Blueprint for the Machine

This is a chapter about paper-that indispensable commodity without which modern war could scarcely be sustained. Those who do the paper work generally held in contempt by the men of action, carry a heavy burden of importance and responsibility. So all-encompassing is the paper-shuffler leaves off and the man of action begins. Sometimes they are one and the same person, emboying inseperable functions of command. And all their papers-the orders and counterorders, the designations and redesignitions-and all their charts with those ubiquitos, those mystical, little boxes connected, straight or zig-zag, but connected, somehow, by lines of authority, make up the blueprint for the machine that goes by the name of administration.

Theoretically, organic structure , like Jefferson's idea of government, is best when at a minimum essential to efficient operation; worst when bud proliferates to leaf, and leaf to branch, until a jungle dimness obscures the light. This tendency to overexpansion, common to all types of organization, civil or military, is especially marked under field conditions of great urgency, when extravagant use of manpower may be justified by the results obtained. It is only one of several obstacles to a simple description of the paper side of the American task in the Persian Corridor. If two heads are observed growing upon a stalk where one is normal, he botanist , torn between his admiration of nature's little prank and his curiosity  concerning the soil that produced such luxuriance, stuffs his notebook with exceptions and monstrosities and forgets the species for the sport. It is thus also with the too literal chronicler of the paper side of war.


But static is hardly the word for the American operation in the Persian Corridor. Yet some kind of picture must be secured. It must be caught from the spate of organization charts and manuals which issued from the various headquarters. These documents are excercises in theory. They seek a generalized solution for specific problems. They represent an agreed way of doing tasks whose common elements are thought susceptible to a  common elements are thought susceptible to a common treatment. But, although they are the revered icons of the paper shufflers, they are not inviolable. In instances where their theoretically inflexible generalizations clash with ever changing  fact, they prove themselves surprisingly flexible. Though they decree, for example, that administrative subareas shall control all building construction within their respective borders, they permit an exception where where a certain subarea is equipped to perform this function not only for itself, but for its neighbor, who is thereby relieved of that responsability. This is flexibility for the sake of efficiency; but too many departures from the charts produce overlapping and duplication. Efficiency suffers, and more change required to correct the situation. And so ad infinitum.

The Administration evolution of the American command in the Persian Corridor was marked not only by this kind of change. There were also shifts to accommodate new functions, and shifts to improve porcedures for carrying out old functions. And there were shifts, alas, whose motivation, if ever significant , seems somewhat less than that in retrospect. For it must be conceded that there are some paper shufflers who shuffle purely out of habit. Charts and manuals, then do not tell the whole story. That must be left to some future devotee of the mysteries of administration. 

The Structure of American Headquarters1

When General Connolly assumed command of the PGSC of the PGSC on his arrival at Basra, 20 October 1942, the strength at his disposal com-


prised some 400 officers and men of the Services and Supply and the Air FOrces and just under 1,000 American civilians. In eight months' time PGSC strength would approach its maximum of nearly 30,000 services troops, with only a handful of civilians technicians ramining after completion of militarization of the contractor projects. (Table 12 and Chart 2, Appendix A and B) In a little more than two months' time, the first echelon, numbering some 5,000, would land at Khorramshahr to take over the new American responsablilities. By the first week in January 1943, PGSC headquarters-temporarily carrying on at Marine House, Ashar, where almost from the first the Iranian Mission and its successors had been established-would move to Tehran to interium offices on Shah Reza Avenue. On July the nerve center of the American command would permantly established at Camp Amirabad, the great new community it was to build for itself on the outskirts of Tehran, complete with fine hospital, brick barracks, shops, offices, warehouses, and recreational facilities, where, one day in December, the President of the United States was to surprise and delight the men by a visit and a warmly appreciative little speech.2

The prospective sevenfold increase in strength between October 1942 and the following midyear indicates that the new command, which continued the name given its predecessor under Colonel Shingler in August 1942, was to pass through no ordinary reorganization. The snake was not shedding its skin for a new one; it was to become, and that in a space months, a brand new snake of which all that was to remain of its former state was its name. As the increase in size mirrors the increase in function, so the change in the location of headquarters, from the sea end of British line of communications, reflects the change in function. That change was the Combined Chiefs' directive to the new


command to insure an ever increasing flow of supplies to the USSR. At the same time, by order of the U.S. Chief of Staff, the PGSC was to continue the projects undertaken by the Iranian Mission. To accomplish .these missions-the one primary, the other secondary-General Connolly's Letter of Instructions authorized him to effect such reorganization of the PGSC as might be necessary.3

Between 20 October 1942 and the arrival, exactly one month later, of General Scott, who immediately became chief of staff, relieving Colonel Shingler, temporarily acting chief of staff, no important changes were made in organizational structure. Before Connolly's arrival the Shingler organization had consisted of a general staff of three for performance of S-1, 2, 3, and 4 duties at headquarters, a special staff of eighteen to supervise operations, and three territorial area commanders with headquarters at Basra, Ahwaz, and Tehran. There was also the separate organization of the Iranian District engineer at Ahwaz. The Shingler structure had been adequate for the direction of the old organization's limited operations in construction and assembly; but it required revamping to accommodate the new operational responsibilities in transport provided in the SOS Plan. In accordance with that plan's priorities for projected railway and port operations, Col. Paul F. Yount had reached Basra on 5 October to begin preliminary arrangements for taking over the ISR from the British. Some 1,200 officers and men for the Military Railway Service (MRS) landed at Khorramshahr on 11 and 12 December, and that organization's field career began formally on 17 December. Col. Donald P. Booth and five officers of his staff reached Basra on 1 November, followed in December by 940 officers and men of the port organization that was to serve under him. The advance echelon of the Motor Transport Service ( MTS ) arrived in December. In preparation for the commencement of work, seven general staff divisions and five operating services were set up on 25 November under the commanding general. As the preliminary planning in Washington had anticipated no need for territorial administrative subareas, the area commands established on 1 September by Colonel Shingler were left undisturbed pending further study. By recommendation on 26 November of Colonel Booth, Director of Ports, new instructions were issued to area commanders in view of the need to distinguish between their functions and those of the new operating services being set up alongside them. Area functions were defined as


