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Chapter IX

Books and Documents > Medical Department of the U.S. Army in the World War, Volume III, Finance & Supply

THE PURCHASE OF SUPPLIES

BY SUPPLY DEPOTS

The supplies purchased by the Medical Department had been divided for many years into two principal groups, hospital supplies, or post supplies as they were commonly called, and field supplies. As a result of the creation of the Veterinary Corps as a part of the Medical Department by the national defense act of 1916 a third group was added-veterinary supplies. Except for such nonstandard articles on special requisitions as were authorized to be purchased locally by other depots and emergency purchases wherever made, all purchases of medical and hospital supplies were made at three medical supply depots, New York City, N. Y.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Washington, D. C. The greater part of the post supplies were purchased at the New York depot. A few of these articles were purchased from time to time at the St. Louis depot whenever a better price could be obtained in the St. Louis market than in the New York market. In the last few years preceding 1916 the articles purchased at St. Louis had continued to become fewer from year to year until at the beginning of 1916 it might well have been ignored as a purchasing point for medical and hospital supplies. Some time prior to 1917 the St. Louis depot had been used as a purchasing and assembling point for veterinary supplies purchased by the Medical Department for the Quartermaster Corps under instructions from the War Department. As already noted, the depot in Washington, D. C., had been used exclusively for the purchase and assembling of field equipment and supplies for medical units and for the medical supplies issued to all military personnel.

The field of activities had narrowed, then, in the purchase of medical supplies, to these three places. The trend of thought relative to such supplies had come to associate the procurement of post or ordinary hospital supplies with the New York depot and field supplies with the Washington or field medical supply depot. It was inevitable, therefore, that these depots should have been chosen to purchase the same commodities for the greatly augmented military forces in 1917-18. The St. Louis medical supply depot not being involved in the procurement of either hospital or field supplies and having an organization experienced in the purchase of supplies was selected, very naturally, to handle the purchase of veterinary supplies, with which it was already familiar.1

The purchase of medical and hospital supplies at these depots had reached considerable volume during the summer of 1916 as a result of the mobilization of the National Guard on the Mexican border and had given the personnel on duty therein an inkling of the amount of work and the difficulties likely to be encountered in providing such supplies for a large force. By the end of that


166

year the purchase of medical supplies had diminished to almost a peace-time volume, although articles for which contracts had been made continued to be received in considerable quantities. The early part of 1917 was devoted to routine purchases and to the consideration of the sources and the possibilities of an adequate supply in the event of the participation of the United States in the World War, which grew every day more unavoidable. Many difficulties and aggravating delays had been experienced in making the comparatively small purchases in 1916, and the outlook for the emergency, should war be declared, was far from bright. The situation as it presented itself at that time to those charged with providing medical supplies is fairly well portrayed in the following extract from a letter from the officer in charge of the New York medical supply depot in January, 1917, to the officer in charge of the supply division of the Surgeon General' s Office: 2

I have carefully read your memorandum for Colonel Arthur and the statements made therein are correct. I should say, however, that three months is entirely too short a time to get the articles of even ordinary commercial stock, when desired in such quantities as we have to obtain some of them for armies of the magnitude contemplated. I am inclosing herewith a memorandum made about January 10, for me, by the chief clerk, giving the status of many of the contracts now in force, and from it you can judge how difficult it is to get deliveries from even the largest and most reliable firms doing business in our country, when taxed beyond their ordinary capacities. I have used all sorts of argument arid coercion, but without avail.

In one instance I even gave orders against the firm in open market, only to find out later that those to whom I gave the order were more unreliable than those who had the contract, with the result that I had to cancel the attempted open-market purchase against the firm.
 
The question of standards is one that is perpetually before us, and I have come to the conclusion that for the convenience of the business men from whom purchase is made we must have some sort of a guide so that when they come to look at the article we desire they may be able to form some opinion. In the case of medicines, the standard of U. S. P. is certainly necessary. *    *    * The variety of different textiles, etc., upon the market, is infinite. Take the common article of sheets, for instance. As you know from recent correspondence, the question of length alone You would be astonished to know how comparatively few articles of a kind are kept on hand by any large commercial firm in this city. Space is too valuable to occupy for storage purposes. Everything is done by samples, and this is all right providing the matter of time enters into the transaction. I do not believe that I could buy 24 of our standard office desks in this whole city. To be sure, I could gather up 24 desks of different patterns in a very short time, but of the one variety, it is doubtful.


167

I am now speaking of the so-called items that can be purchased from commercial institutions in the open market. Corning down to items of field property, cases and containers, instruments and appliances, these are not in existence in sufficient quantities to count. They mnust all he made to order, and mnonths must elapse. The items of rubber goods that are always supposed to be purchased as needed and no stock kept on hand belong to this category. Large quantities are not kept in storage by the firms, but are made to order, for reasons that you will readily apprehend.

The conclusion of the Dodge Commission is absolutely correct. Supplies of everything that could possibly he used and not deteriorate, in large amounts, should be kept on hand for immediate issue, while the machinery of purchase is being set in motion.

While the Medical Department has been able, during peace time, to obtain all the supplies it required, these supplies were obtained, as a rule, from jobbers or commission men. Very few manufacturers were willing to submit bids upon circulars of advertisement issued by the purchasing depots. In the few instances where bids were received from manufacturers of other than medical and hospital specialities the bids were usually higher than those from the jobber or commission man and the award usually went to the low bid. As a result the manufacturers declined to bid. Their failure to bid was frequently due to a misapprehension of the requirements, manner of purchase, and the time of making payments. The hostility of jobbers and professional Government contractors to such bids doubtless played an important part in keeping manufacturers from bidding direct. The quantities usually purchased by the Medical Department were small when compared with those handled by the jobbers and contractors and were accordingly of less interest to the manufacturer. To overcome this difficulty, interest the manufacturers in Medical Department supplies, and find new sources of supply the plan quoted below was suggested.3 Before this policy could be put into effect, however, we entered the war and other methods of obtaining supplies were adopted.

1. This office should be furnished, at the earliest practicable date, with a list of important medical supplies purchased at your depot which, in the opinion of the supply officer, it would he difficult to obtain in large quantities on reasonably short notice.

2. While the circular advertisements are sent out to a great many firms, it is believed that only a comparatively few firms have actually manufactured the items which we have difficulty in obtaining. When this list of difficult items is tabulated, it is believed that it would be expedient to furnish the specifications for these items to all of the reputable manufacturers and invite their attention to the desirability of becoming acquainted with our standards and placing their factories in a position to manufacture our supplies in large quantities on short notice.

3. This office should be furnished with a list of manufacturers who have furnished these difficult items to the Medical Department during the past three years, together with lists showing the firms that are not now manufacturing these products, but who, in the opinion of the supply officer, could furnish them on short notice in reasonably large quantities if they were fully informed as to our standards and given a preliminary trial order.

