Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Edward N. Hurley, Chairman, United States Shipping Board, to Raymond B. Stevens, Vice-Chairman, United States Shipping Board and United States Representative, Allied Maritime Transport Council

              TROOP TRANSPORT    SPECIAL LETTERS

6 Copies          

AMERICAN SECTION

ALLIED MARITIME TRANSPORT COUNCIL

Copy of

INCOMING TELEGRAM

Received      April 6th, 1918.

     TO      Stevens

     FROM    Hurley

     DATED   April 5th 4 p.m.

     RECEIVED April 6th 2 p.m.

     NUMBER   (7144) 16 (Reference Number 45-D)

              PARAPHRASE

     The following message is Board’s State 16. For Stevens from Hurley.

     Taking action upon request of the Inter-Allied Supreme War Council for the greatest possible immediate military participation by America, our Chief Executive has determined, after having a conference with the representatives of the English and the French and the needs of the different Departments of the United States Government, to make the following additions to the American military program:

     (1)  The minimum number of troops that the United States will transport over-seas to France monthly will be 91,000. This movement will start April first, 1918. To transport these men all available transports of the United States, all transports loaned by Great Britain, and also liners of both America and England will be used to aid this movement. It is understood that England has promised such additional tonnage as will suffice to carry a minimum of 29,000 additional men monthly. This will mean 120,000 men a month as the lowest amount.

     (2)  It is also our intention that a cargo movement shall be inaugurated and followed consisting of necessary engineering materials for ports and lines of communication, also that part of the ordnance and aviation programs which will be completed and ready for transport, including the replacement of materials 438,000 tons for France and 50,000 tons for Great Britain, and to protect miscellaneous and medical supplies for the monthly increments of 91,000 troops plus the maintenance of American troops now in France, and the establishment of a reserve. England is to furnish material and supplies for the additional men according to the  agreement with her as fully set out in General Pershing’s cable number 596 of Febr uary twelfth, and also number 705 of March tenth.1

     After having made a very close study of all of the tonnage requirements of the United States it is manifest that this program can be consummated, but not without greatest difficulty. The performance of the program is dependent upon the provision that we will retain all tonnage of neutrals that is now occupied in the service of the United States; that the losses by submarine do not increase to an unusual figure above the present losses; that the promised delivery of ships by the Emergency Fleet Corporation be fulfilled, and that reduction of imports now planned be put in operation without delay. The entire tonnage owned or under the control of United States will be needed by the Shipping Board to meet the requirements of the military program and other needs which are imperative; and shipping loaned to Italy and France will not be interfered with, but the United States must have the use of all Dutch boats requisitioned in American ports to carry out our present program. No additional tonnage can be diverted without impairing our present commitment to the military program. The War Department is sending this to Bliss and Pershing. British and French ambassadors also notified.2

HURLEY                      

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander-in-Chief, American Expeditionary Forces. Neither of Pershing’s cables mentioned here have been located.

Footnote 2: Maj. Gen. Tasker H. Bliss, Chief of Staff, United States Army, and American Permanent Military Representative to the Inter-Allied Supreme War Council. The United States Ambassadors to the United Kingdom and France were Walter Hines Page and William G. Sharp, respectively.

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