Primary Documents - John Pershing's Offer to Subordinate U.S. Forces to Foch, 28 March 1918

John J Pershing Reproduced below is the text of the address made by U.S. Commander-in-Chief John Pershing to Ferdinand Foch on 28 March 1918 at Bombon.  In his brief address Pershing offered to subordinate his forces to Foch's leadership in throwing back the spectacular German Spring Offensive launched a week earlier.

The decision to transfer overall command to Foch was taken by Allied government representatives at Doullens on 26 March.  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 despatch regarding Foch's assumption of overall military command.  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.

General John Pershing's Offer to Subordinate U.S. Forces to Ferdinand Foch, 28 March 1918 at Bombon

I have come to tell you that the American people will hold it a high honour that their troops should take part in the present battle.

I ask you to permit this in my name and in theirs.  At the present moment there is only one thing to do, to fight.  Infantry, artillery, aeroplanes - all that I have I put at your disposal - do what you like with them.  More will come - in fact, all that may be necessary.

I have come expressly to tell you that the American people will be proud to take part in this, the greatest and most striking battle of history.

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

A Flechette was an anti-personnel dart dropped from an aircraft.

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Primary Docs