Patterson and Mr. Nelson signed a joint agreement defining the respective functions of the War Department and the WPB in military procurement and indus-

trial mobilization. In an account of his wartime experiences, Mr. Nelson reproduces :this agreement in full and then comments:
I have never felt any reason to regret the arrangement made that spring with the fighting services, for I am convinced of the soundness of the pattern we set: the Armed Forces undertook to assume full responsibility for all phases of the job which they were best qualified to handle, while the civilian agency became accountable for the maximum use of the Nation's economic resources, doing for the common benefit the tasks which, if left to themselves, the Armed Forces could not possibly have performed .22
No one in the Army Service Forces of the War Department at any time would have dissented from any part of this statement by Mr. Nelson.
The impetus for the 1942 agreement came from the same informal group under Mr. Goldthwaite Dorr which worked on internal War Department reorganization. The relations of the procurement agencies of the Army to the War Production Board in 1942 were at a crucial stage. Though the Army had been neither too well prepared nor too aggressive in pushing military procurement before Pearl Harbor, the situation had definitely changed thereafter. 
Yet it was quite apparent that great confusion surrounded Army-WPB relations after the 16 January executive order., If the collaboration of the two, so vital to the success of the war effort, was to go forward effectively, fear and suspicion had to be allayed. Unless this was done, there was danger that persons within the WPB might charge that the Army was trying to "take over the civilian economy." On the other hand, early in 1942 the Army was definitely worried about the WPB taking over direct military procurement. Whereupon Mr. Dorr, joined by Mr. Robert R. 
West and Colonel C. F. Robinson of General Somervell's staff, approached Nelson's assistants, Mr. Hill and Mr. Locke, about setting forth a joint agreement on mutual responsibilities. Nelson's assistants acknowledged the need for such an agreement, and accordingly the 12 March document was worked out.23
The 12 March agreement was vitally important. 24 True, it did not prevent subsequent conflict between the ASF and the WPB, but it did indicate General Somervell's belief in the importance of maintaining desirable relationships between the two agencies. During all major disputes that later arose, Under Secretary Patterson, General Somervell, and other ASF representatives came back to this agreement as the "magna charta" defining relationships with the WPB. Their attitude was that all difficulties could be settled by using this agreement as the basic formula.
The agreement of 12 March stated that the War Production Board, had certain over-all functions in controlling the resources of the American economy, including the production and distribution of raw materials. Under it the War Department would present its supply requirements to the WPB and would procure end-items of munitions. More specifically, the WPB was charged with making the basic decisions about the allocation of economic resources in accordance with strategic plans; with providing the means-i.e. materials, services, tools, and facilities-needed to

carry out the total war effort; and with organizing industry for war production. To carry out these duties most effectively, it would be necessary for the WPB to cooperate with the War Department in the review of supply programs, and, in the light of military necessities, to adjust civilian programs within the limitation of total resources. 
Besides integrating and adjusting military and civilian requirements, the WPB would supervise the total utilization of the economic resources of the nation; develop sources and production of raw materials as well as services (including transportation, power, and communications); stock-pile raw materials and those end products which were likely to be in short supply at some future date; expedite the production of raw materials, machine tools, and industrial supplies, or any items where the War Department could not do so without conflicting with other agencies; curtail nonessential uses of materials, facilities, services and manpower indispensable to the accomplishment of the munitions program; expand available skilled manpower (through training, transfer, and reduction in man-hours); direct the provision of facilities needed to produce raw materials, equipment, tools and services; determine the plants or industries which should be converted to the production of supplies for the War Department and help the War Department to carry out that conversion; assure the production of necessary facilities auxiliary to the production and distribution of military supplies; organize industrial co-operation with government agencies; maintain a virile civilian economy consistent with war necessity; distribute the available supply of raw materials and industrial equipment with particular reference to the major using agencies; and finally, make decisions, legal or otherwise, which had to do with priorities, allocations, and requisitions, and placement of orders in existing facilities.
On the other hand, the War Department would continue its traditional interests in supply matters. Through the Army Service Forces and thro0gh the newly created Materiel Command of the Army Air Forces the War Department would, in compliance with WPB directives, carry on the research, design, development, programming, purchase, production, storage, distribution, issue, maintenance, and salvage of military equipment. To carry out this mission, the War Department would determine military needs and translate them into a statement of requirements for raw materials, machine tools, and labor; convert available plants and industries to war production (assisted by WPB); negotiate the purchase of military supplies by the placement and administration of contracts; produce, inspect and accept military goods; issue shipping instructions and plan for distribution; construct and expand plants for the production of end items; expedite production of finished items where there was no conflict with other agencies; conserve raw materials insofar as possible by the elimination of nonessential items and by the simplification and standardization of others. Finally, the WPB and the War Department were to develop close organizational relationships by direct contact between officials in both agencies who were concerned with common problems.
Even before this agreement was made, Under Secretary Patterson had begun to arrange for the transfer of key personnel from the WPB to the Army. One of the phases of military procurement specified in the statement was: "purchase, includ-