4. In this connection attention is invited to the recent difficulty in obtaining dental engines from the S. S. White Dental Manufacturing Co. It is understood from the statement made in your letter of September 27 that the extra parts manufactured by one dental firm will not fit the engines manufactured by any other firm. This being the case, it seems apparent that the purchase of dental supplies is practically confined to one firm. If the dental manufacturing companies are patriotic and desire to cooperate with the War Department, it is believed that they should be given an opportunity to so standardize their equipment as to make it interchangeable so that in event of war the Medical Department will be able to obtain equipment from a number of firms. If the dental manufacturing companies


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have a particular reason for continuing the manufacture of special hand pieces and extra parts which will fit only their own engines, it is possible that they will be willing to make the above concession with the understanding that the interchangeable parts are to be manufactured only in the of war.

5. The remarks and recommendations of the supply officer are desired.

*            *              *             *              *             *                *
1. Replying to your letter of the 10th ultimo, 14039-W, the following is a list of the most important supplies which are only obtainable after considerable delay:                                            

Chloriform and ether.

Mosquito bars.

Emetine hydrochloride tablets (hypodermic)

Bedsteads

Guaiacole carbonate.

Blankets, white.

Naphthalene.

Delft ware.

Potassium permanganate.                                    

Razors.

Hydrargyri salicylas.

Glassware of all kinds.

Ipecac.

Hand grenades.

Salvarsan and neosalverian.

Litter.

Quinine sulphate.

Scales and weights.

Thymol.

Water coolers.

Thymol iodide.

Stains and other laboratory supplies.

Opium pulvis.

Mercury, redistilled.

Tincture opium.

Trays, photographic.

Tincture opium camphorata.

Screen, intensifying.

Unguentum hydrargyri.

Novocain suprarenum tablets.

Veronal.

Dental chests.

Zinc oxide.

Crown removers, Dalton' s.

Binders, loose leaf.

Dental engines.

Files, Shannon.

Instruments , instrument cases and surgical appliances.

Papers, all kinds.

Needles of all kinds.


2. Difficulty in obtaining chloroform and ether promptly is due to the trouble experienced in meeting the specifications.
3. All mercurial salts and preparations are rather difficult to obtain. Same remarks apply to all the potash salts.
4. Considerable time is required to obtain all textiles, owing to the fact that the articles desired have to be made up.
5. In the summer months it is always difficult to obtain glassware in large quantities, owing to the fact that the factories close down.
6. Considerable time is required in obtaining dental engines and in fact all dental supplies in large quantities.

During the first three months of 1917 few purchases of any magnitude were considered. Authority had been granted the field medical supply depot, Washington, to purchase 50,000 shell-wound packets, 10,000 litters, 10,000 sets of contents for enlisted men' s web belts, and a lot of miscellaneous articles.4 The officer in charge of the New York medical supply depot had been directed to purchase 200 emergency recruiting outfits, later increased to 500, and other miscellaneous articles.5 Except for routine purchases, the procurement of supplies was practically at a standstill.
 
It was foreseen early in the year that more definite standardization of sanitary supplies would be necessary, in the event of war, for the joint use of the Army, Navy, and Public Health Service. A joint board was designated for


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this purpose which included representatives from those services, eminent surgeons, and representatives from the surgical instrument and surgical dressings manufacturers.6 The work laid out for this board was the selection of the most suitable articles required by modern practice for the care and treatment of the sick and wounded in the field and in hospital. Mass production in the quantities required could only be effected by keeping the number of types of instruments and apparatus at the minimum and by the selection of the simpler and more easily fabricated models. With the limited facilities available, the task at best was a gigantic one. The work of the board was completed in April, 1917, and its selections were published in pamphlet form by the medical section of the Council of National Defense in May of that year.7 The articles selected by this board became the standards for purchase and, for the most part, purchases during the war were limited to them. The list of laboratory apparatus prepared by the board was materially modified and augmented in February, 1918, by the laboratory division of the. Surgeon General' s Office.8

EARLY PLANS FOR PURCHASES

As soon as the President' s message recommending the declaration of war against the Imperial German Government had been submitted to Congress, the Surgeon General began intensive consideration of the plans for the purchase of medical supplies. In these plans he had the help of the medical section, Council of National Defense, and of the munitions committee. The Surgeon General was represented on the latter committee by the officer who had charge of the supply division of his office.9 This officer participated in the formulation of general plans by that committee for the procurement of supplies. The officers in charge of the several purchasing depots were kept informed of these plans, in so far as they affected the Medical Department, and of the requirements, in order that there would be no avoidable delay in the delivery of the supplies. As soon as it became evident that Congress would vote to declare war, instructions were sent to the medical supply depots at New York City and Washington to initiate the purchase of the supplies allocated to them. The instructions to both depots were practically the same. Those to the New York depot are quoted below to show the general plan intended to be followed:10

1. You are authorized to issue 10-day circular advertisements covering all post supplies (except surgical instruments) needed for an Army of 500,000 men in addition to supplies already on hand, and including 500 portable dental outfits. X-ray supplies should be omitted. Provision should be made for 50 per cent increase. If standard articles are not obtainable, the nearest satisfactory substitute would be acceptable. A board is now revising the instrument cases and will submit its report in a few days, after which instructions will be given for the purchase of these items.

2. Bids should also be requested for 12 combination sterilizing sets arranged with satisfactory boiler for producing steam heat in the manner suggested by the American Co., which can give you details. Similar sterilizing outfits are now being made by them for the American Red Cross. Bids should be forwarded to this office for consideration.

3. The officer in charge of the field medical supply depot, Washington, D. C., has been instructed to send you a requisition covering all of the post medical supplies which will he needed at his depot.


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4. The above mentioned circular advertisements should call for deliveries at either New York, St. Louis, Washington, or some other place within the territory east of the Mississippi River and north of the latitude of St. Louis. This will be necessary as it is probable that a number of subsidiary medical supply depots must necessarily be established in the territory indicated, the exact locations of which are indeterminate at this time. The attention of the bidders should be called, however, to the fact that all places to which deliveries are to be made by the contractors will he located on the main railroad lines, which will facilitate handling and reduce the cost of transportation to a minimum.

5. Attention is invited to the fact that the circular advertisement should call for delivery at Washington only of all items required by the field medical supply depot in the quantities indicated on requisition to be forwarded to New York as above indicated. Request for bids for sterilizing sets and portable dental outfits should call for delivery at New York only.

6. Instructions are given to issue these circular advertisements at the present time as it is the desire of this office to be in a position to promptly contract for these supplies as soon as money is available. By this method the manufacturers will be fully informed as to our immediate needs and it will be possible for time Medical Department to ascertain how long it will take to secure the supplies.

7. Twenty-five copies of each circular advertisement should be forwarded to this office as soon as it is printed. When the bids are opened they should be abstracted at the New York depot and the supply officer should recommend awards for each item by the usual red-ink check or otherwise, after which the abstract will be promptly forwarded to this office for consideration. One item may be recommended for award to several bidders in case the supply officer believes it would facilitate delivery to split the award in this manner.

