Chapter X: 
The Transfer of ASF Activities to the War Department Staff
The place of the Army Service Forces in the structure of the War Department was never clearly understood or defined during the course of World War II. Was the ASF simply a new, consolidated command with certain operating responsibilities but subordinate to the broad planning duties of the War Department General Staff? Or was it a kind of consolidated staff and central service agency for the War Department, essentially different from the Army Ground Forces and the Army Air Forces?
Within the structure of the War Department, the position of the ASF had to be determined in practice by groups other than General Somervell and his staff. The relations which were crucial in this determination were those between the ASF and the WDGS, the Air Forces, and the Army Ground Forces. The controversies with the Air Forces and G-4, WDGS, have already been noted. The first resulted in some curtailment of the role of the ASF. In its contest with OPD of the War Department General Staff, the ASF fared somewhat better. To be sure, Somervell's position as logistical planner for the Chief of Staff was never officially recognized, at least not in the manner he desired, but on the other hand, the Operations Division of the WDGS did not succeed in having the unction of the ASF limited to an "operating" supply agency subordinate to its own logistical and operational planning. Yet while the ASF remained throughout the war as the "supply planner" of the Chief of Staff, some other staff functions exercised by the ASF were transferred to units officially designated as War Department General or Special Staff Divisions. Before reviewing further the basic issues involving ASF status in the War Department it will be necessary to enumerate the changes which were made in the duties of the ASF as a central staff agency.
Public Relations
When the Army Service Forces was set up in March 1942, General Somervell created a public relations unit in his headquarters. The personnel and activities of this unit were brought into the ASF from the Office of the Under Secretary of War, who had had an Industrial Information Division primarily concerned with publicizing the procurement problems of the War Department. Actually many of the employees of this unit had been recruited by the Bureau of Public Relations (BPR) of the War Department and were carried on the bureau's pay roll, although physi-

cally located in the Under Secretary's office.1  
In the summer of 1942 Secretary Stimson sponsored a study of public relations organization and activities in the War Department. As a result, he directed that all public relations work was to be concentrated in the BPR which reported directly to him. At the same time, the Secretary indicated that the commanding generals of each of the three commands within the United States, and other organizations such as those of the chiefs of technical services, might maintain offices of technical information. Such offices, however, would release no information directly to the press or to any other medium of communication. They would simply assist the Bureau of Public Relations by providing it with requested data and by submitting publicity suggestions for bureau approval.2
In accord with Stimson's directive, the Public Relations Division in ASF headquarters was abolished and a greatly reduced Office of Technical Information was set up.3 Most of the personnel of the division were transferred to the BPR. Somervell retained a single officer in his own office who helped him prepare speeches, answer inquiries, and who kept a watchful eye over public relations matters affecting the commanding general and the ASF as a whole.
In 1943 the procurement activities of the War Department were so important and so pressing that special instructions were issued defining public relations responsibilities in this field.4 Three different parts of the Department were vitally concerned: the Under Secretary of War as the civilian chief supervising procurement, the BPR as the official agency for handling the details of public relations, and the ASF as the agency immediately concerned with actual procurement. Accordingly, the Bureau of Public Relations created as part of its organization an Industrial Services Division which was responsible for formulating and executing a public relations program that would result in favorable attitudes toward war output by management and labor alike. In carrying out its mission, the division was to receive all policy direction from the Under Secretary of War: In guiding its activities, Under Secretary Patterson in turn depended upon the labor adviser to the Secretary of War, Mr. Edward F. McGrady (whose office was actually adjacent to that of the Under Secretary), and upon the Industrial personnel Division of ASF headquarters. A major activity of the BPR was the awarding of the Army-Navy "E" to industrial plants achieving outstanding war production records.5 The bureau also co-operated on specific projects with the Office of War Information, the labor division of the War Production Board, the War Manpower Commission, and other government agencies. An aggressive public relations program was an important phase of War Department procurement efforts.
The Army Service Forces was, of necessity, vitally interested in the activities of the Industrial Services Division of the War Department Bureau of Public Relations. The association between the two agencies was very close and friendly. In 1944 the head of the Industrial Services of BPR was transferred, becoming director of the Industrial Personnel Division in ASF headquarters. BPR also assigned an officer to

