Aid to Britain versus Rearming of America

Numerous as were the Army's troubles in 1920-39 by reason of insufficient funds, its training operations in those years proceeded without disproportionate handicaps. If officers capable of transforming recruits into well-disciplined troops were few by wartime standards, so were the recruits they were called on to train. For so small an establishment there at least was a relative sufficiency of officers, of camps, and of weapons necessary for basic training. Army anxiety over weapons was over the newer types of weapons that were not on hand, and over American industry's unreadiness to produce promptly the great quantities that a wartime mobilization would require. In late 1939 the outbreak of war in Europe greatly multiplied these two anxieties over weapons of the future. But to these two was soon added a new anxiety, over the weapons of the immediate present. It became increasingly clear that materiel of certain types that had been sufficient for the basic training of a small peacetime establishment was far from sufficient for the advanced training of a large one.

The first strain came upon the air element, because of the sudden increase of airplane orders from Britain and France, not only exhausting the free production of American factory output for export, but encroaching on the production of planes that the Air Corps itself needed for its training operations.1 These early foreign purchases had been encouraged, not by the Army, but by the President who, as noted, had in November 1938 initiated the program to increase the manufacturing capacity of the American airplane industry. Little encouragement of the sort could have been given by the Army up to this time, for military appropriations had been too spasmodic to provide a steady flow


of orders to the airplane industry. Even after 1938 the War Department seemed slow to recognize that a sufficiency of orders for foreign delivery would itself provide increased productive capacity from which, in time, the Army also would be in a position to benefit. A factor in this apparent unawareness may have been the circumstance that the prewar Secretary, Mr. Woodring, was himself notoriously less eager than was Mr. Roosevelt to provide munitions for Great Britain and France.2 To this circumstance may be attributed the fact that, when Mr. Roosevelt established the first informal cabinet liaison between foreign arms purchasers and American producers, he gave the responsibility not to the Secretary of War but to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, who was well known for his anti-Hitler views. The nominal reason was that the Procurement Division of the Treasury was already experienced in grand-scale purchases.3

As the western Allies experienced greater and greater need for airplanes, guns, ammunition, and other supplies, they sought an increased proportion of the American output. In the ultimate victory over the Axis time would show American factory production to have been an immense factor. Early foreign orders also greatly expedited the enormous development of American industry to the long-range advantage of the Army. Yet this later benefit does not alter the fact that in diverting abroad much of the flow of new equipment those early orders temporarily retarded the equipping and hence the training of the new United States Army units whose performance in battle would one day prove a requisite of Allied victory. In this uneasy period, it is true, the War Department was dutifully and unfailingly consulted on export of arms, but its views were not binding, and on occasion its legally necessary consent was given only under protest.

Sharing "Secret" Weapons with Other Nations

The Army's initial concern with munitions exports, and the public's as well in large measure, was over the possibility that in acquiring American-made planes, under the "cash-and-carry" rule imposed on them by the 1 May 1937 Neutrality Act, foreign purchasers would acquire items or designs of a secret nature. In May 1938 the Air Corps opposed the British request for all early model of the B-17 bomber, but was overruled by the Chief of Staff (General Craig), his deputy (General Embick) and his G-4 (General Tyner) concurring;


the Chief of Staff's permission carried the conditions that the British order would not delay Air Corps deliveries and that the planes would go nowhere save to England.4  In January 1939 there was a more- serious involvement of secrecy maintenance, with angry expressions in Congress over disclosure that the French purchasing mission had gained, over War Department opposition, the right to negotiate for purchase of a new and secret plane5

This disclosure and the resultant inquiry brought to wider attention the multiple responsibility of the Army in the realm of foreign sales and raised large questions of policy. How closely must secrecy be guarded and for how long (experts testifying that when a plane took to the air its design secrets vanished) ? Under what conditions should foreign orders be permitted (even when deliveries interfered with deliveries to the Army) ? And, basically, what encouragement should be given to foreign sales as a means of building up the American airplane industry? The Chief of Staff (then General Craig) dealt cautiously with the first two questions, but the inference was that in matters of secrecy he was guided by the technical knowledge of the Chief of the Air Corps and in matters of sales by the political decision of his civilian chief, the Secretary of War. On the third point General Craig supported fully the President's views, which had supporters in the Air Corps as well:

. . . regarding the advantages we would derive from selling planes abroad, I think, and have thought before, that it is the soundest kind of proposition for the United States to seek the placing of its airplane products in foreign markets. It would settle the question that has been brought up about maintaining work on a permanent basis in our factories. It settles the question which is a terrible bugaboo, of obsolescence of planes . . . . That is a part of the President's policy. . . 6

Although General Marshall, then Deputy Chief of Staff, did not testify before the Senate committee on this occasion, he made it clear in March that the War Department supported the State Department's plan for aiding South American nations with military supplies; he pledged that this program would


neither endanger military secrets nor interfere with Army deliveries.7 In this same month he came face to face with the issue of whether it was possible to maintain complete secrecy and at the same time to build up production at top speed. He put to Gen. Charles M. Wesson, Chief of Ordnance, "the proposition of reconsidering all items of ordnance and other munitions-on the basis of the relative advantage of secrecy versus the opportunities of civil industry to become familiar with the manufacture of the items concerned."8 One month later the French purchasing mission's request for the right to make large purchases of American-made artillery reached the office of the Assistant Secretary of War and led to discussion among Mr. Johnson, his executive, Colonel Burns, and Generals Craig, Marshall, and Wesson. This in turn led to General Marshall's formulation of a policy that would prevent future French munitions purchases from interfering with America's rearming:

1. No objection will be raised to the placement of orders by the French Government with specified companies unless our current procurement program would be seriously delayed thereby.

2. Available or new facilities used or created by reason of the orders placed by the French Government with American firms would not be interfered with, unless the United States becomes itself involved in war, and such interference was subsequently found to be necessary to the best interests of the United States and its allies .9

When the French shortly afterward made inquiries about heavy purchases of the new Allison motor, General Marshall obtained G-2 guidance about the secrecy of the device, Colonel Burns' guidance about possible effects on Army deliveries, and General Arnold's advice on both aspects of the problem. By all he was reassured, and particularly by General Arnold's judgment that the order might stimulate plant expansion by the manufacturer.10  Increasingly the Army and Navy now supported the idea of encouraging foreign orders as a means of adding to American industrial output, the Assistant Secretaries of both Departments eventually assuring the President that "judicious distribu-


tion of such orders to domestic industry can be made to serve a very useful purpose in advancing our own plans for national defense: "11

The Army Declines to Endorse Further Exports

After the actual outbreak of war in Poland, the United States was not alone in its concern over Axis intentions in South America.12  Chile, in particular, made requests for immediate shipments of American-made arms of various kinds-not as orders to manufacturers for later delivery, however, but as pleas to the War and Navy Departments for weapons already made and purchased by the Army and Navy. The Army was compelled to inform the State Department that it could not release anything other than surplus (the Chileans did not wish obsolescent materiel), and it could not without special legislation permit Army arsenals to make munitions for other nations. Pressure continuing even when General Marshall (now become Chief of Staff) had reached the limit of his ability to declare weapons to be surplus, in February 1940 he met with State Department representatives to explain to them the Army's position .