"administrative control of all U.S. Army activities" in the respective areas: supply, housing, security, transportation, and procurement, but not storage or construction. Appointments to directive positions were made on 25 November for general staff divisions for administration, personnel, intelligence, plans and training, operation and supply, control, and movements; and to the following operating services: Railway, Ports, Motor Transport, Construction, and Signal Communication. A tentative organization chart, approved 30 November, shows also, as reporting to the commanding general through the chief of staff, but independent of the general staff divisions, an inspector general and a public relations branch.4

This was the first blueprint for the machine that was to move so many millions of tons of goods to the USSR, and it was to be modified repeatedly. While there was a tendency to consolidate general staff functions by a reduction of divisions in that category, executive and advisory offices tended to cluster about the chief of staff and the commanding general as certain new problems and responsibilities in dealing with other Allies in the Corridor cropped up and could not be assigned elsewhere. The functions of the seven general staff divisions are indicated by their titles; but there was some overlapping among them. Although the Personnel Division was charged with formulating general policy relating to the employment of civilian personnel by the operating services, the Control Division formulated labor relations policy also. Similarly, although there was a Construction Service-charged with designing and building authorized new projects and major modifications to existing installations including all roads, rail trackage, port structures, and utilities-nevertheless, the Railway Service was to construct such modifications to its facilities as were authorized and practicable for them to do with their own forces, and this same charge was laid upon the Ports Service. Maintenance and motor vehicle repair responsibilities were similarly divided among MTS, areas, and the Op-


erations and Supply Division. As time went on, some of these overlaps were eliminated in subsequent reorganizations.

The basic plan of command organization was a line and staff one. The line organization consisted of the operating services, the areas or districts, and exempted establishments, all directly responsible to GHQ. On them fell responsibility for the execution of the primary mission of the command. The operating services were concerned with direct field operation of ports, railway, motor transport, and signals activities. The areas or districts operated posts, camps, and stations located within their boundaries and, in addition, were charged with specific operational duties assigned by GHQ. Direct operational responsibility for assembly plants, for instance, belonged in theory to the districts, although general staff responsibilities sometimes overlapped. Exempted establishments were those installations which came under direct control of GHQ. The staff existed to advise the commanding general in the fields of their respective functions, to develop plans, formulate policies, and establish procedures. They supervised operational activities assigned them and sometimes through their field agencies directly controlled these operations. Soon after adoption of the first plan of organization in November, directors of general staff divisions, operating services, and territorial districts were called upon to submit to GHQ detailed plans and charts for their organizations.5 A brief review of some of the many reorganizations in administrative structure which followed will indicate in a broad fashion how changing function was reflected in the machinery.

An early reorganization of January 1943 can be regarded as mainly experimental, for it not only continued the dispersal of general staff functions among many divisions, but, by assigning the director of ports to general staff status, it departed from the basic principle which distinguished planning and direction of policy from operations. A reshuffle in March moved intelligence out of the general staff to an association with the Office of the Chief of Staff. The same happened to the Control Division which in June was redesignated the Executive Office of the Chief of Staff.6 A new Office of Technical Information was attached to the commanding general. It absorbed the previous Public Information Office, and included in addition an office for analyses to be made for the commanding general as contrasted to the logistical analyses entrusted to the former Control Division. The Office of Technical Information also included a Historical Section and sections for activi-


ties involving interpreters and military correspondents. In anticipation of the reduction of its role as an operating service, as construction of facilities caught up with the program, the Construction Service was abolished and its planning functions absorbed within a new Operations Division, which, destined to become the most important of the general staff divisions in the conduct of the primary mission of the command, absorbed also the former Plans and Training, and Movements Divisions. The Personnel Division went into Administration, leaving only three general staff divisions for Administration, Operations, and Supply. There were now three operating services, MRS, MTS, and the Signal Service. Ports Service was amalgamated with Basra District, which, with Ahwaz and Tehran Districts, made up the active territorial subareas.

The July chart, besides reflecting the redesignation of the previous May whereby the districts became Gulf, Desert, and Mountain, showed a number of new offices clustered about the Offices of the Commanding General and the Chief of Staff. These now comprised the Offices of the Inspector General and the Provost Marshal, the Executive Office of the Chief of Staff, and the Office of Technical Information. The Operations Division contained the following branches: Control (moved back from the Executive Office), Executive, Movements, Plants (responsible for assembly and container plant operations), and Construction. In a later reorganization, Executive Branch was replaced by Documentation Branch. The names of these branches give an idea of the general functions exercised by Operations Division as the clearinghouse and mainspring of all of the complicated co-ordination necessary to the carrying of supplies overland to the USSR. The workings of the process are shown in some detail later in this book where operation of the ports and the railway is discussed, and that aspect of administration is explained which shows what it meant to take a crate of canned fish from a ship lying in the Karun River and hand it over to the Soviet representatives where and when they wanted or needed it for the particular war needs wired to them from their commanders and supply experts responsible for provisioning the Eastern Front. Ship discharge, overland routing, and delivery were operational phases of the logistical process which affected the "ultimate consumer," the USSR, very closely; but these were in turn conditioned by the total flow of tonnages to and through the Corridor.

The flow to the Corridor was determined by allocations under the several Russian protocols. The rate of arrivals was subject to shipping and to the capacity of Corridor facilities at ports and for inland clearance. Calculations were based upon the collection and correct interpre-


tation and prompt dissemination of statistics affecting capacities and operations. The Control Branch was responsible for the calculations which regulated an even flow of traffic and sought to utilize all available equipment. For this purpose it maintained close liaison with the British, the Russians, the ports, and all the forwarding agencies.7 A meeting was held bimonthly to determine the capacities of the ports, assembly plants, and transportation agencies. This meeting studied current operational activities, including the motive power and rolling stock of the railway; car utilization and turnaround; the effect of non-Russian-aid requirements on MRS, MTS, and UKCC; the number of trucks and aircraft that could be assembled; and the number of ships that could be berthed and discharged in a month's time. Then Washington was advised of the capacity so that the proper number of ships could be allocated. Those who attended the capacity meetings were the regional director, War Shipping Administration, a representative of the British Ministry of War Transport, and representatives of UKCC, British Movements, Baghdad, and British Movements, Tehran; and, for the U.S. Army, the assistant chief of staff for Operations, and representatives of Movements, Plant, and Control Branches, Operations Division, as well as of MRS, MTS, and the Office of the Petroleum Adviser.