the staff of each service command to carry on its work at industrial plants within the geographical area of the service command. Direct communication was authorized between these service command officers and the BPR.6
This organization of public relations activities proved satisfactory in every way. General Somervell clearly understood that public relations was a basic responsibility, for the War Department as a whole and should be performed under the personal direction of the Secretary of War. He had no occasion to protest the arrangement because it never slighted or interfered with the ASF's role within the Department's organization. In the specialized field of industrial public relations, for example, the Secretary delegated his responsibility to the Under Secretary. Since Somervell was the principal adviser to the Under Secretary on procurement matters, he and his staff had ample opportunity to make such suggestions, especially through the Industrial Personnel Division, which worked directly with the BPR on details of procurement public relations.
War Department Circular 59 of 1942the reorganization "bible"-specified that the Army Service Forces would be responsible for preparing War Department budget estimates, for defending them before the Bureau of the Budget and Congress, and for controlling fiscal policy. There were several reasons for this arrangement. In the past, the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, had been designated as the aide to the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff on budget matters. As G-4 Somervell had performed this function, and he continued to do so as commanding general of the Army Service Forces. In addition, budgeting depended heavily upon the accounting records of the Chief of Finance, who was now under the supervision of the Commanding General, ASF. Then too, the peculiarities of War Department appropriation practice resulted in most Congressional appropriations being made formally to the chiefs of technical services and the Chief of Finance, all of whom were under the ASF. The only important exceptions were the appropriation to the Air Corps for the procurement and maintenance of aircraft, and to the Department as a whole for expediting production. Finally, since the Army Service Forces was created to be the administrative agency of the War Department as a whole, budgeting was logically one of the tasks assigned to it.
Wartime budget practices did not actually provide the occasion for review of or decision on fundamental military policies. The basic plans of the War Department for the size, composition, and deployment of the Army were determined within the General Staff. The limitations to these plans were not a matter of finances but of resources: the manpower, industrial, and technological strength of the nation. The Army Supply Program was adjusted primarily to fit the natural resources and the industrial facilities that the War Production Board decided were available to the Army. The budget merely reflected these basic decisions. After Pearl Harbor the general temper of the House Appropriations Committee and of the entire Congress was simply that, in terms of money, the War Department could have whatever it asked for. In the first seven months after Pearl Harbor, Congress appropriated 104

billion dollars to the War Department 7 Thereafter, the War Department each year for the remainder of the war simply requested sums as needed to supplement this overwhelming amount voted at the beginning of the war.
At the conclusion of the budget hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee in June 1943, the chairman of the subcommittee passed along a word of advice to the Under Secretary of War. Mr. J. Buell Snyder remarked that it had been his observation during the course of the hearings that the War Department General Staff was "getting out of touch, in a sense, with department administration." He noted that some branch chiefs did not seem to be closely in touch with activities at home or in theaters of operations. This was apparently a criticism of the ASF, and of the subordination of chiefs of technical services. Mr. Snyder went on to say he thought "that a mistake was made in taking the budget function out of the War Department General Staff." While he acknowledged that the ASF was doing a good - job, he expressed his belief that "money runs the Army and controls every phase of its activity and that the control of the purse should be a General Staff function . . . ." He felt that the ASF should continue in an accounting capacity, but believed there would be greater co-ordination and economy "if there were a budget desk re-established in the General Staff . . . ." Mr. Snyder suggested, and Mr. Patterson agreed, that the subject would be brought to the attention of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff, 8 In making his observations Mr. Snyder gave no detailed argument to support his views. He asked merely that the position of the budget officer in War Department organization be reconsidered.
Since the suggestion of a chairman of a House appropriations subcommittee is one to be taken seriously by the department concerned, the Fiscal Director of the ASF, Maj. Gen. A. H. Carter, immediately prepared a memorandum on the subject for judge Patterson. He recommended a prompt reply by the Under Secretary to Chairman Snyder defending the existing organization of the War Department. His action, General Carter thought, might persuade the chairman to withdraw his comment before the hearings were finally printed. Somervell approved of this recommendation, and a copy of it was sent to General McNarney, the Deputy Chief of Staff. Under Secretary Patterson agreed with General Carter and signed a letter drafted for him. But the letter was withdrawn at McNarney's request before it reached the chairman of the House subcommittee.
Somervell then wrote to General Marshall and summarized this sequence of events. He noted that one way to carry out Mr. Snyder's desire would be to re-establish general budget responsibility along , the lines of the former Legislative and Planning Branch of the War Department General Staff. He doubted whether this would be as effective as the present arrangement and asserted that "the broad budgetary policy of the War Department is now and should be under the complete control of the Chief of Staff." General Somervell added that if the existing "organizational set-up" implied otherwise, he would recommend that the Deputy Chief