. . . He said that much of the materiel needed to equip completely . . . even the first force [the Initial Protective Force] was still lacking, and that though orders had been placed for much of the materiel, both in Government arsenals and with private firms, some of the needed deliveries . . . would not be delivered until 1942. General Marshall pointed out that the greatest difficulty in event of a conflict in which the army was forced to participate is the procurement of equipment rather than the training of men, and that most of the equipment, even the most antiquated, on the surplus list was of value for training purposes if not for actual replacement . . . .

General Marshall stated that aside from his own conscience, the War Department would naturally and rightfully be subject to the most serious adverse criticism were it to dispose of modern equipment which it needed to a foreign country, and he mentioned as an instance the demand which had been made that the United States supply Garand rifles to the Scandinavian countries and Finland. His position would be untenable, he said, if . . . we should later be drawn into a conflict and would not have a sufficient number on hand.13


The Chief of Staff expressed sympathy with the State Department aims in behalf of Chile and gave his promise to continue co-operating within the limits set for him. The War Department had already permitted munitions factories to deal both with the belligerents and with the anxious South Americans during the winter,14   and the Chief of Staff's readiness to continue was apparent. There was no doubt of the President's wishes in these matters. He had been instrumental in the passage of the new Neutrality Act of 4 November 1939 permitting American ships to carry munitions to belligerents so long as they stayed out of proclaimed "combat zones." Secretary of War Woodring, however, resented the sales and said so, notably in his reluctant endorsement of a G-4 memorandum recommending a price policy favoring the foreigners:

I approve the above paper as a method of carrying out the policy determined by higher authority for the sale of surplus property. But I continue, as for several years, to absolutely disapprove of the sale of any surplus U. S. Army property. I insist, regardless of any higher authority direction, that if Army surplus property is to be sold that it be sold only by this govt. to another neutral govt. and negotiations be between our State Dept. and foreign govt. and not between Army or War Dept. and foreign govt. and directive come to our files of approval by the State Dept. Also that no army surplus property be sold to any individuals if to be sold- but only to a neutral government direct.15

Foreign Shipments Provoke a Departmental Crisis

Mounting requests from the French for airplanes and airplane equipment, some of it so new in design that it was not past the experimental stage, impelled Mr. Woodring (who in this matter as in several political relationships was at odds with Assistant Secretary Johnson) to call for a reconsideration of the airplane release policy. To the Chief of Staff on 19 March 1940 he expressed a willingness to release recent designs for export in order to make available to the Army still later designs, but he insisted on the protection of Army secrets and also upon delaying the delivery abroad of one type until a later type was actually under manufacture for the Army. 16  On the same day at a press conference President Roosevelt restated his intention to supply modern planes to the Allies as a means of improving American industrial defense. His casual


oral reference to the importance of providing new types to friendly foreign purchasers was so variously interpreted by his hearers that in the next day's Staff conference at the War Department there was an angry dispute between Secretary and Assistant Secretary over precisely what had been said. A telephone call to the White House elicited the President's refusal to make a general rule upon classifications of weapons to be released: he said he would decide disputed cases singly and on their merits.17  It again remained for a tactful Chief of Staff to formulate for the guidance of the Army a statement of policy acceptable to his various civilian superiors. It read:

When it is to the advantage of the National Defense the War Department will negotiate for deferred deliveries of contract planes. If manufacturers take advantage of foreign orders, then, prior to release for sale abroad, manufacturers shall agree to accept change orders on existing War Department contracts . . . . Any authorized delays must not interfere with delivery of equipment for units immediately necessary. The release policy . . . will be liberalized to . . . further stimulate production capacity and to insure improved types of planes for the Air Forces. Each case must be decided on its merits.18

German Victories of May 1940 Accentuate Disagreements

With the German Army's sweep across the Low Countries and the British troops' retreat to the Channel in May, the pleas of the new Churchill government for American airplanes went far beyond previous limits. The quest now was not only for future deliveries from the manufacturers but for immediate deliveries of planes actually in Army service. After consultation with the Air Corps and G-3 General Marshall on 22 May informed the Secretary of the Treasury (still charged with this liaison) that the Air Corps now had in service only 160 pursuit planes for 260 pilots, and 52 heavy bomber planes instead of the 136 needed; that the training of squadrons in both categories was already hampered by dearth of planes; that replacement of any existing planes would be slow; that continuing uncertainties in the Western Hemisphere combined with other causes to forbid the release to Britain of planes in service.19  On this occasion the planes were not released.


In mid-June, however, the defeat in France having gravely jeopardized Britain, Mr. Roosevelt raised the question of transferring to the British as many as twelve of the Flying Fortress (B-17) planes. To this there was prompt and spirited objection from the Army, General Marshall reporting the "unanimous opinion of the War Department officers concerned, that it would be seriously prejudicial to our own defensive situation to release any of these ships." The President accepted this judgment at the time, but two months later, in response to further British pressure, he authorized release of five of the Fortresses.20  This decision, which was not immediately translated into action, brought from the Chief of the Air Corps a complaint against the release of any B-17's whatever and a declaration that such a release "dictated by authority higher than the War Department" would seriously affect national defense.21  Nevertheless, as a part of the destroyer-base trade of 3 September 1940 the Secretary of War agreed to turn over the five planes, and immediate British acquisition of them was thwarted only by the Secretary of State's unintentional omission of this item from the exchange document.22  The President's wishes were made clear enough to the Chief of Staff in a conversation instructing "even-Stephen" division of bombers with the British.23