Following the capacity meeting, a joint target meeting was held for the purpose of determining the maximum cargo that could be moved within the limits of the capacity of the Corridor. The arrival of ships and the available cargo in storage areas (backlog) had to be considered because these factors would affect the size of the target. If ships scheduled to arrive in a certain month were delayed, the target would be greater if there was a sufficient backlog available for forwarding than if the storage areas were nearly empty. In addition to the representatives of British and American agencies who attended the capacity meetings, the USSR had the following representatives at the target meetings: the chief of the Soviet Transportation Commission, the chief of Iransovtrans, and two other Soviet transport experts. Each agency presented a report at these meetings.

The MRS furnished information on total capacity of the railroad already determined at the capacity meeting, along with estimates of the number of days' turnaround for freight cars in the USSR zone, monthly bulk fuel requirements for railway operations, and internal requirements for the Iranian civilian economy. The MTS reported its capacity as determined at the capacity meeting. The petroleum adviser


acted in a supervisory capacity concerning the requirements and commitments of the U.S. Army, the USSR, the local civilian economy, and various transport agencies, for petroleum products. The assistant chief of staff for Operations was chairman of the meeting and exercised staff responsibility for the whole program. His Control Branch was responsible for co-ordinating, analyzing, and assembling all information pertaining to the target figure. His Movements Branch analyzed all traffic operations through the Corridor. His Plants Branch furnished information on the number of trucks and aircraft arriving, and being assembled, and the amount of cargo the assembled motor vehicles could carry north. The British representatives were responsible for estimating .the tonnage of petroleum and wheat products to be moved and for indicating how they should be transported to their destinations. In addition, they supplied information on total Iranian civil and British military needs. The Soviet representatives8 were responsible for accepting all USSR cargo moving .through the Corridor, and for forwarding it into the USSR. In the process of establishing the monthly target, their requests and suggestions were fundamental to the task. Much lengthy discussion at these meetings was bypassed by previous exchange of information by letter. Informal meetings were also customary between Movements and Control Branches, the MRS, MTS, and British Army Movements.

The procedure just outlined may be taken as the average; it does not necessarily represent the way things were literally done at any given period. It was a device made as simple and efficient as the cumbersome circumstances permitted; but it took a lot of paper, and a lot of desks and filing cabinets to make it work. The general outlines assumed by Operations Division in the March 1943 reorganization, when it drew together many functions hitherto scattered, were refined and modified in succeeding reorganizations; but the machine itself proved to have attained workable form very early in the history of the command.

A reorganization of November 1943 produced quite a shuffle. The provost marshal went from the level of the commanding general's group of offices to the general staff level, and was replaced at the commanding general's level by the petroleum adviser. Fiscal matters were separated from the Administration Division and made into a Fiscal Division of the general staff. On the operating level, Ports Service reappeared on


the charts with the three other services ( MRS, MTS, Signal) but was connected through dual command to Gulf District. It was generally felt9 that by the middle of 1944 the structure of the command had evolved into a smooth-running machine, and the absence of that sort of acute administrative jitters which gave birth to the word snafu was marked. The chart of the October 1944 reorganization therefore crystallizes the blueprint for the machine whose performance in moving supplies to Russia reached its peak in that year. Only the Offices of the Inspector General and of Technical Information remained directly attached to the commanding general; a special staff was created to include the Offices of the Executive Officer, the Petroleum Adviser, the Provost Marshal, and the Headquarters Commandant; and, as indication of the prominence now given to the increasing activities of the Air Transport Command in the area, the special staff included an air officer. The general staff divisions remained at four; but the Fiscal Division had grown as the complex functions of finance had grown. It now consisted of a big headquarters office at Tehran, and thirteen field branches. Operations Division, with its five branches (Control, Movements, Plants, Documentation, and Construction), now possessed eleven field offices.

The reorganization of December 1944 reflects the passing of the peak work load for the command and the beginning of reduction of the administrative machine, especially in the territorial areas. Of these, only the Mountain District, now called Tehran Area, remained. Gulf affairs were absorbed partly by Ports Service, partly by assumption of functions by Operations Division. Administrative services, formerly handled in rather complicated fashion for MRS by the several territorial areas through which the rail line passed, were now assigned to the single MRS directorate to carry on under more unified control. Desert District had disappeared to be replaced by a more restricted Andimeshk Area. This tendency to eliminate the full headquarters apparatus for the territorial areas and to amalgamate their functions with those of local posts continued in the February 1945 reorganization, which shows Mountain District affairs handled by Amirabad Post, and Desert District affairs by Andimeshk Post, no longer regarded as an area.

The March chart is unchanged from February, save for the appearance on the special staff of a liquidation commissioner, a reflection of the vast task that lay ahead when the job would be done and installations and equipment to the value of tens of millions of dollars would


have to be disposed of. After March 1945, the process of contraction continued as military strength was reduced and projects were finished or abandoned.

In a memorandum for staff divisions and directors of operating services at the time of the December 1944 reorganization, the chief of staff, then General Booth, noted that the new plan "has been predicated upon the assumption that the elimination of Districts would effect, an appreciable saving in overhead personnel."10 This was not the first allusion to be made to the overmanning of the administrative side in the building of the machine. A report made by the Plans and Training Branch, Operations Division, as early as May 1943, developed the estimate that, according to planned disposition of personnel, present and to come, "Out of a total of 1,522 officers slated for duty in the PGSC, 44.5% are to be engaged in administrative, staff and supply duties, while 55.5 % are to be actually engaged in the 'Aid-to-Russia' program. Considering all personnel, officers and enlisted men, 36.3a/o are to be engaged in administrative, staff and supply duties, while 63.7 % will be engaged in the primary mission of the command."11 Although this report recommended economy in future administrative planning for utilization of manpower, economy was not always achieved; and in the over-all structure of the command, perhaps the feature most vulnerable to overmanning was that of the administrative territorial subareas.