The early relationship of the munitions committee of the Council of National Defense and the purchase of medical supplies for the Army is shown in the following extract of a letter from the representative of the Surgeon General on that committee to the officer in charge of the medical supply depot, New York, April 5, 1917:

I am a member of the munitions committee of the National Defense Council. This committee is attempting to coordinate the needs of the various branches of the Government in order to regulate the distribution of the raw materials to manufacturers who are working upon supplies for time Government. It is believed that they will be able to secure the delivery of raw materials when necessary for the production of needed articles, so that this complaint need no longer be an acceptable excuse for failure to produce the goods. I believe I am in a position to say that Government assistance will be given if necessary us order to force the production of raw materials, but bidders should exhaust their own resources first and not depend upon Government aid. For this reason it is not desirable to inform them regarding this Government aid until it becomes necessary to do so.  

An official communication is being forwarded to you today directing the issue of circular advertisements covering post medical supplies for 500,000 men. While the time of delivery quoted by the bidders will be a consideration in recommending the award, the Council of National Defense will take appropriate steps (as above indicated), so that raw materials may be available and the manufacturers will be able to furnish the articles most necessary for the Medical Department in the shortest possible time.   

In case you come across a problem where bidders can not obtain necessary materials, if you will submit the proposition to me I will take it up with the munitions committee, who are convinced that they will be able to regulate this matter satisfactorily. The committee is working upon the principle of interfering as little as possible with the commercial interests, and thus far the patriotic offers of business firms seems to have been sufficient, with some little assistance, for the delivery of needed supplies. There is in back of it all, however, the authorization to take over plants and compel the furnishing of supplies for Government use, but this is not being put into prominence at this time. I feel very much encouraged to believe that we can get what we need promptly with the assistance of the committee as previously mentioned.


171

LACK OF FUNDS

In issuing the instructions referred to in the above-quoted letter, at this early date it was assumed that the declaration of war would be followed immediately by appropriations sufficient to provide all needed supplies and to make them available in adequate quantities by the time of actual call of the troops to the colors. The assumption was natural and was justified by past history. In 1898, before a state of war had been declared to exist between the United States and Spain, an appropriation of $50,000,000 for the national defense had been placed at the disposal of the President to be expended at his discretion.11 Of this sum the Medical Department received liberal grants as it made its wants known. It was expected that a similar procedure would obtain following the declaration of war with Germany. An appropriation for the national defense was made April 17, 1917, in the sum of $100,000,000 and placed at the disposal of the President for disbursement at his discretion.12 For some reason, best known to those in authority, it was decided not to include therein items that could be purchased from ordinary appropriations, and the Secretary of War decided not to ask the President for allotments of that fund except for extraordinary objects not embraced in estimates submitted to Congress.13

This left the Medical Department, as well as the other supply bureaus of the War Department, with only the available balances of existing appropriations for the initiation of its war-time purchases. Purchasing officers accordingly were informed on April 9 that the instructions of April 5, above quoted, were issued with a view of securing bids and making awards, and that purchases were not to be misade until specifically authorized, as appropriations for the purchase had not become available.14 This shortage of funds, for a time, wholly inhibited purchases and procurement was at a standstill. Under existing law, except for a few purposes, purchases could not be made unless there was an appropriation adequate to their fulfillment. April passed without funds being made available. On May 1 authority was received from the Secretary of War to purchase in advance of appropriations medical supplies in the aniount of $3,421,500.15 The purchase of medical supplies is one of the few purchases which, under the statutes, can be made in the absence of appropriation when the exigency of the service demands it. The following articles were embraced in this authorization:

Mosquito bars, 100,000, at $4.80

$480,000

Canvas cases for bedding:

 

    Large, 25,0000, at $6

150,000

    Small, 7,000 at $4

28,000

Blankets, field, gray, 250,000, at $5.50

1,375,000

Litters with slings, 60,000, at $6

360,000

Pack saddles, 2,000, at $63

126,00

Cots, canvas, folding, 120,000, at $4

480,000

Chairs, folding, 34,000, at $0.75

25,500

Tables, bedside, folding, at $0.90

27,000

Vials, assorted

35,000

Books for instruction

335,000


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Copies of this authority to incur a deficiency were furnished the purchasing officers at the New York and Washington depots, May 2, 1917, with instructions to proceed at once with the purchase of the supplies enumerated therein.16

EMERGENCY MEASURES USED TO OBTAIN SUPPLIES

On May 2 the Surgeon General obtained verbal permission from the Secretary of War to incur additional obligations amounting to $5,000,000,17 in the absence of appropriations, but this and the sums mentioned above were all too small for the purpose. The embarrassment due to lack of appropriation was made known to the manufacturers, by whom the situation was understood. Many of them indicated a willingness to proceed with production in advance of a formal order provided they had reasonable assurance from the purchasing officers that a contract would be forthcoming as soon as the appropriation bill had passed. Some of the manufacturers had proceeded with commitments for materials without awaiting this assurance. In order that they might be protected and be definitely assured that contracts would be given them for the articles which they had undertaken to supply, letters were sent them in the following form:18

I have been informed by you of the progress made by the committee of manufacturers of surgical dressings in reference to the joint action in apportioning to the manufacturers the surgical dressings, etc., required by all departments of the Army. I also understand that these manufacturers, after the apportionment was made by your committee, proceeded at once with their purchases and manufacturing with the understanding that such apportionments would be confirmed with contracts now in preparation by the munitions board. This is to say, that the action taken by your committee and the manufacturers is entirely in accord with the request of the Secretary of War and myself, and the obligations the manufacturers have entered into for the Government become a moral obligation to the United States Government until such time as its acts are done under contract. Please extend to each manufacturer and to the committee as a whole my appreciation of the promptness of action and the expression of my wish that work proceed with all possible dispatch.

In view of the attitude of many of the manufacturers to proceed at once with the work of production and in order to save as much time as possible, the following instructions were sent to the purchasing officers at the New York and Washington medical supply depots on May 15:19
 
1. You are directed to make plans for the purchase of supplies for an army of 1,000,000 men. You will not place the actual orders until the pending deficiency appropriation bill passes, but you should be prepared to go ahead promptly when this occurs.

2. Having determined upon the articles needed and from whom you will purchase them, you may notify such persons that you will give the orders when the money is available. It is believed most firms will proceed to manufacture the articles upon such notification. We shall urgently need their products and we must cooperate with the manufacturers to this extent, which will morally bind us to make the contracts later on.

3. Just how you will place the orders is left to your judgment, as the result of your knowledge of the business situation and of conversations with the various manufacturing committees which have been in cooperation with the Council of National Defense. It appears that some of these firms prefer that they should be informed at once regarding the complete needs for a year, while other committees working with the Government (as for instance the pharmaceutical committee) suggest that orders be placed in smaller amounts and repeated at intervals.


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4. Our latest information indicates that 32 divisions will be formed and that these will assemble in divisional camps as far as practicable. It is contemplated that a thousand-bed hospital shall be provided at each such camp. It may be that some hospitals will he formed in connection with the hospitals at existing posts. On the other hand, it is probable that several separate brigade camps may be formed.