The Chief of Staff's effort now was to make the best of the situation and find virtue in necessity, much as he had done in the spring of 1940 when he was explaining to a Senate committee the value of the change-order policy of that day, under which the United States "could release planes for foreign sale, accept deferment of contract deliveries, and thus get more modern planes; we may in turn again defer delivery and get still more modern planes."24  This time, in the fall of 1940, it was possible to discern the usefulness of increased


production and, quite as important, the value in submitting untried planes to the critical test of battle25  To General Brett, therefore, General Marshall mentioned encouragingly that "battle tests are better than peace tests," to support his view that the United States would profit to that extent by giving initial rather than postponed delivery of these battle planes to the British.26  That he was making the best of a painful situation, and that in fact he did not like the "even-Stephen" distribution of the invaluable B-17's was apparent in his instruction to General Arnold to examine Secretary Morgenthau's argument for this method of impartial distribution of the new Fortresses. "See if there is anything more we dare do," he said. "What will this do in blocking training of pilots? If the British collapse there are certain things of theirs we can seize, but we can't seize trained pilots. We will be the sole defenders of both the Atlantic and the Pacific. What do we dare do in relation to Britain?" 27

WPD anxiety over the delay in getting the planes was equal to his own, for there was agreement that giving half to the British would reduce by one-half the number of American pilots who could be efficiently trained.28  The cynical comment of General Brett a few months later was: "We have a school at Shreveport, instructors, schedules, students, everything except planes." 29  General Marshall made a sardonic reference to the President's debonair attitude toward necessary but disagreeable detail connected with the arrangement for dividing


Planes with the British. At a White House discussion the Chief of Staff asked pointedly whether the British share should be computed as half of the planes scheduled for delivery or as half of those actually delivered, and exhibited a chart to show the wide difference between orders and deliveries. To this the President's breezy reply appears to have been: "Don't let me see that chart again." 30

Among isolationist Congressmen was a growing suspicion of a Presidential purpose to conceal intentions. In late October a Senator lately defeated for renomination directed two questions to the Secretary of War:

First, is it true that the Government of Great Britain or military authorities of Great Britain have been given access to the air bomb sight as definitely reported from official circles?

Second, is it true that England has been promised Flying Fortresses as soon as the election is over? 31

The aggressiveness of the Secretary of the Treasury, originally named as head of a liaison group only, became apparent to the Air Corps at this season, and elicited from General Arnold a sharp protest to the Chief of Staff, as follows:

1. At the meeting yesterday of Secretary Morgenthau, Judge Patterson, General Brett and Major Lyon, the Secretary of the Treasury announced that as a result of a conversation with the President on Monday it had been decided that every other B-17 complete with all equipment including bomb sight would be turned over to the British . . . . Furthermore that at a later date every other B-25 and B-26 would probably be turned over to the British.

2. I believe that such procedure is entirely wrong, when the Secretary of the Treasury does this business with General Brett and the Assistant Secretary of War on some matter that very vitally concerns the whole Army. It should be done with the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff.

3. I am now making a study to determine just what effect this will have on the organization of our tactical units.32

A note dated six days later indicates that at a 7 November conference General Marshall told the nettled Arnold: "At the Treasury this morning I found that the plan to release every other plane . . . originated with Mr. Morgenthau and not with the British. Mr. Morgenthau asked the President . . . and was told to help the British all we possibly can." 33  Worse was to come, from the Air Corps point of view. On 8 January 1941 a memorandum from General Arnold to the


Chief of Staff warned of a "very strong possibility of Great Britain asking for additional B-17's from our tactical units . . . . It is urgently recommended that such a request be disapproved.34

European Pressure for Other Weapons

Little success had attended Army efforts in the spring of 1940 to halt the release abroad of other Army-owned munitions for which the hard-pressed Anglo-French mission was then pleading. On 22 May, the day when General Marshall resisted the Treasury's airplane proposal, the Chief of Ordnance provided the Chief of Staff with a list of ordnance items that might be released without imperiling the national defense. It was strikingly close to an Anglo-French request of the day before, and included 500,000 Enfield rifles, 100,000,000 rounds of .30-caliber ammunition, 500 75-mm. guns, 35,000 unmodified machine guns and automatic rifles, and 500 3-inch mortars with 50,000 rounds of ammunition. It is noticeable that the list, submitted in answer to a request from the Chief of Staff and resubmitted that day to the President, was made up of items far larger than ever before mentioned as surplus. General Marshall based it on Ordnance and G-4 estimates of what would be surplus to the needs of a 1,800,000-man army, reckoning on new equipment to be produced before the 1,800,000 total was attained. 35  Accepting both the reasoning and the estimate, the President asked General Marshall to consider legal means of transferring to the British the declared surplus, and accordingly the Chief of Staff took up this matter with Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles. They agreed that the goods could not legally be sold direct to the Allies, and parted for separate consideration of that dilemma.36  To his Staff advisers General Marshall mentioned his further remarks on that occasion


. . . I explained to Mr. Welles the situation regarding aircraft, that we could not jeopardize the completion of our augmentation of operating units by releasing planes under process of manufacture for delivery to the Army; that the situation with regard to pilots would become an impossible one in a very few months if we did not receive deliveries of planes. He agreed with this. I told him that in the smaller matters of accommodating them regarding engines and things of that sort we would do practically all of this as desired by the Allies.37

Search for Legal Authority for Sale of "Surplus" Arms

A report on legal methods of accomplishing the President's wish was made by General Moore, of G-4, who explained that an exchange of old for new ammunition could legally be effected only in the case of deteriorated or unserviceable ammunition; other items could be declared surplus by the Secretary of War and then sold to a domestic corporation which could resell abroad. He warned that it could not be done without public knowledge, but that formal public advertisement was not compulsory. The method subsequently outlined by General Marshall met the approval of the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, but the Secretary of War complied with Mr. Roosevelt's wishes only under order. He dutifully signed the transfer to the U. S. Steel Export Co. on 11 June-when the ordnance had already been assembled for shipment to Britain but this was after he had asked for legislation to designate the Secretary's future responsibilities in such a situation.38  It was not long afterward that Mr. Woodring was replaced in office- not by Mr. Johnson, who had expected the higher post, but by Henry L. Stimson.