The Districts

When Colonel Shingler set up his geographical subareas in September 1942, the chief motive was to provide American opposite numbers for the British officials with whom the Americans had to deal in matters of local procurement and local maintenance of their projects. Because of the small size of the American command and the limited nature of American responsibilities for construction and assembly operations, these local transactions were vital to the welfare of the projects and required the elimination of any delay in obtaining decisions such as had taken place when varieties of local requests from un-co-ordinated field agencies had to be processed. The areas provided the needed co-ordination. The new American command, however, seas designed to be self-sufficient, and was big enough to maintain local offices able to take care of its local needs without the intervention of established British agencies, many of which, with the enlargement of


Map 3, The Districts


The area of Gulf District included all of Iraq and the south shore of the Gulf. The district was previously known as Southwestern Area and as Basra District. Its headquarters was moved from Basra to Khorramshahr in May 1943.

Desert District was first called Central Area, then Ahwaz Service District. Its headquarters was moved from Ahwaz to Andimeshk in November 1943.

Mountain District, whose headquarters was always at Tehran, was organized first as Northern Area, then redesignated Tehran District.

Zahidan was to have been the headquarters of an Eastern Area which was never activated.

the American force, had reduced their own numbers. During the planning period in Washington for the new command it had been expected that the pattern of the U.S. corps area, or service command, would be followed and that the several field operating services would be responsible for their own field maintenance. After his arrival in the field, however, General Connolly realized that the diverse sorts of personnel (stevedores, truck drivers, railroad men, signals technicians, construc-


tion men; and their far-flung activities called for a uniform administrative and supply system for their maintenance. Accordingly, after a brief period in which the old Shingler areas were left undisturbed, their duties were modified in November, and in December they were redesignated and reorganized.12 The function of the new districts was defined as follows by General Order 11:

Districts are organized for the purpose of decentralizing administration, housekeeping, and construction functions within designated geographical areas. The District Headquarters are sub-headquarters of the Central Headquarters, Persian Gulf Service Command, and, as such, report directly to the Commanding General. The District Commanders do not exercise command over the units assigned to Services and Divisions. They will, however, exercise control over general administration, housekeeping, hospitalization, housing, and general supply for all establishments within their jurisdiction. Their responsibilities will also include internal security, labor relations, local procurement of supplies and services as authorized by the Commanding General, all operating under general policies promulgated by the parent staff division of General Headquarters . . . .

Services are operating units with definite responsibilities. The districts are organized to facilitate the operations of the services; they have no control over the employment of units not specifically assigned to them. The District functions best when it renders greatest service to the units operating in its territory.

That was the theory: the district commander, as deputy of the commanding general in his own area, co-ordinated the activities of the several operating agencies within his area, applying to this duty the general policies laid down by the general staff divisions. Although the district commander had no control over the targets and schedules of the operating services, he was empowered to settle any disputes among them which might arise within his district, and to reconcile conflicting requisitions which might pass through his headquarters. At no time in the history of the districts did the operating services feel it necessary to appeal to the commanding general the decision of a district commander.13 Beyond maintaining, training, and disciplining the troops within their areas, providing local security, and co-ordinating operations, the district commanders came in time to exercise important operating responsibilities of their own. In this respect the general theory of the subcommands was stretched rather far.

The instructions given district commanders in November 1942 had exempted them from responsibility for construction, which was to be performed throughout the command by one of the then existing operating services, the Construction Service. The Construction Service was abolished in the reorganization of March 1943 and its purely planning,


standard-setting, and policy functions transferred to Operations Division of the general staff at Tehran. Even before this, General Order 11 had in December 1942 foreshadowed the coming decentralization of construction responsibilities by assigning to the Ahwaz District, in which lay the headquarters of the Iranian District engineer, all construction duties for building at the ports, which lay in Basra District. In May, the districts were made responsible for all new construction within their boundaries authorized by GHQ.14 The other important direct operating responsibility laid upon these nominally administrative agencies was that for the running of the aircraft, motor vehicle, barge, and container plants. As the Construction Branch, Operations Division, formulated policy and exercised general supervision over construction within the several districts, so at first the Supply Division, and later Plants Branch, Operations Division, acted in behalf of these other projects.

One factor in the manning of the district headquarters organizations makes it difficult to determine the extent of their drain on the available pool of manpower in a command whose primary duty was movement of supplies. With their separate staff sections and organization charts patterned after GHQ, the districts constituted a sort of superimposition, administratively, of Pelion upon Ossa. The difficulty arises from the fact that a considerable proportion of the headquarters staffs of most of the districts were manned by officers and men who belonged to operating services at work in the area. It has been estimated that 350 persons staffed the three district headquarters at their maximum, and of these many were also performing operational work at the same time.15 Yet it must be realized that any headquarters with a full staff has more work for some members than for others, and that some duties of a headquarters nature are nominal. Furthermore, a headquarters must provide for its own maintenance, and this can mushroom into a variety of service units which must be provisioned, housed, paid, and accounted for-with the usual paper work and clatter of typewriters. At the start, the district organizations were necessary to handle tasks impossible for the operating services to perform for themselves, and to


provide uniformity of standards and economies in administration. As time went on, however, the larger posts within the districts became familiar with the work of the districts and therefore could, theoretically, have supplanted the district organizations. This process occurred in a few instances even before the contraction in command organization set in; but its general application was delayed beyond the time, stated to have been any time after July 1944, when it could, theoretically, have occurred. Posts did not wholly supplant the district organizations until January 1945.16 Perhaps the outstanding example of overstaffing of this sort was the Mountain District headquarters, located at Camp Amirabad right next door to GHQ itself. Its function was the administration of the immediate vicinity of GHQ, and yet there was GHQ, and there also was the headquarters staff of Camp Amirabad. In January 1945 this anomaly was righted by the abolition of Mountain District.