5. It is believed you can safely state that you will give an order for at least 25 combination sterilizing outfits. It is probable that more will be needed later.

6. The X-ray outfits will be managed from Washington by Captain Christie.

7. The Secretary of War has directed that no books or other material from which an Army officer will derive financial benefit small be purchased during the war. This, of course, prevents the purchase for the present of such standard books as Mason' s Handbook for the Sanitary Troops, LaGarde' s Surgery, and Havard' s Hygiene. Major Ashburn has given up his claim of royalty upon Ashburn' s Hygiene, and it is expected that the other authors will do the same, in which case the publishers' prices to us should be correspondingly reduced.

8. This letter supersedes any previous directions that conflict with it.
  
Since a number of prospective contractors seemed unwilling to incur obligations for raw materials and semifinished parts without a formal order, and in view of the probable early passage of the pending appropriation bill, the following instructions were issued to the officers in charge of the purchasing depots at New York and Washington on May 25:20

1. You are authorized to proceed with the purchase of supplies for an army of 1,000,000 men in addition to those now on hand, along the lines previously agreed upon in conferences with this office.

2. The contract for the surgical dressings is not yet prepared by the munitions board working with the manufacturers, and this purchase must be delayed till later authorized: also the order for the revised cases of surgical instruments, the catalogue for which will be furnished by the board in a few days. It is understood that the manufacturers have been informed of our needs and are preparing to make prompt deliveries.

3. Thirty combination sets of sterilizers for operating rooms should be obtained. It is probable that this number may be duplicated in the near future. Thirty X-rays outfits should be purchased with similar expectations of later increases. Major Christie will give expert advice regarding the X-ray apparatus.

4. Five hundred sets of portable dental apparatus should be purchased, and it is also probable that this order will be doubled later.

5. In the near future three or more distributing depots will be designated, and you will be furnished a list of supplies which you may ship for their stock. These retailing depots will carry post, field, and dental supplies.

6. It is to be understood that orders for a three months' supply of pharmaceuticals and chemicals will be submitted as recommended by the committee of manufacturers of these articles, working with the Council of National Defense. The subsequent orders will be given by you after the first lot is well under way, in accordance with the advice of the committee.

7. You have been furnished the requisitions of the St. Louis depot, which may be filled as they were modified, one-fourth of the pharmaceuticals and chemicals being furnished, and the remaining amounts as you can purchase them.

8. As previously informed, where standard articles are not obtainable, a satisfactory substitute may be accepted. As a guiding rule, all possible effort should be made to combine economy with efficiency. Ornamentation may be omitted and plainer furnishings substituted, provided they are good and serviceable.

9. A too strict insistence upon nonessential requirements of the specifications that were desirable during peace times can not be demanded in the present emergency. It is, however, expected that thoroughly practical articles may be obtained that will meet all reasonable requirements.


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10. An estimate of the approximate cost of the above supplies should be furnished to this office as soon as practicable.

11. The original copy of each contract covering the above purchases should be stamped:

Deficiency (RS 3732),
Authority Secretary of War.
April 30, 1917

12. The above should also be stamped in the upper left-hand corner of memorandum vouchers covering these purchases. The other copies of the contract and the original orders should not be stamped as indicated above.

The urgent deficiency appropriation bill became a law on June 15, l9l7 21 and funds became available for the purchase of supplies and to enable the tentative agreements to be confirmed by contracts. By this time the machinery of procurement was well in motion. By means of the foregoing instructions, the purchase of supplies proceeded at a satisfactory rate, and the delay in the passage of that bill did not have as disastrous results as was anticipated. Production went on at top speed, deliveries of most articles were made promptly, and at sufficient quantity of supplies to permit the medical personnel to carry on and to prevent suffering was at the several camps as soon as the troops arrived.

EARLY PURCHASES IN 1917

The initial war purchases during 1917 were based on the requirements of 1,000,000 men for one year and followed the general plan outlined above. The additional needs of the Medical Department, as they arose during that year, were allotted among the members of the various commodity associations in much the same manner as the initial purchases. Congress, however, did not approve this plan and by legislation made it illegal for persons interested in the sale of supplies to the Government to act in any capacity as procuring agents.22 The various committees whose services had been of such help to the Medical Department were disbanded in the latter part of the year as agents or representatives of the Council of National Defense23 and were reorganized as war service committees acting wholly as representatives of the manufacturers of commodity associations of which they were members.24

It was decided by the Surgeon General in June, 1917, that hospital accommodations be provided for 25 per cent of the troops in France. It was understood by the officer in charge of the supply division of the Surgeon General' s Office that the troop movements contemplated the early dispatch of all Regular Army and National Guard troops to France. On account of the time required to manufacture sufficient hospital beds for the American Expeditionary Forces, instructions were given the officer in charge of the New York medical supply depot, on August 12, 1917, to purchase 3,000 additional ward units (beds, bedding, and linen for 150,000)25 Had troops been dispatched to France according to this understanding the ward units would have been required by the time they were ready for shipment. Conditions which arose within the United States as a result of the epidemics of the winter of 1917-18 required the distribution of many of these beds to the training camps. The warehouse space in the new depots was able to take care of the remainder and no slowing of production on account of lack of storage space became necessary.


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The laboratory equipment listed in the standard supply table and included among the articles in the original instructions for the purchase of supplies for 1,000,000 men was very meager. Although the list had been revised by the committee on standardization, decision concerning the articles to be supplied to the base hospitals at the training camps was delayed. Instructions to purchase the laboratory equipment, except electrical apparatus, for the 32 training camps were issued June 30.26 Purchase of the electrical apparatus was authorized July 17 and instructions for the purchase of a large lot of laboratory apparatus,27 stains, and supplies, not included in former authorizations, were given July 20.28

LATE PURCHASES IN 1917

Contracts for the major part of the articles required for the million men were placed during the months from May to August, 1917, inclusive. The August contracts were, for the most part, those for surgical dressings. The actual placing of these contracts had been delayed awaiting the perfection of the special form of contract which was being developed for that purpose by the munitions committee of the Council of National Defense collaborating with the Surgical Dressings Manufacturers' Association and the Surgeon General' s Office.29

The demand for field equipment and supplies was very great, and it was necessary to increase from time to time the quantities authorized to be purchased. On August 7, 1917, instructions for the purchase of the following articles were given the purchasing officer at the field medical supply depot: the estimates of cost were based on latest contracts for those articles:30

Article

Quantity

Estimated cost

Article

Quantity

Estimated cost

Bed sacks

140,000

$280,000

Tables

Brassards

150,000

16,000

    Bedside, folding

30,000

$30,000

Cases, bedding:

   

    Mess

6,000

36,000

     Large

25,000

145,000

Litters

60,000

360,000

     Small

7,000

29,000

Canvas for litter, yards

135,000

67,000

Pillow sacks

100,000

55,000

Tags, diagnosis, books of

250,000

50,000

Chairs:

   

Chests, tool, No. 2

300

13,000

    Folding

34,000

20,000

   

    Medical and

         surgical

3,600

25,000

Total

 

1,126,000


These purchases were augmented on August 28 by instructions to purchase 350,000 blankets and 60,000 more litters.31 On September 6, the following instructions for the purchase of field supplies were issued to the office in charge of the field medical supply depot.32

1. You are authorized and directed to make purchases of field supplies as follows:
Fabrics and textiles Duplicate orders placed as per Schedule 329, with the following exceptions:

Bed sacks.