Mr. Woodring's desire for clarification was understandable, and isolationist Congressmen were in sympathy with him. The record of export of "surplus"


munitions during the preceding months was confusing even to the Army. In March Finland had sought a shipment of 75-mm. guns; three hundred of them had then been declared surplus for foreign sale, and fifty were loaded aboard a Finnish ship on 13 May. The 22 May surplus listing by the Chief of Ordnance, previously mentioned, contained five hundred of these guns and on 4 June another hundred were added.39

Within that interval the German advance had plunged through to the Channel, Belgium had yielded, most of the British Expeditionary Force and surviving elements of the French Army had been evacuated from Dunkerque, and Britain was preparing for Hitler's threatened crossing of the Channel. The arguments for exporting weapons (this time to England) therefore were now much more persuasive than they had been on 21 May when WPD-already skeptical of France's ability to stand- bluntly discouraged approval of the French plea for 75's from the U. S. Army supply. The WPD memorandum of that day stated, not quite accurately in view of the Finnish transactions, that "no 75 mm. guns had been declared surplus . . . [and such a declaration] would be difficult to justify. War Plans objects to the sale of any of our present stock.40

WPD was not alone in its concern over export of this particular weapon, which at that time, and until the 105-mm- came into production in May 1941, was the principal accompanying gun of the infantry division. On 11 June, in trying to resist the British pressure for another lot of 500 to meet the admittedly grave threat of invasion, G-4's chief told General Marshall: "No further 75 mm. guns should be declared surplus, obsolete, or placed in any other category that would render them available for sale . . . . It would take 2 years for production to catch up with requirements . . . . It would be dangerous to national defense to decrease the number of 75 mm. guns available." 41  He added that there were now on hand 3,450 guns, which meant a shortage of 3,220 (computed against


field needs of the Army for one year in advance) and he reported WPD as in agreement with his estimate. The extent to which these sober warnings were disregarded when Maj. (later Lt. Gen.) Edward H. Brooks and Maj. (later Lt. Gen.) Walter B. Smith took the memorandum to Secretary Morgenthau is recorded in a note to the Chief of Staff signed with Smith's initials:

Mr. Morgenthau handed me the Allied request for 500 75 mm. guns and appropriate ammunition to take to General Watson the President's aide] for the President's decision. I gave it to General Watson who spoke over the phone with Mr. Morgenthau in my presence. General Watson then asked what I thought about the transaction before he took it in for the President's decision. I replied that if the War Department could be assured that we would not be called upon for a general mobilization within two years . . . the transaction was perfectly safe, but that if we were required to mobilize after having released guns necessary for this mobilization and were found to be short in artillery materiel . . . everyone who was a party to the deal might hope to be found hanging from a lamp post. Whereupon General Watson took the paper in to the President, who ok'd the transaction.42

The additional 500 guns were included in that day's turnover to the Steel Export Co.,43  making a total of 1,095 guns of this type sold as surplus in 1940,44  and orders were issued for expediting the delivery of the 105-mm. howitzers which the Ordnance Department had been developing as an ultimate improvement on the 75.45  Secretary Woodring on 17 June prepared a protest to the President but did not send it.46

The Critical Shortage in Small-Arms Ammunition

Another item in these 1940 "surplus" lists calls for examination; this is the small-arms ammunition, of which 100,000,000 rounds were declared by General Wesson on 22 May to be releasable. Arrangements were made on 4 June to make the shipment, but in the next two days further exchanges of information, of which General Marshall was told, led to the conclusion that the Protective Mobilization Plan requirements were still exceeded by 30,000,000 rounds and these were added accordingly to the previously declared surplus. Further, the Chief of Staff then promised another 58,000,000 rounds to be delivered before


December, to be replaced by 50,000,000 rounds on order, but only 8,000,000 rounds of that total were in fact delivered.

Two circumstances intervened to prevent full delivery. One was an amendment to House Resolution 9822, the amendment prohibiting transfer of any more munitions except after certification by either the Chief of Naval Operations or the Chief of Staff that the munitions in question were not essential to defense of the United States. The other circumstance was the recognition in late July that there was present need for much more .30-caliber ammunition than had been previously estimated for training, for Philippines support, and for emergency supply. On 9 August Lt. Col. Orlando Ward, then Secretary of the General Staff, in a memorandum to the Deputy Chief of Staff noted a current proposal to release the remaining 50,000,000 rounds for shipment abroad, and predicted that "G. C. M. [General Marshall] will not certify it as surplus." He was right, for a 16 August memorandum from the Chief of Staff stated that no more .30-caliber ammunition should go to Britain from Army stocks, because there now was a shortage of 1,077,000,000 rounds.

This startling admission, two months after the June tender, can be attributed to belated recognition of a fact, or else to a considerably altered situation. The Congress had passed the new appropriation bills for an Army much larger than the PMP force for which previous ammunition calculations had been made, and the National Guard and Selective Service calls were both in prospect. This appreciably changed the situation which had prevailed in June. Even so, General Marshall relented slightly four days later when, after discussions with G-4 and Ordnance officers, he agreed to release for shipment 5,000,000 rounds of the July-December allotments previously promised the British. The entire 50,000,000 allotment "I now consider too essential to our defense to permit the transfer." A directive he had issued on 14 August shows how thriftily he was dividing equipment at this time among the Army units, so that the demands of first-line troops would not absorb the supply to the total exclusion of second priority units. The directive ordered a general distribution up to one-fifth of organizational allowances but only after full priority had been given to the Alaskan defense, to the Armored Force (so far as tanks were concerned), and to the antiaircraft units.47

On 20 September G-3 reported at a Staff meeting that the Army's current supply of .30-caliber ammunition was down to 520,000,000 cartridges, of which


135,000,000 were in overseas departments. One year of normal training would require 468,000,000. This distribution would leave nothing for the much talked of expeditionary force or for emergency, and no new stocks of importance were expected for a year. To several of the Staff this disclosure was as surprising as it was disturbing, and they were informed with a good deal of bluntness that the shortage stemmed from previous overseas shipments that had been made "in opposition to recommendations of certain members of the General Staff . . . [and because of pressure exerted by the President," through Mr. Morgenthau. Colonel Burns, the principal authority on procurement, warned that the recent loss of a large powder plant at Kelvin, N. J., was a further blow to production; that although steps had already been taken for a series of huge new powder and loading plants, designed with special precautions against communicating explosions, no large increases in output could be expected for a full year.48

Need for Allocations and Accurate Scheduling

It was the shortage of powder that in November 1940 brought to a head the long-developing dispute among the Army, the Navy, and the British over conflicting orders for the means of production, rather than for immediate production itself. The controversy involved orders for British airplanes, Navy cruisers, and Army antiaircraft artillery and ammunition. These would seem to be noncompetitive items, but they had one common point of contact in the


hard-pressed machine-tool industry whose output was required variously for plants producing the several end products mentioned. The Army's case was pressed by the Chief of Staff and by the new Assistant Secretary of War, Robert P. Patterson (later Under Secretary and still later Mr. Stimson's successor as Secretary). It was a difficult case for the Army to press successfully. On the one hand there was unquestioned and urgent British need for search planes for use against the submarines, and on the other the President's interest in the Navy's long-range expansion was well known. The Chief of Staff, however, proceeded to argue vigorously. In support of his complaint that the British emergency priority was being put "ahead of everything" Col. Charles Hines of the Army Navy Munitions Board added that the proposals also put "the new Navy ahead of us except for the Regular Army-National Guard based on a strength of 600,000." The Navy's case was weakened by the fact that the cruisers in question were not scheduled for completion until 1945, whereas the Army's need was for the equipping of a 1,400,000-man army in 1941, as was pointed out in a Staff meeting by Col. (later Maj. Gen.) J. W. Anderson of WPD. General Marshall insisted that "we can't afford to build up an Army without a reasonable amount of equipment and ammunition." Mr. Patterson asserted that postponement of the flow of ammunition "would cause a break-down of the Selective Service system; if these men don't get their equipment their morale will go down tremendously."49  On this occasion the fight for Army priority was won.