ing the negotiation, placement, and administration of contracts." As previously noted, the predecessor agencies of the War Production Board at first had done much to assist Army procurement bureaus in placing contracts. Mr. Patterson, and then General Somervell, had asked that key WPB personnel performing this work be transferred to the military staff .where these individuals could use direct command authority to continue their work. The two most prominent persons transferred shortly thereafter were Mr. D. C. MacKeachie, formerly of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, and Mr. Albert J. Browning, formerly president of the United Wall Paper, Factories, Inc. Both men were commissioned as colonels and given the responsibility of directing the Purchases Division in ASF headquarters. Though the action was criticized within the WPB and elsewhere as an abdication to the armed forces, Mr. Nelson apparently believed this to be a wise policy.25
Trouble Starts
In March 1942 the prospects of friendly and effective co-operation between the WPB and the ASF looked bright indeed. But there were portents of trouble ahead, portents of which leading officials in the ASF, including General Somervell himself, unfortunately were unaware.
According to the official history of the WPB, hostility within that agency toward the Army Service Forces began to brew within a month. In the process of working out the supervision of the seven technical services, which were the procurement agencies of the War Department, General Somervell's office continued to discuss his problems with the WPB. In amalgamating the Supply Division of the War Department General Staff and the Office of the Under Secretary of War, Somervell had created a Resources Division in ASF headquarters.26 None of the duties assigned this office were any different from those for which the Under Secretary had been responsible since 1920. 
There were units to supervise machine tools, raw materials, power, product standardization, facilities, and manpower problems within the ASK The Resources Division was to follow these aspects of procurement operations by the seven technical services, make adjustments among them, and present consolidated requirements to the WPB. There was no implication in this arrangement that the ASF could settle all these problems, but only that the ASF as a unit would deal directly with the WPB on these matters. But the duties of the Resources Division in ASF headquarters were regarded inside the WPB as a "duplication of functions," as threatening to diminish and even to eliminate WPB controls.27 In the past the WPB and its predecessors had dealt directly with the heads of technical services. Now it was expected to deal primarily with ASF headquarters, rather than with each technical service individually. Key personnel in WPB apparently believed that this development would impede their operations. Mr. Nelson has written that "our relations with the Quartermaster Corps, the Ordnance Department, the Signal Corps, the Medical Corps, and the Corps of Engineers, which were the chief procurement agencies, were always splendid. But above this level we always had trouble." 28