Case, bedding small.

Blankets.

Covers for cots.

Brassards.

Covers for litters.

Case, bedding, large.

Mosquito bars.

Of the excepted articles buy none at present.


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Wooden articles: -- Duplicate Schedule 330, with the following exceptions:

Boxes, standard packing

Desk, field, No. 1.

Chairs, folding.

Mosquito bar frames.

Chest, medical and surgical 

Spreaders for mosquito bar frames.

Cots, folding.

Tables, bedside, folding.

Cots, and sticks for.

Tables, mess, folding.

Buy none of the excepted articles at the present time.

    Miscellaneous supplies. Duplicate Schedule 331 with the following exceptions: Bottles, flint, 8-ounce, wide mouth, ground -glass stoppers; litters.; packsaddles and all packsaddle parts.

    Buy none of the excepted articles. Buy bottles, flint, 8-ounce wide mouth, and corks for same, in lieu of ground-glass stoppered bottles. Buy 10,000 litter slings, as shown on schedule, with the new-style hardware.

    Hardware and metal articles. Duplicate Schedule 332, except as indicated below:

Cargo frames, none.

Scissors, bent trimmers, 7,000.

Chest, tool No. 2, none.

Spreaders for pack saddles, none.

Collars for flagstaff, 800 sets.

Stoves, alcohol, none.

Flagstaffs, 800 sets (1,600 poles).

Stoves, coal oil, blue, frame, single burner, 4,000.

Packsaddle frames, none.

Scissors, blunt point, steel, 125,000 should be

brought through surgical instruments   

    committee).

    Table ware and cooking utensils. - Duplicate Schedule, 333.
    Instruments and appliances.   Duplicate Schedule 334, except as indicated below:

Cases, hemostatic forceps, none.

Forcepts, artery, Tape' s none.

Cases for enlisted men' s belts, none.

Needles, surgical none.

Cases for officers' belts, none.

Specula, ear, none.

Cases, instument, for emergency case, none.

Specula, rectal, none.

Cases, tooth extracting , none.

Tourniquets, field, web, 250,000.

    Rubber goods. Duplicate Schedule 335, with the following exception: Bandages, rubber, Martin's, 15,000 instead of 5,000.
    Stationery. Duplicate Schedule 336, except as indicated below:

Books, blank:

 

Books, note, minifolding fillers

250,000

   Crown, cap, 250 pages

5,000

Erasers, steel

3,000

   8vo, 150 pages

30,000

 

Tin containers. Duplicate Schedule 337, with the following exception: Tins, square, round corner, 4 1/8 by 4 1/8 by 8 1/4 inches, body height, 150,000 (instead of 100,000).
Surgical dressings. Duplicate Circular 338 in so fr as it applis to ligatures and sutures, but buy no dressings at this time.

In addition to the above purchases you are directed to double your requisition on New York, dated April 7, 1917, except as indicated below:

Ether, tins

200,000

Cases:

 

Foot powder, do

600,000

    General operating

700

Quininiae hydroochlosulphas,

    hypodermic tablets, tubes

60,000

    Operating, small

3,000

Books, blank:

 

    Post-mortem

150

     Crown, cap 250 pages

None

Crutches

2,000

     8vo, 850 pages

None

Rubber tips for crutches

4,000

Files, Shannon

None

Chest, tool, No. 1

150

Apparatus, restraint

200

Dishes, Petri

 None

Boxes, folding for tablets, gross

200,000

Medicine droppers

200,000

 

Pails, commode

1,500


177

Pajama coats

500,000

Thermometers, clinical

100,000

Pajama trousers

500,000

Towels, dish

360,000

Pins, papers

150,000

Tubing, drainage, yards

200,000

Pins, safety, do

1,500,000

Urinometers

400

Scales and weights

None

Books, medical, sets

120

Shears

None

 

Syringe, hypodermic, extra needles

200,000

 


The instructions covering the purchase of surgical instruments were elaborated in the following letter sent to the medical supply depot at New York and the field medical supply depot at Washington, the letters being identical:33

1. You are authorized and directed to purchase surgical instruments as follows:

Duplicate the present contracts, making them out exactly like those now in effect with the different firms, quantity to be the same. Send the contracts to the several firms with a letter requesting them to sign the same and return, if they are willing to undertake time work at the prices stated.

2. It is believed that the majority of the manufacturers will accept the terms and sign the contracts. Those who do not you will report to this office. This procedure is followed on the advice of the chairman of the committee on surgical instruments, Council of National Defense. However, you need not mention this in your letter to the manufacturers.

Authorization to the officer in charge, New York medical supply depot, for the purchase of Hodgen' s splints in large quantities was granted October 24, 1917,34 and, on November 7, 1917, for the purchase of stock of assorted instruments according to the list in the standard catalogue in such quantities as indicated on requisitions received.35

PURCHASES DURING 1918

The purchase of laboratory supplies was transferred from the New York depot to the field medical supply depot in Washington at the end of 1917.36 By this time, the standard supply table of laboratory supplies had been fully completed and the list was extensive. Also, the requirements in all classes of supplies had become better known, and a change in the mode of stating the requirements was made. This method is described in detail below under Hospital supplies, Schedule 1. Because of the urgent need for laboratory supplies and the difficulties which had been experienced in securing them, these instructions directed that orders for them be placed without delay. The list included 130 articles.
 
With the rapid expansion of the Army, the changing environment, and the morbidity rate, it was continually necessary to add new articles of equipment to the armamentarium of the hospitals. Specialties sprang up overnight almost, and equipment had to be selected, standardized, and provided as the needs required. New types of morbidity were developing from changed conditions and weapons of combat. As each new condition arose, apparatus and supplies were developed and provided to cope with it. Advances in equipment were rapid. As these articles of new equipment were needed, instructions for their purchase were issued, while purchases of standard articles were made at fairly regular intervals.


178

The strength of the Army was constantly increasing, likewise the demand for medical supplies. By the end of 1917 the troops called to the colors had reached a million and a half, and further augmentation was being considered.37 More supplies must be purchased. Plans for the early purchases in 1918 were perfected during the latter part of December, 1917. Instructions for the purchase of post supplies were sent to the officer in charge of the New York medical supply depot under date of January 10, 1918, as Part I, hospital supplies, schedule of medical supplies required by the United States Army. 38 The letter of instructions directing these purchases is quoted here in full because, in several respects, it marks a departure from the method which previously had been followed in compliance with the instructions of the Secretary of War of April 13, 1917, already quoted. The letter is followed by sufficient extracts from Schedule 1 which accompanied it for a better understanding of the plan.