of Staff deal directly with the budget officer on all matters of policy "without reference through the Army Service Forces." General Somervell went on to point out that of the 120 billion dollars appropriated to the War Department from 1 July 1941 to 1 July 1943, about 104 billion dollars was for equipment and supplies whose procurement was supervised by the Under Secretary. Furthermore, the ASF, under the War Department reorganization, had "just completed the assembly of all budgetary and fiscal functions under one head," the new organization was "functioning efficiently," and it would be a "backward step to dismember it by pulling from it the budget operations which are inextricably tied in with the proper administration of the over-all fiscal operations of the War Department." General Somervell presented three recommendations: one, that the present organization be maintained; two, that the present budget officer continue to act under the policy direction of the Under Secretary of War and the Deputy Chief of Staff; and three, that the Chief of Staff concur in the Under Secretary's letter for Mr. Snyder, signed on 15 June 1943. "These recommendations would place in the General Staff satisfactory control of the War Department budget policy, and, at the same time, preserve the present well-integrated functions of budget and fiscal operations in one organization."9
General Somervell's memorandum apparently was unconvincing for in July 1943, the War Department issued orders removing the War Department budget office "from the jurisdiction of the Fiscal Division, Army Service Forces," and re-designating it the Budget Division, War Department Special Staff:10 The immediate consequence was to transfer an officer with a small staff from General Carter's office in the ASF to the War Department Special Staff. This new Budget Division necessarily had to rely upon the Fiscal Director of the ASF for information and even advice. No fundamental change in either budgeting or accounting practices followed. But at least the appearance was now created that the War Department Special Staff, and not a subordinate command, was in charge of budgeting.
The change provided some satisfaction to the Army Air Forces, which as early as 27 June 1942 had suggested that the War Department staff rather than the ASF should exercise the budget function.11 In 1944 the Air Forces and the budget officer of the War Department suggested that the Chief of Finance should be transferred from the Army Service Forces to a separate status under the budget officer; the position of Fiscal Director in the ASF would then be abolished. This proposal must have been unacceptable to both the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War as well as to the ASF, since no such order was issued.
One consequence of the transfer of the budget function from the ASF to the War Department Special Staff was to encourage the further growth of this part of War Department organization. Another result, at least, in the budget field, was to draw a sharp distinction between the War Department General Staff proper as the top policy-determining level and the Army Service Forces as an operating agency. The accounting work remained in the

ASF; top budget policy direction as a staff activity did not. 12
The Civil Affairs Division
Shortly after the Army Service Forces was created, the War Department began preparations for the military government of occupied areas taken over from the Axis powers. Proposals for training personnel were developed within the Provost Marshal General's office, and led to the establishment of a School of Military Government at the University of Virginia in May 1942.13 The Provost Marshal General also set up a small unit in Washington to plan general policies for military government. Actual experience in military government in World War II began in November 1942 with operations in North Africa. One of the first questions that arose to complicate policy was whether French Morocco and Algeria should be regarded as conquered enemy territory or as that of an ally to be used as a base for further military operations.14 But in preparing for the invasion of Sicily, there was no question about the need for or the status of military government since the area was unmistakably enemy territory.
Toward the end of 1942, President Roosevelt had created an Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations within the State Department under the direction of former governor Herbert H. Lehman of New York. This office was assigned general responsibility for planning relief in areas liberated from Axis control. Necessarily, its interests and those of the ASF were closely related. In the spring of 1943 Lehman called upon Stimson and pointed out that the Secretary's organization had failed to provide him with adequate means and powers to carry out his assignment. Governor Lehman drew attention to the fact that the operating agency in military government, the Provost Marshal General's office, was many echelons removed from the Secretary of War's office. This seemed to him to be too low an echelon to represent the Secretary of War in negotiations with the Department of State on vital matters pertaining to occupied and liberated areas.15
Shortly thereafter, the War Department issued a memorandum creating the Civil Affairs Division in the War Department Special Staff.16 While the Provost Marshal General continued to conduct training programs for military government officials under policies prescribed by the Civil Affairs Division, this division became the center of all War Department planning on military government policies. The International Division in ASF headquarters in time also played a major role in military government planning, since its function was to supervise arrangements for War Department's purchase and distribution of civilian supplies in occupied areas. The ASF Industrial Personnel Division handled many personnel and labor matters for overseas commanders of occupied areas, while the ASF Fiscal Director han-

