Primary Documents - Ferdinand Foch's Appointment as Allied Supreme Commander, 3 April 1918

Ferdinand Foch Reproduced below is the official Allied order placing overall command of the Allied armies on the Western Front under Ferdinand Foch, dated 3 April 1918.

The decision to transfer overall command to Foch was taken by Allied government representatives at Doullens on 26 March (and formally confirmed on 3 April) in the wake of the onset of the powerful German Spring Offensive which was launched five days earlier and which inflicted serious reverses upon the British Army.  It was thus in a period of crisis that Foch was handed his (ultimately highly successful) leading role.

Click here to read Pershing's official reaction to news of Ferdinand Foch's appointment as supreme commander.  Click here to read the text of his address to Foch on the matter on 28 March.  Click here to read British Prime Minister David Lloyd George's official statement on the subject.  Click here to read a follow-up statement by Lloyd George on the same subject dated 9 April 1918.

Text of Ferdinand Foch's Appointment as Supreme Allied Commander, 3 April 1918

BEAUVAIS, April 3, 1918

Gen. Foch is charged by the British, French, and American Governments with the coordination of the action of the Allied Armies on the western front; to this end there is conferred on him all the powers necessary for its effective realization.  To the same end, the British, French, and American Governments confide in Gen. Foch the strategic direction of military operations.

The Commander-in-Chief of the British, French, and American Armies will exercise to the fullest extent the tactical direction of their armies.  Each Commander-in-Chief will have the right to appeal to his Government, if in his opinion his Army is placed in danger by the instructions received from Gen. Foch.

D. HAIG, F. M.
HENRY WILSON, General, 3.4.18.
TASKER H. BLISS, General and Chief of Staff.
JOHN J. PERSHING, General, U. S. A.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

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