How grave the training situation was becoming is indicated by the report of 19 February 1941, when General Marshall was facing a new British request for 900,000,000 rounds of American-made ammunition. "We have had to reduce the amount of ammunition for training to about 60 percent" of requirements, he said to his General Council.50 He also confessed his anxieties over the Philippines defenses, and over Hawaii where "they have to be prepared against any surprise attack," to which he referred at two smaller conferences of this period.51  At about this time, still insistent on the antiaircraft needs of the new army, he explained to the President the serious effect which a shortage in certain items of equipment could have not only on the unit involved but on the whole Army, whose parts have a balance and a relationship to each other. Thus, the proper ratio of antiaircraft artillery to the whole Army was determined on the basis


of past and present experience: the equipment on hand and in sight would suffice for the antiaircraft artillery component in an army of 600,000 men; it would be far below the amount necessary to arm the antiaircraft artillery component of the projected 1,400,000-man army. Failure to acquire the additional amount needed, then, would pin the new army, for which Selective Service trainees were now being drafted on an increasing scale, to the smaller number, already outgrown. The argument was intended to win the President's support for providing all items needed under the Protective Mobilization Plan, for the first 1,400,000 men. Support for that installment of the new army was needed immediately, to prevent its development being blocked by the British "10-division program" then being pushed. Support for the much larger later army was to be sought, similarly, as the year progressed, when it proved hard to get.

Britain's Fruitful Proposals for Co-ordination of Effort

The 10-division program had been devised in late 1940 to reduce to a degree the often encountered competition between British and American orders which was handicapping American Army training. This competition had repeatedly developed with regard to airplane purchases, until reason compelled Britain to seek from American plants only those aircraft items that were common to American and British needs alike, and to satisfy purely British requirements from British plants. With a view to similar coordination in other purchases Lord Lothian, the British Ambassador in Washington, in July 1940 discussed with the President the immediate and full interchange of information between American and British services on short-wave radio research-this being the work in radar whose fullest development was critically needed by Britain at the time when the aerial Battle of Britain was being mounted.52  The remarkable success of the resultant scientific and technological pooling of the two nations' resources in this respect may have encouraged a further step in joint planning, for on a October Sir Walter Layton, Economic Adviser to the British Purchasing Mission of that day, wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury (still


the chief liaison official of the Cabinet in these matters) enclosing a report on the subject from the British War Cabinet.53  "It is essential that the programmes of the United States and British requirements be as much as possible co-ordinated so as to prevent competition arising in the industrial field," wrote the British agent. "To this end we must seek a common programme agreed and adjusted to the conflicting requirements of immediate and ultimate needs."

The letter and the accompanying report from London were referred immediately to the Secretary of War and on 3 October, by the Chief of Staff's direction, Sir Walter and three associates were invited to the first of a series of discussions with General Strong of WPD, General Burns of the Under Secretary's office, Brig. Gen. Eugene Reybold of G-4, and Colonel Hines of the Army Navy Munitions Board. In General Strong's ensuing report to the Chief of Staff it appears that by all his colleagues there was immediate recognition of the desirability, from motives of self-interest, of maintaining the British Empire at least until the American arms expansion program was complete; also of the desirability of that expansion's proceeding with minimum interference from British purchases.

To this end, it was quickly agreed, British aircraft production would be integrated with American, and would take care of such British orders as could best be produced at home; British orders to American plants for equipment not standard in the United States would not be looked on with favor. This reasoning was then extended to consider a two-nation agreement on ordnance items, and General Strong reported the American consultants' resistance to pressure for American factory production of purely British types. There were two reasons. Not only did the Americans regard the British 25-pounder as inferior to the new American 105-mm. howitzer, but American plants could at this time turn out three of the latter to one of the former. The American 155 likewise was held to be almost equal to the British 5.5-inch howitzer and far more easily produced here. Antiaircraft artillery needs of both could be met by the American 90-mm. gun.54 The American 37-mm. and 75-mm. antitank weapons were preferred to


the British 2- and 6-pounders. The British Enfield .303 rifle might be replaced by the more numerous American .30-caliber weapon, a matter of large concern when mass production of the proper ammunition was considered.

This conference and the later discussions springing from it led to a better awareness on the part of the British that if America's great industrial machine was to produce the hoped-for results for both British and American requirements, its energies could not be scattered. Best results could never come from dividing production between 25-pounders and 105-mm. howitzers, with the different ammunition lines they would require, if their purposes and employments were practically identical. The same was true of the almost identical .303- and .30-caliber small arms and their ammunition, and a host of almost parallel weapons.

A trial solution was offered by Sir Walter Layton- that a block of ten British divisions be newly equipped with wholly American weapons, produced by American factories without interruption to the factories' normal methods. In principle this satisfied the basic demand of American production authorities. Now the question was when the new plan would become operative, and at what speed. The answer had to await a re-examination of U. S. Army orders now banked up at the various factories, and of the priorities already allotted to U. S. Army units which were waiting for their equipment. On 2 December a statement of joint supply policy met the views of the conference, and was approved by the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War. It provided:

a. No deliveries [to Britain] prior to July 1, 1941 and no deliveries . . . until the minimum training requirements of the Army of the United States [PMP force and replacement centers] are filled.
b. During July 1-Sept. 14, 1941 minimum training requirements of the British 10-division program will be filled as far as practicable.
c. Following fulfillment of initial training requirements for the British, no additional items . . . until the full American requirements of the PMP and replacement centers are filled.55

A Restatement of the Plan for Army Expansion

The changing military estimates of succeeding weeks and the discussion of President Roosevelt's Lend-Lease proposal immediately after its presentation to Congress on 6 January 1941 suggested to the General Staff that this newly planned outpouring of American munitions to foreign consumers could gravely


embarrass the Army's own development and operations. General Marshall's expression of concern on 19 February (over a British request for 900,000,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition) has already been mentioned. Even before that, on 3 February 1941, the Deputy Chief of Staff, General Moore, had suggested a formal restatement of American defense objectives: He felt that cognizance should be taken of developments in recent months affecting the now-eclipsed munitions program of 30 June 1940, of which the British 10 division plan of 2 December was a conspicuous example. Ten days later, accordingly, with General Marshall's conditional approval appended on 14 February, there was a revised statement of defense objectives, still directed primarily at the attainment of PMP strength of 1,400,000 men, but projected this time to include a first augmentation to a 2,800,000-man total and a second augmentation to 4,100,000 men.56