JANUARY 10, 1918.

From:    The Surgeon General.
To:        The officer in charge, medical supply depot, 628 Greenwich Street, New York.
Subject: Purchase of post supplies.
 
1. I send herewith Part I of schedule of medical supplies required by the Army. This list includes practically all items listed in the Manual for the Medical Department under the title Post supplies. X-ray supplies are also listed, as are certain foods, beverages, and condiments pertaining to the field supply table. The latter are included for the reason that it will frequently be advisable for your depot to purchase these for shipment to France.

2. You are advised that the officer in charge, field medical supply depot, will be instructed to send no more requisitions to your depot for the purpose of replenishing his stock, but will, in future, purchase the articles heretofore drawn from your depot on requisition. These articles include alcohol, hypodermic tablets, cases of instruments, pajamas towels, etc. You will, however, fill all unfilled requisitions from that depot now on hand as soon as possible.

3. The following instructions will govern in making purchases under this schedule:
        (a) Invite quotations on all items of a class at the same time, whenever possible, and for the full quantity to be purchased quarterly. If this is done the number of contracts to be made will be materially reduced.
       (b) In all invitations for quotations the following statement should appear:
  
Bidders may submit quotations for one or more of the items and for the whole or any portion of the total quantities called for of any item. Bidders must also state the rate of delivery and the total quantity they will deliver without fail within 90 days from date of award.

This requirement is very important, as it will enable the purchasing officer to so make the awards that in the majority of cases deliveries of the supply will be assured during the quarter covered by the purchase.
        (c) As a rule, from 10 to 20 days should be given bidders in which to submit quotations. The date and hour of opening should be stated in the invitation.
        (d) The invitations for quotations on the several classes of supplies should be sent out in such a way as to insure an even distribution of the clerical work involved in correspondence with bidders, drawing up contracts, etc. If this rule is followed, contracts can he executed promptly after awards are made.
        (e) In future you will not purchase army articles pertaining solely to the field supply table unless directed to do so by this office. This applies to such articles as folding chairs, folding tables, etc. Should such items appear on requisitions referred to your depot for issue, you should advise this office at once.
        (f) Until further notice from this office you are directed to proceed as follows:


179

CLASS I. MEDICINES, ANTISEPTICS, AND DISINFECTANTS

LISTS A AND B

1. Purchase enough of each item to bring the total quantity purchased since June 1, 1917, up to the figures given in first column (for 1, 000, 000 men one year) plus the quantity required to fill requisitions from the field medical supply depot since April 1, 1917. If there are indications that the quality of army item given is not sufficient, it is directed that you advise this office without delay.

2. The regular quarterly purchases of both lists will be made by the general purchasing office, Medical Department, United States Army, now being organized. The first quarterly purchase will be made about March 1, 1918.

CLASS II. INSTRUMENTS AND APPLIANCES

LIST A

1. Purchase enough of each item to bring the total purchased since June 1, 1917, up to the figures given in the first column, plus the quantity required to fill requisitions from the field medical supply depot since April 1, 1917. If a probable shortage is indicated notify this office.

2. The regular quarterly purchase indicated should be made by you, including in the first quarter those purchases to be made under paragraph 1, list A.

LIST B

1. Submit a statement to this office showing total purchases of each item made since June 1, 1917.
2. In future purchases of items on this list will be made by the general purchasing office.
3. Submit a list of the reserve instruments you have purchased under authorization from this office dated November 7, 1917, with recommendations as to quantities that, in your opinion, should be purchased quarterly.

CLASS III. SURGICAL DRESSINGS

Submit a statement showing total quantity of each item purchased since May 1, 1917. In future the items of this class will be purchased by the general purchasing office, Medical Department.

 CLASS IV. SUTURES

Submit statement showing total purchases since June 1, 1917.
In future the items of this class will be purchased by the general purchasing office, Medical Department.

CLASS V. HOSPITAL EQUIPMENT AND FURNITURE

LIST A

1. Purchase enough of each item to bring the total quantity purchased since June 1, 1917, up to the figures given in first column plus the quantity required to fill requisitions from the field medical supply depot since April 1, 1917. If there are indications that time quantity of any item as given therein is not sufficient, advise this office without delay.

2. The regular quarterly purchases of the items of this list will be made by you. Include in the first quarter those purchases to be made under paragraphs 1, list A.

LIST B

Submit statement to this office showing total purchases of each item made since May 1, 1917. Also submit recommendations as to purchases, bearing in mind those items marked *, against which the commander in chief, American Expeditionary Force, has sent stop orders.


180

CLASS VI. FABRICS AND TEXTILES

Submit statement to this office showing total purchases of each item since June 1, 1917, and the quantities requisitioned by the field medical supply depot since April 1, 1917.
Future purchases of items on this list will be made by the general purchasing office, Medical Department.

CLASS VII. RUBBER GOODS

1.  Purchase enough of each item to bring the total quantity purchased since June 1, 1917, up to the figure given in first column, plus the quantity required to fill requisitions from the field medical supply depot since April 1, 1917. If there are indications that the quantity of any item as given therein is not sufficient, advise this office without delay.

2. The regular quarterly purchases of the items of this class will be made by you. Include in the first quarter those purchases to be made under paragraph 1.

CLASS VIII. KITCHEN UTENSILS AND TABLEWARE

1. Purchase enough of each item to bring the total quantity purchased since June 1, 1917, up to the figure given in first column. If, in your opinion, the quantity given of any item is too low, advise this office without delay.

2. The quarterly purchases will be made by you. Include in the first quarter those purchases to be made under paragraph 1.

CLASS IX. STATIONERY

LISTS A AND B

1. Purchase enough of each item to bring the total quantity purchased since June 1, 1917, up to the figure given in first column plus the quantity required to fill requisitions from the field medical supply depot since April 1, 1917. If, in your opinion, the quantity given, of any item, is too low advise this office without delay.

2. The quarterly purchases will be made by you. Include in the first quarter the purchases to be made under paragraph 1.

CLASS X. MISCELLANEOUS

1. Purchase enough of each item to bring the total quantity purchased since June 1, 1917, up to the figure given in first column plus the quantity required to fill requisitions from the field medical supply depot, since April 1, 1917. If, in your opinion, the quantity given of any item is too low, advise this office without delay.

2. The quarterly purchases will be made by you. Include in the first quarter time purchases to be made under paragraph 1.

CLASS XI. X-RAY SUPPLIES

LIST A

1. Purchase enough of each item to bring the total quantity purchased since June 1, 1917, up to the figure given in first column. If, in your opinion, the quantity given of any item is too low, advise this office without delay.

2. The quarterly purchases will be made by you. Include in the first quarter the purchases to be made under paragraph 1.

LIST B

Report to this office the total quantity of each item purchased since June 1, 1917, and whether, in your opinion, the quantity given of any item is too low.

