The losses had been heavy and the British were unable to replace them entirely. They were, therefore, making extraordinary efforts to increase the shipping available for our troops. On April 21, I went to London to clear up certain questions concerning the rate of shipment and to reach the further agreement provided for in the April 7 conference. The result of this London agreement was cabled to Washington April 24, as follows:
(a) That only the infantry, machine guns, engineers and signal troops of American divisions and the headquarters of divisions and brigades be sent over in British and American shipping during May for training and service with the British army in France up to six divisions and that any shipping in excess of that required for these troops be utilized to transport troops necessary to make these divisions complete. The training and service of these troops will be carried out in accordance with plans already agreed upon between Sir Douglas Haig and Gen. Pershing. with a view at an early date of building up American divisions.
(b) That the American personnel of the artillery of these divisions and such corps troops as may be required to build up American corps organizations follow immediately thereafter, and that American artillery personnel be trained with French materiel and join its proper divisions as soon as thoroughly trained.
(c) If, when the program outlined in paragraphs (a) and (b) is completed, the military situation makes advisable the further shipment of infantry. etc., of American divisions, then all the British and American shipping available for transport of troops shall be used for that purpose under such arrangement as will insure immediate aid to the Allies, and at the same time provide at the earliest moment for bringing over American artillery and other necessary units to complete the organization of American divisions and corps. Provided that the combatant troops mentioned in (a) and (b) be followed by such Service of the Rear and other troops as may be considered necessary by the American Commander-in-Chief.
(d) That it is contemplated American divisions and corps when trained and organized shall be utilized under the American Commander-in-Chief in an American group.
(e) That the American Commander-in-Chief shall allot American troops to the French or British for training or train them with American units at his discretion, with the understanding that troops already transported by British shipping or included in the six divisions mentioned in paragraph (a) are to be trained with the British Army, details as to rations, equipment, and transport to be determined by special agreement.
7. At a meeting of the Supreme War Council held at Abbeville May 1 and 2, the entire question of the amalgamation of Americans with the French and British was reopened. An urgent appeal came from both French and Italian representatives for American replacements or units to serve with their armies. After prolonged discussion regarding this question and that of priority generally the following agreement was reached, committing the Council to an independent American Army and providing for the immediate shipment of certain troops:
It is the opinion of the Supreme War Council that, in order to carry the war to a successful conclusion, an American Army should be formed as early as possible under its own commander and under its own flag. In order to meet the present emergency it is agreed that American troops should be brought to France as rapidly as Allied transportation facilities will permit, and that, as far as consistent with the necessity of building up an American Army, preference will be given to infantry and machine-gun units for training and service with the French and British Armies; with the understanding that such infantry and machine-gun units are to be withdrawn and united with its own artillery and auxiliary troops into divisions and corps at the direction of the American Commander-in-Chief after consultation with the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies in France.
Subparagraph A. It is also agreed that during the month of May preferences should be given to the transportation of infantry and machine-gun units of six divisions, and that any excess tonnage shall be devoted to bringing over such other troops as may be determined by the American Commander-in-Chief.
Subparagraph B. It is further agreed that this program shall be continued during the month of June upon condition that the British Government shall furnish transportation for a minimum of 130,000 men in May and 150,000 men in June, with the understanding that the first six divisions of infantry shall go to the British for training and service, and that troops sent over in June shall be allocated for training and service as the American Commander-in-Chief may determine.
Subparagraph C. It is also further agreed that if the British Government shall transport an excess of 150,000 men in June that such excess shall be infantry and machine-gun units, and that early in June there shall be a new review of the situation to determine further action.
The gravity of the situation had brought the Allies to a full realization of the necessity of providing all possible tonnage for the transportation of American troops. Although their views were accepted to the extent of giving a considerable priority to infantry and machine gunners, the priority agreed upon as to this class of troops was not as extensive as some of them deemed necessary, and the Abbeville conference was adjourned with the understanding that the question of further priority would be discussed at a conference to be held about the end of May.
8. The next offensive of the enemy was made between the Oise and Berry-au-Bac against the French instead of against the British, as was generally expected, and it came as a complete surprise. The initial Aisne attack, covering a front of 35 kilometers, met with remarkable success, as the German armies advanced no less than 50 kilometers in four days. On reaching the Marne that river was used as a defensive flank and the German advance was directed toward Paris. During the
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