This was a considerable alteration from the June 1940 rule-of-thumb stages of one, two, and four million men that had dealt with mere totals instead of items. The February 1941 program was specific. Its first phase contemplated 2 field armies (1 in operating condition), 9 corps (5 operating), 27 infantry divisions (9 in operating condition), 4 armored divisions, 2 cavalry divisions (incomplete), and 1 cavalry brigade; units not in operating condition were to be 80 to 90 percent complete in men and materiel. The air element was to have 54 groups. It was recognized that the principal shortages would be in air equipment and in ammunition. The stated objective was "to provide critical and essential equipment and maintain it [the 1,400,000-man PMP establishment] on combat status for one year."

The first augmentation (no time scheduled) aimed at completion of the 2 field armies and the 9 corps already organized. It would retain the 2 cavalry divisions and the 54 air groups of the original force. Its additions were to the infantry divisions (now totaling 45) and the armored divisions (now 8). It was recognized that the ammunition shortage would continue.

The second augmentation aimed at completion of 4 armies, 14 corps, 69 infantry and 12 armored divisions, and "over 100 air groups." Again there was no statement of the time objective. The uncertainty with which all three phases were viewed by General Marshall was indicated by the language of his 14 February paragraph of approval:


. . . with the exception that a decision as to the matter of the Air Corps strength in combat squadrons will be deferred until the question of the Lend-Lease Bill has been settled. [It was then under debate in Congress and did not pass until 11 March 1941] Furthermore a general decision as to material in connection with British requirements under an approved Lend-Lease Bill will have to be taken at the proper time 57

On 25 February General Marshall received from his Deputy a suggestion for radical alterations of the 2 December policy, which had sought to expedite delivery of American-made equipment to the ten British divisions. General Moore proposed that paragraph c of that statement be modified to provide that no additional items be furnished the British "until full American requirements for certain task forces are completed. Following completion of such deliveries to task forces, further deliveries will be apportioned according to the situation existing at that time." 58

The "certain task forces" were contemplated as a possibility, although there was then no assurance as to whether they might be employed for purely hemisphere defense or for projected expeditions to Iceland or the Azores. The recommendation was approved immediately by General Marshall along with a memorandum of the previous day from General Moore listing such items of ordnance as could be spared to the British.59  It is of interest to see that by early 1941 there was a different attitude on the 75-mm. gun which in May 1940 had been regarded as indispensable. General Moore was prepared to grant British needs for scout cars and tractors, but still doubted the advisability of releasing the 75's of the unconverted American type, "even though we have a surplus over and above the requirements for 2,000,000 men"-unless he could assume that no force larger than that would go into combat before 1 September 1942. If that assumption could be made, he favored releasing 200 of the 75's, 300 of the 155's, and 434 of the 8-inch howitzers, along with 460,000 rounds of ammunition in those calibers. Much heartier support was offered by the Chief of Field Artillery who "would be glad to get rid of 200 American 75s; they are not very good . . . . I don't want to give any French 75s." 60  The change of views since


May 1940 is simply explained by the fact that, as General Moore mentioned, the new 105-mm. howitzer, destined to replace the 75 in the American infantry divisions, was due to go into production in May 1941. 61

Two weeks later decisions in related matters were reached by G-4 and Ordnance authorities and on 10 March the Chief of Ordnance was formally instructed by the Secretary of War to prepare for aiding the British by manufacturing the British 6-pounder, the 40-mm. Bofors, and the 37-mm. antiaircraft gun. The new 105 would be made available to the British. The Chief of Ordnance was asked to test the 4.5- and 4.7-inch guns for efficiency, and he was informed that manufacture of the .303-caliber rifle was possible, but not yet required. Manufacture of ammunition for that caliber would continue, for British use. There would be no production of the British 3.7-inch antiaircraft gun, the .55-caliber antitank gun, or the .303-caliber machine gun.62  If Britain needed them they would have to come from British plants.

Lend-Lease Fails to Solve the Problem of Satisfactory Allocations

On the following day the Lend-Lease bill became law (Public 11, 77th Congress), and problems that had harassed the General Staff and the various supply agencies now were inherited largely by the new organization. To meet immediate needs the Secretary of War issued an office order to co-ordinate the functioning of the War Department with the Lend-Lease Act requirements by means of a Defense Aid Division created in the office of the Under Secretary.63  It was a temporary and an unsuccessful measure. Indeed there was no easy solution at hand. There remained in the minds of Staff, War Department, and President alike that same confusion as to the nation's main objective which had complicated production problems from 1939 onward. The pressure for immediate aid to Britain continued to interfere with America's long-range planning. Training of the existing Army for early use of an expeditionary force continued to call for weapons and personnel required elsewhere for the development of a much larger army of the future. Hemisphere defense still could not be provided save by endangering other defense. Airplane production still called for machine


tools equally needed for producing Navy equipment or British equipment or Army equipment or civilian goods.64

If there had been only confusion about priority of requisitions whose total was identical with total production the situation would have remained difficult. Actually matters were much worse, for the total of the various demands on American industry exceeded the visible supply. There was recognition of the need for apportionment and co-ordination and even temporary reduction of demand but no agreement on how it was to be attained. The President's advancement of the Lend-Lease idea had been due chiefly to his desire to finance the purchase necessary for British defense. Among procurement authorities, however, and probably in the President's mind as well, there was an attendant conviction that a Lend-Lease plan should also promote an effective coordination of purchasing programs, such as Sir Walter Layton had mentioned the preceding October but such as certainly was not being achieved. British pressure for larger and larger allotments increased this desire for coordination at the same time that it developed within the War Department itself both an irritation with the British and a conflict of judgments as to what really should be the primary objective of American production-to save Britain or to arm America. The irritation had already been expressed by General Marshall himself in early January when the British asked for 50,000 planes by the end of 1942-a demand whose fulfillment he said was impossible, with Mr. Knudsen in apparent agreement.65

The conflict: of judgments was exemplified a few days later at a conference in the Deputy Chief's office, attended by John J. McCloy (at this time a special assistant to Secretary Stimson but later made Assistant Secretary of War with large responsibilities for overseas matters), Generals Moore, Arnold, Burns, and Lewis, Colonels Aurand, Brown, and Quinton, and Major Robinett. Mr. McCloy asked whether the new British requests would fit into the production capacity of the Army's 4,000,000-man program (apparently assuming that arms designed for that program would be partly diverted to Britain). Ignoring Lend-Lease purposes, General Moore inquired pointedly how Army orders in excess of Army needs could be explained to the American people. General Burns and