The reason for this "trouble," according to Mr. Nelson, was a fundamental difference in viewpoint between General Somervell and himself. Nelson believed that Somervell was opposed to making raw materials available for even the most essential civilian needs. Actually Somervell took no such position. The determination of "essential civilian requirements" for wartime production planning and control was so complex that the WPB itself was never able to solve this problem satisfactorily.29 Because essential civilian production requirements limited military procurement, it was natural that the Army Service Forces should ask about and examine estimates of civilian supply just as WPB officials reviewed and revised military estimates to make them conform to production possibilities. General Somervell and his aides disagreed with the WPB on details and specific figures, but they never took the position that there was no such thing as essential civilian requirements nor did they ever question the fact that the final decision on these requirements rested with Mr. Nelson, and after May 1943, with justice James F. Byrnes.
The controversy over essential civilian needs raged ceaselessly. On the one hand, the ASF could quote Mr. Julius A. Krug, Nelson's successor as chairman of the War Production Board. His final report to the President at the end of the war pointed out that as great as our war effort was, it never absorbed more than two fifths of our national output. Because of their higher and steadier income, civilians during World War II consumed more than they did in the best prewar years. "Throughout the war," Mr. Krug said, "the people at home were subjected to inconvenience, rather than sacrifice." 30 On the other hand, Mr. Nelson argued that the ASF was unreasonable on the question of providing essential civilian goods. Asserting that a healthy civilian economy was a prerequisite of maximum war production, he observed that General Somervell objected even to such items as new replacements for farm machinery and for repairs to coal mining equipment. Certainly the WPB was subjected to intense pressure not only from Somervell, but from Secretary of War Stimson, Secretary of the Navy Knox, Under Secretary of War Patterson and other top military officials. Nelson grimly stuck to his guns in defending his position.
Even though there was disagreement over what constituted essential civilian requirements, there was little doubt that as national production reached its maximum, military needs could be met only by cutting allocations to the civilian economy. In order to reconcile civilian and military claims with the nation's economic resources, it was necessary for representatives of the WPB and the armed forces to work closely together. Within a month of his appointment as commanding general of the ASF, Somervell asked his Control Division, working with representatives from Mr. Nelson's office, to explore this problem in organizational terms and to recommend a desirable solution. The result was a study which General Somervell transmitted to Mr. Nelson on 15 May 1942. Because of the cover in which it was bound, this study came to be known as "the black book." 31 In his letter of trans-

mittal, General Somervell pointed out that the proposals contained in the study had already been informally discussed with the chairman of the WPB and that they were designed to streamline procedure. The organizational arrangements, he stated, seemed to be inadequate and remedial measures were essential. The proposed changes, he added, could be carried out easily within the existing framework of war organization and without destroying public confidence in the War Production Board.
The study which Somervell forwarded for Mr. Nelson's consideration was.entitled Report on Certain Features of the Organizational Problems Involved in Developing Resources to Meet Strategic Requirements.32 The report was predicated on a general proposition which was already being much discussed within the ASF; namely, that the military operations of the war would be greatly influenced, if not dominated, by the limitations of industrial output. For example, the supply of copper was insufficient to meet all requirements. Accordingly, it was essential for strategic decisions to be adjusted in the light of available supplies of raw materials and the resulting military equipment provided from current war production. The principal defect of the present organization for industrial mobilization was, the report declared, an inadequate arrangement for correlating strategy, logistics requirements, and productive resources. The report also pointed out the need for more systematic procedures in the WPB for controlling the distribution of available raw materials. To meet the need, it recommended a system of formal committees to promote closer collaboration between the WPB and the War and Navy Departments. Most important of all, it suggested new machinery to tie together the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the War Production Board, and the procurement agencies of the armed forces.
The AST report acknowledged the generally accepted fact that existing procedures for controlling the distribution of raw materials were unsatisfactory. Although the Army point of view on a "satisfactory" method of control was in process of development, it was not presented in the report. The report did propose certain changes in internal WPB organization, on the assumption that control of raw materials production, conservation, and distribution had become the central tasks of the WPB. It suggested that the WPB Requirements Committee, which had been officially created on 20 January 1942 by Mr. Nelson, and which included representatives of the Army and Navy, become the center of WPB decision making on raw materials questions and that subordinate committees for each essential raw material be created, each with Army, Navy, and other appropriate representation. 33 Once more the ASF report contemplated that decisive authority would remain in the WPB; it was simply recommending what it thought was stronger machinery for collaborative relationships.
The ASF report further dealt with a suggested over-all arrangement for the correlation of production and strategy. The period immediately after Pearl Harbor brought a number of efforts to develop close military co-operation between the United States and the United Kingdom. One of these was the creation of a Com-