The question whether the virtues of the district system outweighed its defects would require, for answer, detailed examination of a mass of evidence. When it is considered that the districts provided decentralized administration for widely disparate operations extending over an area as large as Texas and California combined, and that structural organization necessarily reflects the complexity of the function it is designed to execute, the conclusion is unavoidable that, although the districts were expensive in terms of manpower, they contributed to the accomplishment of the American mission. The whole matter of the administrative machine cannot justly be judged as one would measure the time studies of a long-established chain-store system whose operations have been streamlined by efficiency experts.

Evolution of the Persian Gulf Command

The rearrangements in the internal structure of the command, which were required to accomplish its increased functions, were accompanied by a readjustment of its administrative and command relationships to headquarters of USAFIME at Cairo. Of the three chief pieces of unfinished business left by the SOS Plan and the directive of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, that of the independence of the new American command in the Persian Corridor was the thorniest. The other two dangling compromises of September 1942-the control of movements (whether to be British, as hitherto, or American) and security for operations-depended in no small measure for their resolution upon the


ability of the American command at Tehran to act authoritatively and promptly without recourse to echelons imposed between itself and Washington.

When the PGSC was so designated in August 1942, as a part of the unification of the U.S. Middle East theater, it was directly under the commanding general of USAFIME, General Maxwell. This was still its status when Connolly supplanted Shingler on 20 October. But when General Andrews relieved General Maxwell on 4 November 1942 and Maxwell became Commanding General, SOS, USAFIME, the PGSC dropped one rung further down the ladder of command and found itself designated as one of the service commands of USAFIME along with the Eritrea, Delta, and Levant service commands, with none of whose tasks or problems it had anything in common whatsoever, either qualitatively or quantitatively. The subsequent ascent up the ladder toward independent command lasted just over one year, during which time, although there was a steady drift toward Tehran's autonomy, command responsibility for the increasingly complex job in Iran rested in Cairo, more than a thousand miles away.

General Connolly's Letter of Instructions of 1 October 1942 had placed him under the "administrative supervision" of the commanding general of USAFIME and this phrase was subject to varying interpretations by Maxwell and Connolly. When General Marshall issued his Letter of Instructions of 24 October to General Andrews it was explained that "administrative supervision" meant "command" and Andrews was instructed to exercise all the prerogatives of a commander over PGSC.17 This tightening of the grip of Cairo was followed, after the early November changes at USAFIME headquarters, by General Maxwell's calling for "a multiplicity of detailed reports" from PGSC and issuing "a lot of instructions, the gist of which was that nearly everything had to be approved in Cairo before action could be taken." As General Connolly put it, "We were tied hand and foot as far as getting anything done was concerned."18 Although the mission of PGSC was now very different from the earlier mission under Colonel Shingler, administrative procedures suffered as they had earlier when it sometimes took as long as three weeks for PGSC to get a reply from Cairo on pending matters.19 In the important field of direct negotiations between the American command and the British there was a seeming


contradiction between Connolly's instructions and the views held by Maxwell in Cairo. Connolly's instructions permitted him to deal directly with the British, Iranians, and Russians on all matters not requiring diplomatic channels, provided Cairo was informed and provided this information was furnished in accordance with instructions emanating from Cairo. Difference in interpretation of the Washington instructions in this respect was resolved when Maxwell informed Connolly on 14 November that by agreement between American and British headquarters at Cairo, liaison between PGSC and PAI Force would henceforth be made directly between Connolly and General Wilson.20 But the larger question of command relationship remained for solution.

On 12 December General Andrews, accompanied by his staff, went to Basra on the first official visit to the Corridor on strictly theater business made by a commander of USAFIME since the unification of the previous June.21 As a result of conferences between Andrews and Connolly, agreement was reached to relieve PGSC from assignment to SOS, USAFINIE, and to put it directly under the commanding general. Connolly wrote Andrews, after the tatter's return to Cairo, "The proposed change will in my opinion clear up the confusion which now exists and will greatly facilitate the operations of this command . . . . Your trip over here has had a marked influence on morale, indicating to the personnel that you consider the work they are doing to be important to the war effort." To General Somervell, Connolly wrote, "Our relations with Cairo have been cleared up."22 It would have been perhaps more accurate to have said that they had been clarified; for although General Andrews' proposed action was to begin a new period of greater autonomy, it did not bring independence.

The first step toward autonomy was formalized by the issuance on 20 January 1943 of a clarifying directive to Connolly from Cairo. It provided that he could henceforth requisition directly upon the War Department; it delegated to him authority to represent the Commanding General, USAFIME, in negotiations with the British, Irani, and Iraqi representatives, with final authority reposing in Connolly for all matters not requiring diplomatic channels; and it empowered him to procure personnel beyond that already authorized to go through USAFIME, as well as to submit recommendations for promotions. Connolly was authorized to undertake any construction necessary to


accomplish his mission but to obtain approval from Cairo for all other construction.23

Beyond this point the further evolution of PGSC toward independence of command became involved with the .twin questions of intelligence activities and security responsibilities. Here the basic point at issue was whether the carrying on of routine intelligence activities by the American command was consistent with its primary mission of delivering supplies to the USSR. It had been assumed in the planning period at Washington that, as Averell Harriman put it to the Strategic Planning Division, SOS, the new command ought to possess "a good G-2 in the headquarters [toy keep in touch with the military situation and also with the sabotage situation."24 Accordingly a supplementary Letter of Instructions had been issued to General Connolly on 21 October 1942 by Maj. Gen. George V. Strong, G-2, War Department, placing under Connolly's command all War Department intelligence personnel in Iran and Iraq and on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; their selection, location, transfer, and administration .to be determined by the War Department.25

On 26 March 1943 General Connolly sent the following message to General Marshall:

Supplemental letter of instructions . . . charges this command with responsibility for War Department intelligence for this theater. Experience has shown that this is not compatible with my primary mission and Russians very suspicious of our G-2 activities since they see no need for such activities in furthering our mission. This suspicion of our motives is hampering our obtaining the operational data we must have in order to carry out efficiently our primary mission. As our operations increase in volume it will become of even greater importance that the Russians have confidence in our sincerity of purpose. Under decision of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, British have full responsibility for security our operations south of the vicinity of Tehran inclusive, which necessarily includes collection of necessary intelligence. If the situation ever develops that we do any operating north of the vicinity of Tehran26 Russians will have full responsibility for security. Thus the PGSC as such has no need for military intelligence.27


Operations Division, Washington, promptly revoked the supplementary Letter of Instructions, and effective 1 May the Intelligence Division of General Connolly's general staff was dissolved, and all military intelligence functions of the American command abolished save only map procurement and distribution, and censorship. These functions were assigned to the provost marshal. As a part of this sweeping gesture of friendly compliance with Russian desires, all intelligence offices in the various district headquarters were likewise abolished.28

Although this decisive action removed from Connolly responsibility for intelligence activities while his command remained subordinate to Cairo, the feeling in Washington that such responsibility properly belonged to an independent theater commander again made the question an issue in the negotiations to separate Tehran from Cairo, for Connolly remained unwilling, even as a theater commander, to worry the Russians by sponsoring an intelligence division. When Maj. Gen. W. D. Styer, Chief of Staff, ASF, passed through Tehran in June en route to the China-Burma-India theater, he and General Connolly discussed the status of PGSC and the efficiencies that might be obtained through independence of Cairo. As a result of Styer's report to Washington of this discussion, General Marshall informed Connolly that "it is believed administrative delays due to distance from Cairo can be reduced considerably by delegation to your headquarters of further powers to which the Commanding General, USAFIME may be agreeable." What followed was a delegation of power to Connolly to make contracts; to return officers and enlisted men to the zone of the interior; to reclassify, promote, and appoint officers; and to exercise the power to review conferred on theater commanders by War Department Circular 21 of 15 January 1943.29 But Washington still believed that if PGSC were established as an independent theater, it should possess an intelligence division. At a conference at Cairo later in the summer Connolly is reported to have said that "any high-powered G-2 activities under his jurisdiction would interfere with his


primary mission, that is, the supply of equipment to the Russians."30 Washington decided to leave the question of independent command in abeyance inasmuch as Brereton, who had succeeded Andrews, was shortly to be relieved as Commanding General, USAFIME.31

The new USAFIME commander, Maj. Gen. Ralph Royce, took over on 10 September. As a result of correspondence and personal consultation between Royce and Connolly over the following months, and of consultations with high officials from Washington who came to Tehran for the three-power conference held there from 28 November to 1 December, a new Letter of Instructions was issued by General Marshall to General Connolly under date of 10 December 1943.32

Effective that date, the new Persian Gulf Command (PGC ) became directly responsible to the War Department through OPD. The mission of the command was broadly worded. It was "to further the objective of the United States in the prosecution of the war." Primary was the continuance of the task imposed by CCS 109/1. In addition, the Commanding General, PGC, was to co-ordinate American activities under his command with those of other United Nations; to direct and control representation of the War Department in dealings with friendly governments in all matters not requiring diplomatic channels; to carry on supply activities, and all Army Air Forces activities except the Air Transport Command; and to exercise the usual powers and perform the usual administrative duties of a theater commander. Although the whole area of Saudi Arabia was reserved to USAFIME, it was provided that the Commanding General, USAFIME, might delegate to the Commanding General, PGC, construction activities by the U.S. Army "in the eastern part of that country," as well as the representation of the War Department in negotiations or other actions pertaining to the development or production of petroleum products by U.S. interests in eastern Saudi Arabia.33 In continued deference to the wishes of the Russians, only such intelligence activity was authorized as was necessary to the security of the new command and this was carried on as a part of the routine work of the provost marshal. The


PGC did not set up a G-2 division, and General Connolly exercised intelligence responsibility only for such investigations as pertained to the safety of American operations in moving supplies to the Soviet receiving points.

With the command relationship to Cairo thus settled, PGC settled down to devote its energies directly, and without the administrative complexities inherent in the earlier command structure, to its primary mission. The year 1944, which produced peak deliveries to the USSR, saw also the rounding out of the administrative machine. On 24 December General Connolly was relieved as Commanding General, PGC, in order to become deputy commissioner of the Army-Navy Liquidation Commission at Washington. He was to return to the Corridor a year later to serve briefly as director of Foreign Liquidation.

Succeeding Connolly as commanding general was General Booth, an engineer graduate of West Point (1926 ) who, like Connolly and Scott, had seen service in district engineer work in the United States, particularly at Rock Island, Illinois, and at Seattle. He came to the command of PGC via the posts of Ports Service director, commander of Basra District, director of Operations Division, and chief of staff.34 Following General Booth as chief of staff was Col. Samuel M. Thomas, who had come into the Corps of Engineers through the Officers' Reserve Corps, and whose specialized training included courses at the Army Signal Corps School and the Command and General Staff School. He served as director of the Signal Service from his arrival in the Corridor late in 1942 to his assignment as chief of staff in January 1945. When Thomas, then a brigadier general, was ordered to the United States in July 1945 he was succeeded as chief of staff by Col. Gustav A. M. Anderson. Anderson had served in the command as director of the MTS, commanding officer of the Mountain District until its inactivation, and assistant chief of staff for Administration. When General Booth was ordered to the United States in August 1945, Colonel Anderson became Commanding Officer, PGC, and saw the American effort in the Persian Corridor through to the end. His chief of staff was Lt. Col. Edwin B. Woodworth.35


Division of Responsibility With the British

To the extent that structural  organization provides the means for executing functions, the structure of the American command and its status with regards to USAFIME headquarters at Cairo were both subject to the status of American responsibilities relative to the controlling British powers and duties. The SOS Plan provided a definition of American function and suggested skeletal organization . The directive of the Combined Chiefs defined  the continuing duties of the British under the Tri Partite Treaty. It was left to the British and American commanders in the field to work out the problem of fitting the new American command and its functions into framework of these British responsibilities. 