Colonel Aurand in more direct fashion replied that in some items the British request would exceed the capacity of the 4,000,000-man figure. "You may be bound by that, but it does not impress me," the notes quote Mr. McCloy's reply. "The President has announced that this country will become an arsenal for democracy. We are out to top Germany, in peace or in war."66

The date of this meeting is of interest, showing that even before General Moore's 3 February suggestion for restating defensive objectives the Secretary's office was grappling with that problem. The General Staff had not been consulted in the drafting of the Lend-Lease bill, but Mr. McCloy, who had been active in the task, saw to it on 5 January that a copy was made available for the Staff study which began immediately.67  Initially, it appears the Staff was skeptical. A whimsical note was penciled to the Secretary of the General Staff by Col. R. H. Brennan when the bill by which America was to grant unlimited aid to Britain received its official number in the House docket. "By a strange coincidence the number . . . is 1776," observed Colonel Brennan.

Despite initial doubts, it took the Staff, and particularly G-4, little time to recognize that the measure should have the hearty support of the War Department, not only because of Presidential wish but because of its relationship to the long-sought coordination of production. G-4's recommendation of support, followed by a discussion with Mr. McCloy, brought from Colonel Brennan the draft of a letter which Secretary Stimson sent to the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.68  The letter contains this significant passage:

. . . if passed, the bill will enable the United States to exercise effective coordination and control over all production of defense articles in the United States and, through the President, to apportion the articles so produced appropriately between the needs of the United States and those countries whose defense is a matter of vital concern to the United States.

In confident expectation of the bill's ultimate passage Mr. McCloy was host at a luncheon meeting in mid-February to discuss the amount of money that would be needed to implement Lend-Lease, those present including British and French purchasing agents, an Office of Production Management (OPM) representative, General Burns, and Colonel Aurand.69  Mr. McCloy explained the


procedure of requesting appropriations and the necessity for detailed information on British requirements, and received the British assurance of a recomputation, but the Army officers' anxieties were so little relieved that on the following morning, in conference with the Deputy Chief of Staff, they and their colleagues agreed that the total requirements then announced were in excess of America's production powers. They felt that the War Department would have to cope with the situation by setting up proper controls in the forthcoming Lend-Lease organization.70  Later in the day (and quite independently of the discussion in General Moore's office) the Secretary of War sent to Mr. Roosevelt a carefully considered series of recommendations for the Lend-Lease organization, aiming at an over-all production program providing balance and control of foreign and domestic procurement.71  He referred to advice received from the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations and to apparent support from the State and Treasury Departments, which he felt should be represented in a co-ordinating board. For the executive desk he recommended the experienced General Burns-whom in fact President Roosevelt did eventually name as Lend-Lease executive.

On this same day Arthur Purvis of the British Purchasing Commission submitted to Mr. Roosevelt a "very, very confidential" list of British deficiencies of ships, aircraft, weapons, ammunition, tools, and semifinished materials that the United States was expected to provide. It was promptly sent to the civilian and military heads of War and Navy for perusal, with a mention that those four officials, plus Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau and Messrs. Knudsen, Hillman, Stettinius, and Nelson of the Office of Production Management, should be prepared to discuss these matters as soon as Lend-Lease should pass; also that the service chiefs should have in hand a list of Army and Navy needs to be laid beside the British list, with a view to learning what were the total demands on American industry.72

This planning of a single over-all program was again stressed by Mr. McCloy when Colonel Aurand was summoned to a meeting in the Bureau of the Budget for discussion of Lend-Lease matters.73  It was on Colonel Aurand that the responsibility of computing the several programs was being placed; when,


one day later, General Burns proposed to the General Staff a study of what existing stocks and productive capacity could become available for Lend-Lease, and what additional capacity should be created, the matter was referred to G-4, with a note indicating that Colonel Aurand was already at work on those matters.74  That a balance sheet of American-British defense needs in 1941-42 was currently being prepared was stated by the President at a press conference on 18 February-the implication being that the "balance sheet" was further advanced than, in retrospect, it seems to have been.75

Since details of British requirements were meanwhile being extracted from the British agencies, the War Department, chiefly through Colonel Aurand and Mr. McCloy, was able to work out the justification for a $7,000,000,000 appropriation bill to meet the visible needs of Lend-Lease.76  At last, on 10 March, Colonel Aurand with General Reybold and General Burns, presented to the Chief of Staff the "estimates of production requirements and shortages in conformity with the needs of both the United States and the British," " and three days later General Marshall, the Secretaries of State, War, and Navy testified on a $7,000,000,000 appropriation bill drawn up chiefly to implement the Lend Lease plan.77  That their testimony was wholeheartedly for the measure was pointed out next day to Colonel Aurand by General Marshall.78

The Long-Range Influence of Lend-Lease

It is of interest to note that, whatever may have been the views of others upon the probable results of Lend-Lease, Secretary of War Stimson already recognized that the new act was taking the nation into the war. He said as much to the various supply chiefs whom he called to his office for a discussion of Departmental needs,79  and three days later General Marshall, surveying the pending proposals for further increases in airplane orders, also recognized that the mere placing of such orders called for explanation. "Such a program cannot be


sustained as a military requirement," he wrote to the Secretary, "unless we are willing to state that we are preparing for an offensive campaign in the air against a foreign power." 80

During this first month of activities under Lend-Lease Colonel Aurand's experiences led him once more to the conclusion that there must be some single planning agency capable of preparing "a supply plan to insure victory."81  He proposed, and General Moore approved, drafting a letter for the Secretary of War's signature that would support this plan. The proposal is of interest in connection with the "Victory Program," which did in fact come to pass during the summer. Its contemporary importance is indicated by the fact that extracts of it were circulated among supply chiefs for their study,82  and shortly thereafter, in line with the 7 April recommendation, G-4 submitted that, "in order to prepare a supply plan to insure victory, some agency competent to formulate such a plan must be created." The original proposal contemplated a meeting of representatives from Army, Navy, Maritime Commission, and corresponding British agencies.83  Presumably there was approval, for three weeks later G-4 submitted drafts of letters to be sent to the Secretary of the Navy, to the chairman of the Maritime Commission, and also to the director of the Ordnance Division of OPM, calling for an interdepartmental commission to recommend a supplies objective necessary to victory, but besides the four American members of such a conference, the proposal included four British members and one Chinese.84  WPD's view on the conference membership was, rather, that at the outset the discussion should be conducted within the United States military establishment, specifically within the Joint Board and its Joint Planning Committee. Recommendations "for aid to China and any other nation" would then be on a "basis of our strategic aims and our own national interests." 85  This view was accepted by the Chief of Staff and recommended on 14 May to the joint Board, which on 17 May indorsed it to the Joint Planning Committee for appropriate action.