CLASS XII. FOODS, BEVERAGES AND CONDIMENTS

To be purchased by you as required to fill requisitions and overseas orders.

(g) Special apparatus, instruments, etc., will be purchased by you on special authorization from this office as heretofore.


181

(h)Laboratory equipment and supplies will be issued from the field medical supply depot. Requisitions for these supplies will, however, be referred to you until the supply now on hand or under contract shall have been issued.

(i) A schedule of dental supplies is now being prepared and will be sent to you at an early date.

It is requested that you acknowledge receipt of these instructions.

SCHEDULE OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES REQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY

PART I. HOSPITAL SUPPLIES

CONTENTS

Class 1. Medicines, antiseptics, and disinfectants.

Class 7. Rubber goods.

Class 2. Instruments and appliances. 

Class 8. Kitchen utensils ,and tableware.

Class 3. Surgical dressings.

Class 9. Stationery.

Class 4. Sutures.

Class 10. Miscellaneous supplies.

Class 5. Hospital equipment and furniture.

Class 11. X-ray supplies.

Class 6. Fabrics and textiles.

Class 12. Foods, beverages, and condiments.

NOTE. - The following are to be purchased only on special authorization of the Surgeon General.

List B. Class 1.

List B. Class 5.

List B. Class 2.

List B. Class 6.

All of Class 3.

List B. Class 11.

            *             *              *             *            *            *

CLASS 1. MEDICINES, ANTICEPTICS, AND DISINFECTANTS

Items

Articles

Quantity required for 1,000,000 men for 1 year

Quantity to be purchased every 3 months

1

Acacia, powder, 1 pound, in bottle, bottles

12,000

5,000

4

Acidum aceticum, pound, in bottle, do

6,000

2,500

8

Acidum nitricum, pound, in bottle, do

12,000

5,000

17

Ether, pound, in bottle, do

1,000,000

400,000

 
            *             *             *             *            *            *

CLASS 2. INSTRUMENTS AND APPLIANCES

LIST A

To be purchased as indicated.

Items

Articles

Quantity required for 1,000,000 men for 1 year

Quantity to be purchased every 3 months

1

Applicators for throat, metal, number

4,000

500

8

Inflators, Politzer' s, do

2,000

500

12

Sphygmomanometers, do

2,000

500

20

Syringes, Luer, 2.c.c., do

4,000

1,000


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[Page 182 tables]


183

 [Page 183 tables]


184      

[Page 184 tables]

 
Schedule 2, field supplies, was transmitted to the field medical supply depot on February 7, 1918, and accompanied by instructions similar to those to the New York depot just quoted.39 The general purchasing office, Medical Department, having been established in Washington, D. C., the purchase of medicines, antiseptics, disinfectants, certain surgical instruments, surgical dressings, fabrics, and textiles were reserved to that office for procurement. Schedule 2 was


185

prepared in the same manner and with appropriate classifications as Schedule 1. It will not be quoted.

The schedule for dental supplies40 and the schedule for veterinary supplies41 were prepared during the latter part of January. They correspond in form with that of Schedule 1 above quoted. The schedule of dental supplies was transmitted, with appropriate instructions similar to those with Schedule 1, to the New York medical supply depot for procurement under date of February 11. The schedule for veterinary supplies conformed in general classification and arrangement to those already mentioned. Its basis of computation was, however, 250,000 animals. This schedule, with appropriate instructions, was sent to the medical supply depot at St. Louis, Mo., on February 12, 1918.  

This method of stating requirements and issuing instructions to purchase continued in force until June, 1918, when it was modified to adapt it to the automatic supply schedule received from the chief surgeon, A. E. F., France, on May 10.42 This automatic supply schedule stated, for every article on the authorized supply list, the quantity required monthly for a mixed force of 25,000 men from front to rear, without regard to organization or whether in the combat zone or in the rest or training areas. Initial equipment for medical units was to accompany them or to arrive before them in accordance with the sailing schedule of such units.
 
In order to make procurements conform to the automatic supply schedule, mimeographed sheets were prepared showing the articles to be purchased by each of the three purchasing agencies of the Medical Department. On these sheets were listed the articles, the quantities required for one base or general hospital, and those on the automatic schedule for the particular articles. In issuing instructions to purchase or to procure articles it was necessary only to specify the number of times the quantities entered on these sheets was to be provided. As the strength of the Army was being augmented rapidly, this method proved a great convenience in meeting the changing conditions. The letter and a specimen sheet follow:43

NOVEMBER 2, 1918.

From:   The Surgeon General.
To:   The officer in charge, general purchasing office, Medical Department.
Subject: Procurement schedule.
 
1. I send herewith procurement schedule of articles to be purchased by the general purchasing office. This list covers the estimated requirements from January 1 to June
30, 1919.
2. It is directed that you purchase one thousand one hundred and fifty times the quantity of each item listed in the last column, Automatic supply for each 25,000 men, and seventy-five times the quantity listed in the column Initial equipment for base hospitals, except for those items for which the figures are indicated in the left-hand margin of each page. In these cases you should buy the quantities stated.
3. Contracts should specify deliveries from December 1, 1918, to May, 1919, in approximately equal monthly installments.

By direction of the Surgeon General:
C. R. DARNALL,
Colonel, Medical Corps.

One inclosure.


186 

Procurement schedule, Medical Department, United States Army
[To be purchased by general purchasing office]


This method of stating requirements was used also in giving instructions for the placing of interbureau requisitions after the consolidation of procurement had become fully effective in the summer of 1918. The same method continued in use until the Surgeon General was divested of the procurement activities of his office November 15, 1918, by the general consolidation of all procurement activities under the control of the director of purchase and storage, purchase, storage, and traffic division, General Staff.44

While general procurement schedules and instructions for purchase were issued at fairly regular and stated intervals, issue of purchase instructions by the Surgeon General' s Office was of practically daily occurence. These instructions were issued by indorsements on requisitions authorizing the purchase of articles entered thereon which were not in stock or due on contract, by approvals of requests from the various medical supply officers to purchase supplies of of which they were out of stock, and in letters directing the purchase of various articles in specified quantities.

BY THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT GENERAL PURCHASING OFFICE

Very early in production, prospective shortages of various commodities appeared, and the War Industries Board began to exercise increasing control over raw materials through its system of priorities. This control was effected largely through conferences with representatives of the various industries and by securing their cooperation. These conferences were generally held in Washington in the offices of the War Industries Board. Washington came to be the common meeting place of representatives of industry and the point of contact between them and the Government supply bureaus.


187

As the year 1917 drew to a close, the tendency toward centralization of activities in Washington became manifest, and indicated the expediency of establishing a central agency in the Medical Department at Washington for the purchase of medical and hospital supplies. It seemed a logical step. Representatives of the various war service committees of manufacturers were more or less continuously in Washington; contact with them could be made quickly and business transacted with greater promptness.