dled currency matters. The work of all these units was performed under general policies officially emanating from the Civil Affairs Division.
Research and Development
Within the Army Service Forces the basic responsibility for research and development of new weapons remained with the seven technical services. A small ASF headquarters unit kept itself informed in a general way on research and development' matters, attempted to prevent obvious duplication of effort, and helped the technical services whenever they encountered difficulties in obtaining raw materials or facilities for research purposes. The actual initiative in research matters, however, remained largely in the hands or the technical services, working closely with the using arms.
Secretary Stimson was especially interested in research and development matters, and one of his purposes, as he himself has pointed out, was to make clear to the Department and to scientific leaders that it was the policy of the War Department to make use of scientific help in every part of the Army's work.17 Soon after assuming office he asked one of his associates, Mr. Harvey H. Bundy, to follow scientific matters for him. Mr. Bundy was aided by Dr. Edward L. Bowles.
A former Chief of Ordnance, Maj. Gen. C. C. Williams, was recalled to active duty to handle ASF headquarters' interests in research. This arrangement was not very satisfactory to Dr. Bowles. As early as November 1942, a special section on new weapons had been created under the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, of the War Department General Staff. In September 1943 Mr. Bundy and Dr. Vannevar Bush of the Office of Scientific Research and Development suggested to Secretary Stimson that a new weapons unit should be set up as a separate part of the War Department Special Staff.18 A New Developments Division was proposed and Somervell's opinion requested. Somervell referred the matter to General Clay, ASF director of materiel, who protested vigorously that there would be little purpose in adding a staff at War Department level to supervise staff responsibilities already exercised at ASF level. Stimson nevertheless decided in favor of the recommendations of Mr. Bundy and Dr. Bush,19 and in October a War Department circular was issued setting up the New Developments Division.20 This division, initially under the direction of Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Henry, formerly head of the Armored Forces School at Fort Knox, gave primary attention to the problem of demonstrating new weapons and equipment to overseas commanders. In addition, it followed many phases of research work within the United States. The New Developments Division tended to duplicate some of the work of the Research and Development Division of the ASF staff. In a special report submitted to General Somervell in January 1945 the ASF staff division pointed to much overlapping and duplication of activities.21 But since

it was at a higher level, the new division was able to gain from other branches of the Military Establishment the co-operation that an ASF agency probably could not have obtained. It did not actually take any staff responsibility away from the Army Service Forces but simply added a new agency in the War Department Special Staff to give greater impetus to research and development activities.
The New Developments Division was generally successful in the work it undertook. Because of the quality of its leadership and personnel, the New Developments Division not only made important contributions of its own but also probably stimulated ASF headquarters to greater interest in research and development matters.
National Guard and Executive for Reserve and Reserve Officers' Training Corps Affairs
In May 1945, just after V-E Day, the War Department issued orders transferring the National Guard Bureau and the Executive for Reserve and Reserve Officers' Training Corps Affairs from General Somervell's staff to the War Department Special Staff.22 This action was intended to suggest that concern for National Guard and Reserve matters would now become especially important in War Department planning and that these agencies could better deal with the Army Ground Forces and the Army Air Forces if they were parts of the War Department Special Staff. During the war neither of these two offices was of great importance-there was no Army Reserve Corps in wartime, and the National Guard had been incorporated into the Army of the United States before Pearl Harbor. This transfer after V-E Day forecast that it would be military policy to recreate the Reserve Corps and the National Guard following the defeat of Japan.
Postwar Planning
In May 1943 General Somervell received secret instructions from the Chief of Staff to set up a small unit in his office to begin planning for demobilization of the Army. Personnel for this task was quickly assembled and tentative planning programs laid out. In July 1943 Secretary Stimson and General Marshall decided that this activity should not be left in the ASK Accordingly, a Special Planning Division was created as a new unit in the War Department Special Staff.23
One activity transferred to the Army Service Forces from the WDGS during the war was supervision of counterintelligence functions within the United States. Before 9 March 1942 most Army counterintelligence activity within the United States had been performed through the corps area commands under the direction and supervision of the Intelligence Division (G-2) of the WDGS. When the corps areas came under the ASF and were transformed into service commands, counterintelligence personnel remained attached to them but operated under the supervision of G-2. ASF headquarters had no responsibility for this phase of service command work. Finally in December 1943, this arrangement was terminated. In the meantime, the ASF had created its own small intelligence office, and G-2 was now

willing that it should take over such security activity as the Army had to perform within the United States.24
There was a continuing, if not extensive, trend during World War II to move certain activities performed by the Army Service Forces headquarters into new units making up the War Department Special Staff: When the ASF was created, it was Somervell's understanding that the ASF was in itself a kind of consolidated "special staff" for the War Department. On logistical matters he conceived of the ASF as part of the WDGS. As noted earlier, this concept endured throughout the war, even if never formally embodied in official instructions other than the original reorganization directive of 9 March 1942. But the concept of the ASF as a special kind of "special staff" for the War Department as a whole gradually changed. More and more policy-making responsibilities were transferred from the ASF to direct War Department staff status. It appeared that the original role of the ASF, at least as Somervell understood it, was no longer binding in War Department organizational practice. By the autumn of 1944 General Somervell felt that developments had gone so far that it was time to raise formally the question with the Chief of Staff of the future role of the Army Service Forces within the War Department.

Page Created June 13th 2001


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