A Basis Reached for Co-ordinated Supplies

With this indorsement, and after the many false starts here chronicled, the basis for a co-ordination of American-British acquisition of munitions was laid. Even then it was only a basis, since the program shortly encountered major distractions that were to call for constant revisions of the program for aid to Britain.86  Had Britain been the only seeker after whatever munitions the United States' Armed Forces could spare, the distractions would have been sufficiently troublesome. There were many other needy nations fighting the Axis. China was a persistent applicant for aid in many of the very items which were most critically needed both by Britain and by the United States, particularly for the improvement of Pacific defenses. South American nations, encouraged by recent emphasis on hemisphere defense, made much more moderate requests and ended by getting very little-and this at the outset by an extension of credit rather than by Lend-Lease. The Soviet Union, which during the lifetime of the Hitler alliance had qualified for no aid whatever, was transformed into an eager recipient as soon as the Soviets were involuntarily arrayed instead as an anti-Axis combatant. Lend-Lease activities expanded rapidly, and soon it became necessary to provide for this rapid dispersion of American-made munitions a control that would place the much-sought supplies initially where-ever in America's judgment they could be most useful and, thereafter, wherever it was clear that they were being efficiently employed and maintained. So far as British needs were concerned this was one of the numerous supervisory functions entrusted to the Army "observer" in London soon after the ABC meeting of January-March 1941 led to assignment of Maj. Gen. James E. Chaney to that duty.87  It was on General Chaney's recommendation (supported by earnest on-the-spot recommendations from General Brett and others observing the troubled state of affairs in Egypt, plus the specific request of the British Government) that the Army sent a Middle East mission to Cairo to "coordinate War Department activities in that theater," as the mission's stern purpose was euphemistically described.88  A joint report to the Chief of Staff by


Brig. Gen. H. B. Clagett, Col. (later Brig. Gen.) H. H. George, and Commander E. O. McDonnell, on their mission to China following attendance at the Singapore ADB Conference, plus a G-4 memorandum to the Defense Aid Division officer in the Office of the Under Secretary of War,89  led to recognition that there must be a resident mission in China for a similar purpose. Accordingly in late August Brig. Gen. John Magruder was sent as Chief of the American Military Mission to Chungking to advise and assist the Chinese Government in supplying, transporting, and maintaining American materiel and in training Chinese personnel in its use.90  (This was primarily for Lend-Lease purposes; the mission headed by Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell in February 1942 was given wartime functions of command.) 91 The task in the Middle East was soon found to be so dispersed as to call for two missions rather than one, a fact recognized by the President as early as 13 September, and in October two such missions were created, with Brig. Gen. Russell L. Maxwell named as Chief of the U. S. Military North African Mission with concern over the Red Sea area, Egypt, Palestine, Trans-Jordan and Syria, and Brig. Gen. R. A. Wheeler named as Chief of the U. S. Military Iranian Mission, with concern over the Persian Gulf theater of Iraq, Iran, and related areas.92  Creation of a mission to the USSR was recommended by General Burns on his return from the first mission to Moscow in September, and this was attempted in November, when Maj. Gen. J. N. Greely was sent out as Chief of the U. S. Military Mission to the USSR.93  It was


an ill-fated affair, for the Greely mission was not admitted to the USSR and after several months' delay in Iran returned to the United States.

Early Differences with the Soviet Union

The need for a fuller flow of information from American observers in Russia was already apparent. As early as August 1941, when American Lend-Lease goods were beginning to move to the Soviet Union, General Marshall found it necessary to scrutinize the Soviet requests for materiel. He was clearly nettled by Russian complaints, a fact which gave rise to a letter from the President to Secretary Stimson on the subject of supplying the Soviets with a variety of airplane items. To the Secretary, as an aide-mémoire for use at the next Cabinet meeting, General Marshall wrote with unusual sharpness:

In the first place our entire Air Corps is suffering from a severe shortage in spare parts of all kinds. We have planes on the ground because we cannot repair them . . . .

Mr. Oumansky and his Russian associates were informed of this situation . . . .

If any criticism is to be made in this matter, in my opinion it is that we have been too generous, to our own disadvantage, and I seriously question the advisability of our action in releasing the P-40s at this particular time. I question this even more when it only results in criticism, and I think the President should have it dearly pointed out to him that Mr. Oumansky will take everything we own if we submit to his criticisms. Please read their attitude toward our Attaché, which I sent you this morning. 94

Mr. Roosevelt's pressure for expediting to the USSR such aid as was on schedule was renewed a little later, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) informing Secretary Stimson that by Presidential desire October deliveries to Russia were to take precedence over all other defense aid materiel to other countries. Furthermore, if civilian maintenance crews were not provided to accompany these shipments, the President desired that Army personnel be furnished to make sure the equipment was properly maintained. Again there was resistance. On assurance from General Moore that civilian crews were not available, General Marshall pointedly requested further instructions from Mr. Stimson:

. . . There are two important considerations involved in the sending of officers and soldiers to Russia.

In the first place, do we order them or do we endeavor to have them volunteer . . .?

In the second place, what is the political repercussion at the present time, and what


would it be if they were lost to us, as very easily can be the case? And what will be the repercussion if we order them, and they themselves wish to avoid such detail? . . .

On the memorandum is a note initialed "GCM":

The Secretary of War directs that we endeavor to obtain volunteers from the Army and place them in Russia in the same status as the specialists and mechanics we have sent to England and Cairo. If volunteers are not available, then he will discuss the problem with the President.95

The Office of the Chief of Staff, it must be remembered, possessed limited powers of interference with the Lend-Lease program. The administration of aid to other anti-Axis powers was placed by the President beyond the control of Army and Navy, and purposely so. The military was wholly aware of the policy to extend all possible aid to the nations already deployed in battle against those foes which the United States already recognized as its own foes; indeed the military had conducted many of the conversations that led toward the basic policy of measured aid to Britain. The instances just related show that on occasion the military's voice was raised in protest against aid to foreign nations which was thought to jeopardize American interests. It must be recognized, however, that the Army's role in this respect was advisory only. The determining power was that of the President, who had additional advisers, and to that superior authority the military services necessarily bowed.


page created 12 December 2002


Previous Chapter        Next Chapter

Return to the Table of Contents

Return to CMH Online