bined Raw Materials Board 34 announced by the President and the Prime Minister on 26 January 1942.34 On the assumption that the Combined Raw Materials Board might become a major factor in determining the use of American raw materials, the ASF proposed that the board be set up as an agency of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, just as the Munitions Assignments Board was. This would acknowledge that raw material resources and their use in war production were intimately related to military strategy. In addition, the membership of the board should be reconstituted, although the chairman should be a civilian. By proposing that the chairman of this board should be the same person who was chairman of the MAB, the ASF was nominating Mr. Harry Hopkins for the position. It was also suggested that the American membership on the board should be increased to include representatives of the Army, Navy, and Air Forces.
This recommendation was not intended to suggest that military officers would outvote the WPB on the Combined Raw Materials Board. Rather, the civilian chairman was expected to have the same power of decision as that vested in the chairman of the WPB, who while he might seek advice from the military, had final and complete authority. The Army did not want power, it wanted an opportunity formally to know what was happening and to present its case. And it wanted to make sure that American raw materials were used in substantial proportion for American war needs rather than for United Kingdom production.
It should be emphasized once more that the ASF report was for discussion only; that it was transmitted to Mr. Nelson for his "consideration." It was by no means a carefully worked out, detailed organization plan. Moreover, the report had been shown beforehand to persons in Mr. Nelson's office, and none of them advised General Somervell not to transmit the ASF report to Mr. Nelson. Rather, they indicated that the report would be helpful in the internal reorganization of the WPB which was pending and which was eventually announced by Mr. Nelson on 8 July 1942.36 To make matters worse, General Somervell's trip overseas at this time prevented a personal meeting to iron out difficulties, and the subsequent "leaking" of the story to the press aggravated the situation. By June when General Somervell returned, it was too late. The sparks had been fanned into a flame.
Mr. Nelson's reply to the Somervell letter came as a bombshell.37 From a later vantage point, to be sure, much of it seems reasonable. But in the atmosphere of the war production crisis of 1942 the letter crystallized a disagreement on fundamentals. In a sense it was an open challenge to the Army Service Forces. Apparently in fear of military encroachment, important figures in the WPB had ,persuaded Mr.

Nelson to fight for his authority. To them it involved the fundamental issue of civilian control over the nation's economy.
The charge that the Army was trying to take over the civilian economy had been made before and was to be repeated over and over in subsequent disputes. The difficulty seems to have been a lack of mutual understanding. 
Not only Somervell, but Under Secretary Patterson, and even General Marshall himself, expressed their concern over the impact of civilian consumption on Army supply.38 Shortly before Mr. Nelson's answer to Somervell, the WPB had become involved over a similar issue with the Army and Navy Munitions Board .39 To many sensitive civilians, raising the question of military interest in economic matters seemed a threat to civilian rights. Statements by a man as forthright as General Somervell, driving relentlessly to achieve the goals of the Army Supply Program, could easily be interpreted as an effort by the military to sit in judgment upon essential civilian requirements. 
Actually Somervell had no such idea and he believed that Mr. Nelson's remark that "it would be a fundamental mistake to put the apportionment of materials for the essential civilian economy under the military"-was as irrelevant as it was unfounded.
Mr. Nelson in his reply also discussed three other elements of the ASF proposal. He agreed that the existing machinery for controlling the distribution of raw materials was inadequate but held that this was largely because of the loose manner in which Army and Navy procurement officers issued preference ratings, and because of "the failure of the services to present accurate statements of their requirements." For example, on a common nonmilitary item such as typewriters, the Army's originally stated requirement for 1942 was more than double the amount calculated to be adequate for the entire civilian economy in the same year.
Mr. Nelson noted the ASF proposal for reorganization within the War Production Board and observed that the WPB was already studying desirable changes. The ASF suggestions concerning the Requirements Committee and subordinate commodity committees were helpful, Mr. Nelson remarked, and he suggested further conversations on this matter.
To Mr. Nelson the most far-reaching ASF suggestion was the one proposing a new over-all arrangement for co-ordinating strategy and production. He agreed "emphatically" that this was necessary, but declared that the ASF method was "basically in error." The ASF misconceived the nature of the materials problem on two scores. First, the management of raw and basic materials could not be "ripped out of the process of managing production, segregated, and handled separately." The attempt to draw a parallel between the work of the Combined Raw Materials Board which dealt with the "whole vast process of production" and the Munitions Assignments Board, which was merely a scheduling agency, missed the point, Mr. Nelson asserted. Second, it was strategy and production goals of end-items and not strategy and the distribution of raw materials which had to be correlated. Moreover, he argued, the success of the program rested "not with the Chiefs of Staff, but with the chiefs of production . . . . The battle of production is the primary responsibility of the chairman of the WPB in much the