Accordingly, during the early months in which the new arrived American service troops were taking over certain British functions assigned by CCS 109/1, British and American headquarters were studying problems. it was soon apparent that the central aspect of the problem of meshing the activity of the two command s was control of movements. This was the governor of the machine, the means by which the whole process of discharge of cargo at the ports, allocation of traffic, and inland clearance was regulated. At a meeting held at Tehran on 7 April 1943 a joint agreement for the control of movements in Iran was assigned, to become effective when PGSC was ready to take over movements responsibility. On 21 April, PGSC notified PAI Force that American command would be ready to take over on 1 May; and from tha date Movements Branch, Operations Division, assumed responsibility of the British.36 This aspect of the agreement, whereby one party retained the last word while delegating actual authority to the other party, maks the highes and most difficult achievemnt in the Persian Corridor experiment in co-operation. Only a high degree of tolerance between the partners in so complex an intermeshing of prerogatives could have assured the assured the successful operation of the agreed plan.

The joint agreement began by restarting by restating British resposibility for


internal security; for providing all possible assistance to insure the maximum of aid to Russia; and for the control of priorities of traffic in Iran. The American responsibility for delivery of maximum tonnage to the USSR was also restated. Under the first point, internal security, British responsibility entailed provision "of such garrisons in Persia as may be considered necessary; the maintenance of the food and fuel requirements of the civilian population; and of the requirements of essential industries." British logistical responsibility, under the second point, was defined as embracing the discharge of goods at Iraqi ports and their carriage over the line of communications through Iraq; the provision of port lighterage and inland water transport on the Karun River; the provision of military or UKCC motor transport over the Khanaqin Lift; and undertaking the improvement and maintenance of road communications with such American assistance as might be decided upon jointly between the parties to the agreement. Under the third point, over-all British responsibility for priorities was to be exercised through the machinery of the monthly target and capacity meetings which were held under American chairmanship; and priorities for movement of British military and essential civil traffic would be requested by British Movements of the American command which would take the necessary action. The movement of American personnel, military freight, and aid-to-Russia tonnages was to be under American control. In the event that local agreement could not be reached between British and American representatives to accommodate demands for movement of British categories of traffic within the current capacities determined for aid-to-Russia tonnages, the matter was to be referred to GHQ, PAI Force. If a decision were rendered on that or any other matter by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, PAI Force, contrary to CCS 109/1, the Commanding General, PGSC, was authorized by his Letter of Instructions-in conformity with the terms of the Combined Chiefs' directive and instructions to General Wilson of PAI Force-to report the matter immediately through the U.S. Joint Chiefs to the Combined Chiefs. No such appeal was made at any time.

The agreement assigned to .the Americans authority over movements hitherto exercised by the British, except for movements required for British military personnel and stores, and essential civilian needs including oil. As the Americans were primarily concerned with aid-to-Russia movements, the arrangement left .them effective control of the lion's share of inland clearance over their own line of communications from the Gulf to Soviet receiving points in the north, and it gave them also the right of fitting British requirements into the larger pattern,


subject to appeal to British headquarters. Short of a grant of absolute authority, impossible to give an auxiliary force not an occupying power in Iran, this arrangement accomplished the necessary centralization of the chief means of traffic movement the lack of which had hitherto plagued the aid-to-Russia program in the Corridor.

The joint agreement left the control of inland water transport in British hands, including the allocation of barges and lighters; but monthly capacity of barge lift was determined at the monthly capacity meeting at which the American voice was strong. Allocation of incoming shipping as between ports in Iran and Iraq likewise remained with the Basra Transport Executive Committee, on which sat representatives of the British Ministry of War Transport, GHQ, PAI Force, the War Shipping Administration, the PGSC, and the USSR. At American-operated ports, British Movements was to be responsible only for arrangements connected with embarkation and disembarkation of British military and Polish personnel. At British-operated ports, the British were responsible for all documentation and handling of stores, including those for American and USSR account. On the ISR the British Movements staff was similarly responsible only for arranging with the American staff for movement of British and Polish personnel and stores, for essential civilian traffic, and for the necessary documentation for those movements. In motor transport, the American command was responsible for the co-ordination of its own truck fleets with those of UKCC and ultimately exercised complete control over all traffic on American highway routes, while British control prevailed in all respects over the uses to which British highway routes were to be put. The American command, in consultation with British Movements, was made responsible for obtaining disposal instructions and priorities from the Soviet authorities for all cargo destined for the USSR, and the Americans were to notify British Movements Control at Tehran of the instructions regarding Soviet cargo handled by the British through British-operated ports.

The joint agreement was essentially a division of responsibility according to function. Each party retained authority for its internal necessities, and each received authority for those of its duties which may be called external: in the British case, for its obligations as an occupying power toward the Iranian civil population; in the American case, for the movement of goods to Russia, which constituted the bulk of all movements in the region. Yet within the broadly defined and clearly distinguishable areas of responsibility, it is plain that the functioning of transport required, at almost every step, a close collaboration and a delicate balancing of prerogatives. In the process the wheels of


the Anglo-American machine developed some friction. The Americans, for instance, chafed at British controls over inland water transport. But on the whole the control of movements remained the outstanding instance of successful co-operation.

The joint agreement, while affirming British responsibility for internal security, was not concerned in detail with that problem, beyond stating that the American command was responsible for guarding American traffic and for notifying British Movements Control when guards would be required for Soviet cargo. "The responsibility for providing required guards rests on British Movements." That was the theory, which, stated another way, provided that American security responsibility was confined to American installations other than those classified as direct aid-to-Russia installations, and to protection of cargoes solely for American military requirements. All other security responsibility was in the hands of the British. As defined by them this covered

"The ports of Khorramshahr and Bandar-Gulf [Bandar Shahpur], American Aid-to-Russia plant at Abadan, the rail line of communications to Teheran, barge traffic on the Karun and Shatt-al-Arab rivers, vehicle traffic on the Khorramshahr-Kazvin road route, also all installations on those routes used by the Americans for Aid-to-Russia traffic."37

