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Section 6

Contents

SECTION VI

MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES, AMERICAN FORCES IN FRANCE

The American forces in France was created under General Orders, No. 88, G. H. Q., A. E. F., August 22, 1919, as the organization to take over from the American Expeditionary Forces the command and control formerly exercised by the American Expeditionary Forces, except that part which was in occupied Germany, in the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, and in Belgium. The American forces in France was in reality a continuation of the former services of supply, A.E.F.1

The activities of the chief surgeon's office, A. E. F., became continuous with those of the office of the chief surgeon, American forces in France,2 and were of the same character but on a much reduced scale, as indicated in the preceeding paragraph. The summarized report of the chief surgeon, American forces in France, covers the final steps in the discontinuance of the affairs of our forces in France.

PERSONNEL

Activities connected with the personnel of the Medical Department involved the orderly return to the United States for demobilization of the large sanitary personnel remaining in France on July 1, 1919. Release of temporary officers and men was facilitated, and they were replaced by regular officers and men where necessary. Various regular officers were selected and detailed to the Polish typhus relief expedition. Close liaison was maintained with the American forces in Germany, and many specially qualified officers and men were supplied them as needed and as they could be spared from France. Owing to defective reports, several thousand individuals were unaccounted for on the personnel records. To overcome this error, special details were put in the central records office and the adjutant general's office; all sailing lists were secured and checked, the central post-office records were consulted. By these means the personnel records were made very nearly complete before being finally forwarded to War Department.2

FINANCE

Claims for services rendered or supplies delivered to various hospitals and units throughout France were investigated, and vouchers prepared and paid during the above period as follows:

Month (1919)

Number of vouchers paid

Total amount

August

109

$18,682.55

Sept. 1-11

11

Sept. 11-30

52

--63

5,001.92

October

28

1,692.23

November

52

6,997.64


830

Many of the accounts paid during this period were of long standing, the original bills having apparently been lost. Investigations of these charges were difficult on account of insufficient receipts or orders having been given by American  officers who received the supplies or engaged the services, and on account of the impossibility of getting in touch with the officers or units they having returned to the United States.2

After November 15 no further payments were made by the Medical Department, but all vouchers were prepared and submitted to the quartermaster disbursing officer for payment. After the medical disbursing officer ceased to function a total number of 70 claims for services rendered or supplies delivered (many of these being final settlements covering a series of transactions with the various persons or companies and requiring a complete check of all bills rendered and paid in order to avoid duplication) were investigated and vouchers prepared for submission to the quartermaster for payment.2

Bills for hospital treatment of allied soldiers in American hospitals were prepared from the reports of the hospitals and submitted to the various governments in accordance with prevailing orders.2
 

Government

Number of bills

Amount

Government

Number of bills

Amount

French

46

355,490.75 francs

Rumanian

3

315.50 francs.

English

2

£5 2s.

Russian

75

44,171 francs.

English Y.M.C.A.

2

£1 10s.

Italian

10

7,372 francs.

Belgian

4

393 francs.

Serbian

1

169 francs.

Polish

2

60.50 francs.

Bills from the French Government for delivery of supplies and for treatment of American soldiers in French hospitals were checked (115 bills received during this period). These bills, as well as the bills submitted to the French Government, were included in the general settlement between the French Government and the liquidation commission of November 29, 1919.2

Invoices covering supplies sold by the Medical Department to private individuals, firms, and allied governments, or liberated countries were checked, and bills prepared and submitted covering same. The volume of this work is indicated by the following tabulation:2
 

Supplies sold to-

Number of bills

Total amount of sales

Supplies sold to-

Number of bills

Total amount of sales

French

3

$20,613.60

Ukrainian

10

$1,132,161.33

Serbian

1

9,620.00

Latvia

1

160,099.07

Polish

9

1,718,544.25

Lithuanian

5

669,838.58

Estonian

2

358,331.22

Sales to private concerns

---

65,569.21

Vouchers prepared, covering supplies delivered to the American Expeditionary Forces in France, by the British Government for submission to London for payment.

 SUPPLIES

Besides the issue of supplies for current use, the supply division handled the shipment to the United States of a considerable amount of property ordered returned; transferred to the Red Cross $10,000,000 worth of supplies as provided


831

by act of Congress; made deliveries to various purchasers as indicated under the finance heading, and finally delivered the balance to the French Government under the purchase agreement. A preliminary settlement of the accountability of many organization medical supply officers was made.

 HOSPITALIZATION

Sufficient hospitalization constantly was maintained, but base and camp hospitals were released as rapidly as they could be spared, so that by the end of 1919 all had been disposed of. Arrangements were made for civil hospitalization in Paris during December. The liability of the Government for the medical care of civilian employees has been eliminated by the adoption of a new form of contract. Full information as to securing civilian attendance for officers and men to whom Army medical attendance might not be available was published for use of personnel on detached service.

 SANITATION

The chief activity under this heading was the continuance of the most vigorous antivenereal campaign, and the establishment and maintenance of four large segregation camps, at Gievres, Bordeaux, St. Nazaire, and Brest, for the treatment of venereal diseases. At the end of the period the few remaining venereal cases were returned as patients for the completion of their treatment in the United States. These activities were successful in carrying out the purpose that only venereally clean personnel should be demobilized. The inspections and detention also eliminated lousiness and skin infections among returning troops. Fortunately, there were no epidemic outbreaks of disease to handle during the period.

TRANSPORTATION

One hospital train was transferred to the American Forces in Germany. The others were released as they could be spared, the last one early in October, shortly after the repatriation of the last sick prisoners of war. Since that time necessary railway transportation has been successfully carried out by ordinary train, necessary attendants being assigned. Motor transportation has been similarly disposed of by turning it in as rapidly as it could be dispensed with.
 

SICK AND WOUNDED RECORDS

The main sick and wounded records were shipped to the United States in the summer of 1919. A branch of this office continued to collect and tabulate records of American patients in French hospitals until November 30, when the work was completed. Current records were checked for correctness and transmitted to the Surgeon General as received.
 REFERENCE

(1) Letter from the commanding general, American forces in France, to The Adjutant General of the Army, January 7, 1920. Subject: Report on operations of the American forces in France. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, 370.2.EE.

(2) Letter from the chief surgeon, American forces in France, to the commanding general, American forces in France, December 30, 1919. Subject: Report from July 1 to December 30, 1919. On file, A. G. O., World War Division, 319.1.

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