same sense that military battles are the primary responsibility of the military chiefs." The solution to the problem of coordination of strategy and production was a continuous and harmonious co-operation between the Combined Chiefs of Staff and the War Production Board.
Mr. Nelson's heated reply to the ASF "black book" opened "a breach which was never closed," to use Nelson's own words.40 The WPB chairman used the incident as the occasion to assert that the WPB could control the economic resources of the nation without organizational advice or assistance from the ASE Instead of simply thanking General Somervell for his interest and then overlooking the matter, Mr. Nelson retorted in what appeared at the time to be some heat, refuting the ASF ideas and putting forth other propositions. The WPB reaction was all the more disconcerting because it was unexpected. The close co-operation between Nelson and Somervell which seemed in prospect in early 1942 had thus evaporated by the end of May.
The Agreement on Field Offices
Yet the ASF and the WPB had to work together, whether they liked it or not. And out of this early attempt at organizing relationships to mutual advantage, at least something was salvaged. The 12 March agreement recommended that there be a "continuous survey of working relationships between the two agencies." As a first step in this direction, the ASF Control Division embarked upon two so-called field surveys. Colonel Robinson, director of the Control Division, invited leading personnel from WPB to participate in these surveys. On the first survey, five persons from the WPB worked closely with eight persons from the ASF. On the second, six WPB men collaborated with ten persons from the ASE.
These field surveys made a general study of local Army procurement office operations, relations with contractors, and relations with regional offices of the WPB. The purpose was to obtain information which would be useful in organizing ASF headquarters and in determining which problems most needed attention. For example, from these surveys came warnings of growing raw materials shortages which were hampering military deliveries, and of prospective manpower stringencies.41 This WPB-ASF collaboration was cordial and helpful. Out of it came the Office of Organization Planning in the WPB, with the ASF consultant who had directed the field surveys as its head, Dr. Luther Gulick. Out of it too, came an agreement on WPB-ASF field relationships. The field surveys called attention to confusion in the relationships between the regional offices of the War Production Board and the local procurement offices of the ASF technical services.
After preliminary discussions between Control Division personnel and field operations officials of the WPB, General Somervell sent a letter to Mr. Nelson on 29 June 1942, setting forth the ASF position on field relations. Finally, on 11 September Nelson replied in a fourteen-page letter which was distributed throughout the ASF on 22 September 1942.42 Nelson began by observing that he believed "a