This was, in effect, a sweeping British assumption of security control over virtually the entire American effort in the Persian Corridor. Theoretically, the arrangement was of advantage to the American command inasmuch as it relieved it of the necessity to provide large numbers of investigative and police personnel. Practically, because the British were physically unable to provide equivalent necessary police protection for the activities and installations included in their field of responsibility, the burden was divided, and that part of it which was borne by the American command was exercised by virtue of the security authority possessed by the British. The American provost marshal, Lt. Col. George P. Hill, Jr., estimated that to carry out their security obligations properly, the British would have needed to double their military strength in all categories of troops.38 But after Stalingrad the British removed the Tenth Army from the area and reduced military strength as much as possible. In view of the ever present problems of pilferage, theft, banditry, and the threat of sabotage to the railway and other in-


stallations, the Americans were forced into providing security measures of their own while relying at the same time upon the British. In general practice, British security forces were used for protection against tribal disturbances, banditry, and sabotage; American, for local guard duties. But even this division of labor was not so clear-cut as it sounds, for in practice it was not possible to draw a sharp distinction in the face of a situation calling for immediate action. In consequence-unlike the division of responsibility for movements control, which was reasonably distinct and where lines of responsibility and command were clear-security problems were a source of constant, if usually minor, irritation between the British and American forces. Because of the primary responsibility of the British in security matters American representatives were in a subordinate position at security conferences with British, Russian, and Iranian authorities. British officials made the final decisions in shaping policy, determining procedures, and defining the limits of responsibility.

In this connection the provost marshal records:

The British once refused to furnish guards for an oil storage tank along the railroad on the grounds that the oil was not intended for Russian consumption, although this storage constituted the principal source of gasoline supply for the Southern Division of our Motor Transport Service. Upon practically all occasions where questions of policy were discussed it became necessary for PGC to take the firmest possible stand to insure that the British did not use the loophole of definition to evade their full responsibility.39

Colonel Hill gives a further illustration of the embarrassments inherent in the American position:

Too often U.S. requests for action have been treated with maddening delay and perfunctoriness. To give a specific example: An American truck was fired upon in the Gulf District by ruff-cans of a nomad tribe. The District Provost Marshal went out to investigate the incident and himself was fired upon. Military Police followed the camel tracks of the offenders to the entrance of their village, then reported the incident immediately to British security personnel. The British wasted three days consulting with their consul and conferring with one official and another over the question who should take action, British or Iranian authorities. By the time the issue was decided the nomads had trekked on beyond possibility of apprehension. It was a different story a few days later when another group of nomads fired upon a British colonel. An entire company of Punjabs raced to the scene and quickly captured the guilty parties.

These incidents, typical of the sort of difficulty that arose because of the anomalous position the Americans held as nonoccupying-power nationals in Iran, illustrate that at its worst the vague division of re-


sponsibility left the Americans unprotected, whereas at its best, the security situation functioned only through close and sympathetic cooperation by the Americans with the British but without command responsibility or control. The arrangement, unavoidable so long as the Combined Chiefs' directive imposed entire responsibility in PAI Force, was unfortunate, for it both failed to provide entirely satisfactory security for the American operations and created considerable ill feeling in the ranks. In the words of the provost marshal, "Anglophobia became a common disease of the American provost personnel."

Although this situation was a fly in the ointment of generally satisfactory Anglo-American relations in the Corridor, it never endangered the effectiveness of operations in the area. If it had, the policy would have required review by the Combined Chiefs. The British proved entirely able to cope with the defense of the area, as was shown by their arrest in August 1943 of the celebrated German agent, Franz Mayer, chief of German intelligence in Iran, along with thirty-one of his accomplices who were employed on the ISR. And the combined efforts of British, American, Soviet, and Iranian authorities succeeded in reducing looting and attacks upon trains and truck convoys to a minimum. It was only in its minor aspects that the situation proved more annoying than dangerous.

Because of its adverse (if minor) effect upon the Anglo-American partnership, it may be wondered why the policy-makers, even if they failed to heed American warnings in the planning period and went ahead with the Combined Chief's plan, did not bring about some modification which, while not called for through any distinct peril to the operations, would have eliminated a fruitful source of friction. For they were well and truly warned. In June 1942' Colonel Shingler, whose responsibilities, it will be recalled, were limited to construction and assembly projects for the British in the aid-to-Russia program, asked Washington for a military police unit for control of American soldiers, seamen, and civilians and for protection of U.S. equipment and assembly plants. Even at that time he noted that British protective irieasures were "insufficient and sabotage (presented) serious problems."40 During the planning period immediately preceding adoption of the SOS Plan, General Strong presented a memorandum to General Somervell citing cables received from the American military attache' at Tehran to the effect that British interest in the security of the ISR was very considerably less than the military attache' thought it ought to be. One of these messages contained the statement, "I feel that in order


to carry out our great program of shipping supplies through Iran . . . we must transcend the political policies of British rule in Iran."41

Shingler did not get his MP's, and when the SOS Plan tables of organization were drawn up, they provided for one military police battalion and one military police company. After Connolly's arrival in the field, with the outcome of battle at Stalingrad still perilously uncertain, and a deterioration of economic, social, and political conditions in Iran, he, too, requested Washington to increase the number of MP units authorized or the new command.42 On 11 December the 727th MP Battalion arrived with the first shipload of service troops. It was followed on 7 August 1943 by the 788th MP Battalion. As of 30 April 1944 the eight companies of these two battalions, scattered in small detachments among seventeen locations in the command, were the only MP personnel under Connolly's command, and they were not of the first quality.43 To assist them in their local duties, other men were drawn from operations and hastily trained. It was clearly Washington policy, in view of the British responsibility for security matters, to limit American power in the Corridor to act in the same matters. And as time went on and certain annoyances developed, no one was willing to disturb the status quo. Security is an essential and inalienable function of military command, and military command in the Corridor south of Tehran, in all aspects which relied upon control of security measures, was British. Even if it had been possible, under the Tri-Partite Treaty, for the British to designate areas over which they would delegate military authority to the American command, that delegation would have caused the right of the Americans to be present at all to be challenged by the other signatories to the treaty.44 Subordination in security matters was a part of the price the Americans paid to serve the Allied cause in the Persian Corridor.



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