pattern has been set for continuing understanding of our respective field organizations." He agreed that the proposals were based upon the 12 March agreement and upon the principle that "functions now being performed satisfactorily by either of our agencies should not be disturbed regardless of how logical it may seem to do so from an organizational or jurisdictional standpoint." Then Mr. Nelson reproduced Somervell's letter paragraph by paragraph and added his own comments.
Somervell had noted that, in general, the technical service procurement district offices "need no asistance in the production expediting and engineering field for end-items." WPB personnel performing useful services of this nature ought to be transferred to appropriate ASF offices and WPB units should then withdraw from this work. Mr. Nelson assented but added that where substantial delays in delivery performance arose, procurement district offices might request WPB regional offices to investigate the reason. He likewise agreed that except where required by the law setting up the Smaller War Plants Corporation, the WPB had no responsibility for placing contracts for military equipment. This "routine day-by-day matter" was a function of the procurement district office, although WPB regional organizations might help in locating contractors or subcontractors for either a procurement district office or a military prime contractor.
In a long paragraph General Somervell had set forth his concept of how WPB regional offices could render "a much needed and useful service, by expediting and increasing the supply of raw materials, semi-finished items, and certain components." They could increase the supply by encouraging additional shifts; by opening closed mines and plants; by urging full utilization of refining or smelting capacity, by locating hidden, frozen or excess inventories; and by expediting the production of component parts such as boilers, pumps, and valves which were being produced by the same manufacturer for the armed services and the Maritime Commission. To this Mr. Nelson replied simply that the ASF should look to the WPB for the "development of programs for the increased production of raw materials, semi-finished items, and certain components."
In the next place, General Somervell had expressed his belief that design, specifications, and the use of substitutes were "so intimately connected with the problem of the usefulness of finished munitions for the purpose intended" that these must be left to the Army procurement agencies. Mr. Nelson assented. In other paragraphs of his letter, Somervell had noted duplication and lack of uniformity in surveys of both production facilities and machine tools. He proposed that WPB adopt and administer standard systems and make its information available to Army procurement offices. Nelson agreed and added that regional WPB offices would collect and provide information and report on unused capacity. The procurement districts would then be asked to indicate whether any of this capacity could be used.43
General Somervell had further asked that the WPB act as a "screen" and a "wailing wall" for manufacturers seeking

war work. It should also provide information about WPB regulations and about procedures in obtaining raw materials. On this point Mr. Nelson commented that the regional offices would be advised to continue valuable work of this sort which they were already performing. He asked that procurement districts notify the proper regional office from sixty to ninety days in advance of the expiration of any contract which would make a plant available for other work. Subsequent paragraphs in Somervell's letter had dealt with WPB's role in working with federal, state, and local agencies on community problems arising out of war production, such as local transportation and housing for workers; and in working with the War Manpower Commission on the use of skilled and semiskilled labor for war production. Mr. Nelson agreed substantially with them and indicated how much of this work was already being done.
On the problem of regional boundaries Somervell had said only that there appeared to be "no fully satisfactory solution." Nelson referred to the "problem of co-ordinate regional boundaries" as "almost insurmountable," but added that he would have his staff continue to study it in collaboration with the ASF Control Division. The remaining paragraphs were mostly of a general nature. Somervell had expressed the hope that ASF procurement districts might call upon the WPB regional offices for assistance in cases of difficulties. He had also expressed the opinion that appropriate instructions should be issued embodying this agreement. This was done by distribution of the correspondence within the ASF and WPB.
This 11 September 1942 letter of Mr. Nelson was important for two reasons. First, it indicated that WPB officials at the working level could sit down with ASF officers and adjust their differences satisfactorily. Specific issues had been involved in these discussions, and presumably the final result was as satisfactory to the WPB as to the ASF. No "ideological" disputes about civilian-military relationships were permitted to intrude, and no newspaper fanfare accompanied or complicated the discussions.44 Second, the Somervell-Nelson correspondence of September 1942 reaffirmed understandings first put forth in the 12 March agreement. Obviously the ASF regarded full responsibility for letting contracts for direct military items and for expediting the production of such items as essential to its war supply mission. But there was still a big job for the WPB to do in allocating raw material and other industrial resources among various wartime needs, and in expediting the production of raw materials, component parts, and general supplies.
The ASF never suggested that the WPB was unnecessary or that it could do the WPB job better. Rather, the ASF concept was that the two should work together, complementing each other in the task of supporting the armed forces in their quest for military victory over the Axis.

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