A centralized purchasing department was organized early in January, 1918, under the title, general purchasing office, Medical Department, United States Army. 45 Office space was given it at first in the Premier Apartment Building, 718 Eighteenth Street NW., Washington, D. C., and later in Unit F, Seventh and B Streets NW., Washington, D. C. Personnel was assigned to it and an intensive study was made of methods of purchase, production, and inspection in effect at the several supply depots.46 At first but a few articles were consolidated for purchase by this organization.45 By the middle of April, 175 contracts had been placed by it.47 As its organization improved and the experience of its personnel increased other articles and commodities were consolidated for procurement by it. The assignment of articles to this office for purchase were, in order, medicines, surgical dressings, textiles, certain field items, surgical instruments,47 until finally the greater part of all articles on the supply table, as well as special articles, were being procured. The organization developed slowly. Experts were called in to handle the various commodities assigned to it for procurement. The commissioned personnel, all officers of the Sanitary Corps, gradually increased, until at the time of signing the armistice they numbered12. The office force, composed of limited-service men and civilian employees, had grown correspondingly. The personnel was grouped into sections in conformity with the various classes of duty to be performed, and into commodity sections for purchases. In this it followed commercial practice.    

The general purchasing office maintained no depot for the storage and issue of the supplies it purchased. It had no property accountability or responsibility, other than for the office equipment in its office. It exercised a purely purchase function, negotiated purchases and placed contracts or purchase orders. It maintained records of purchases and production. It received its requirements from the Surgeon General' s Office in the form of instructions to purchase. It was always in close liaison with that office with which its contact was direct and immediate. Conferences between the two offices were of almost daily occurrence.
   
In conformity with existing instructions, all purchases were made after advertising. Circulars of advertisement were issued; bids were opened, abstracted; awards were made; and contracts placed in routine manner in accordance with the regulations of the War Department. New sources of supply were investigated and new facilities sought. All payments for supplies purchased by the general purchasing office were made by the disbursing officer in the Surgeon General' s Office. Consequently it was not the custodian of any public funds.
   
In its procurement the general purchasing office functioned in a manner similar to the purchasing division of the supply depots. Having no storage


188

and issue function, it was relieved of property accountability and rendered no return of property. This injected a new problem into the procurement of supplies. How to avoid this accountability and the rendering of the prescribed return was a difficult question for a time. It was finally solved by requiring the officer who received the supplies to take them up on his returns in much the same manner as was done by purchasing officers at the depots. The responsibility of the general purchasing office terminated with the placing of the articles purchased on board cars at the contractor' s plant. All contracts called for delivery f. o. b. factory. The purchasing office followed production and arranged for the inspection of the supplies at the factory where they were made or at one of the chemical laboratories. From there on all details were handled by agencies within the finance and supply division of the Surgeon General' s Office. Shipments were handled by the transportation section, vouchers and payments by the disbursing branch of the finance section, and property accountability by the property accounts section.  

As noted elsewhere (p.71), property received by purchase for many years had been taken up and reported to the Surgeon General through the use of a form known as Form 12. This form listed the articles and quantities received and bore the certificate of the purchasing officer that he had taken them up on his return of property. In solving the problem of purchases made by an agency which did not receive the property purchased or assume responsibility for it this form was not appropriate. A different procedure became necessary, for which new forms were devised. The revised purchase procedure contemplated that the supplies would be shipped from the contractor direct to a medical supply depot or other consignee and taken up by the latter. When the contractor had supplies ready for delivery, a formal order was sent him to make shipment; this order bore a serial number, the name of the contractor, the name and address of the consignee, and the articles and quantities to be shipped. The order was duly signed by the officer designated for that purpose. A printed form was used and the details filled in by typewriter. As it was typed, several copies of a similar form were prepared with it by the carbon process. The copies of this form were of different colors pink, yellow, green, and white. The shipping order was blue. Each colored sheet had a different purpose, although all bore the same information. The purpose and distribution of these two forms are shown below:

APPLICATION OF SHIPPING ORDER AND INVOICE RECEIPT

BLUE SHEET 1

This is the original shipping order and goes to the shipper; it does not have the receipt portion at the bottom; it should specify definitely, commodity, unit, amount to be shipped, consignee, bill of lading numbers, etc.

PINK SHEET 2

This copy is filed by the transportation branch, alphabetically, and attached to the contract papers. _____________________________________________________________________________
1  This does not show unit price. 
2  These all show unit price.


189

YELLOW SHEET 2

This copy is forwarded by the transportation branch for the information of the tabulation, statistical, and finance sections.

THREE GREEN SHEETS 2

These are mailed directly to the consignee by the transportation branch and in turn filled out by the consignee as to the receipt portion and disposed of as follows:
First green sheet is mailed by the consignee direct to the transportation branch, Medical Department, and is then passed on to the purchasing officer, who attaches the same to his contract papers to show final disposition.
Second green sheet is mailed to the disbursing officer, finance section, and is passed on from him to returns section to be taken tip on the property return.
Third green sheet is filed by the consignee as his permanent record of the property, unit price of same, and to show the property taken up on his return.

WHITE SHEET 2

This filed numerically by the transportation branch in order to quickly connect up information which may refer only to shipping order or bill of lading numbers.

NOTE. When shipping orders are issued in blank to either of the field agents at Fall River, Mass., or Spartanburg, S. C., there will be furnished with each set the following:
 
   Second white sheet
to be filed by either of the above alphabetically with their papers.

    Third white sheet
to be filed by either of the above numerically.

The shipping order, when mailed to the contractor, was accompanied by a Government bill of lading filled out, except for the details which could not be entered until the shipment was made up, such as number of packages and weight. The spaces to be filled in by the shipper were appropriately indicated. The copies of the essential parts of the bill of lading, all containing the same entries, except as to signature, were required. These copies included the shipping order, the original bill of lading, and three memorandum bills of lading. The shipping order was a formal request to the transportation company to make the shipment and bore the signature of an officer of the Army duly authorized to sign it. The original and the three memorandum bills of lading were to be authenticated by the agent of the transportation company. Identical instructions and conditions were printed on the reverse side of the shipping order and the original bill of lading. They recited the agreement between the shipper and the transportation company and the conditions under which the shipment was made.

The yellow copy of the form of invoice-receipt was lodged finally in the finance section, finance and supply division, for the information and use of the disbursing officer. The No. 2 copy of the memorandum bill of lading, when received by the transportation branch, was routed to the disbursing officer, thus informing him of the technical delivery of the supplies ordered. Upon this evidence of delivery he was authorized to make payment. The second green copy of the shipping order-invoice-receipt form, duly signed by the consignee, upon its receipt in the finance and supply division, went first to the finance section to complete the chain of evidence of delivery and acceptance. From the finance section it went to the property accounts section, where it
_________________________________________________   

            2    These all show unit price.


190 

was filed and served to charge the consignee with accountability for the articles in the same manner as did the standard form of receipt. This completed the cycle. The property had been duly contracted for, delivered, paid for, and accountability for it established, without the purchasing officer having assumed accountability for it.

The records kept by the general purchasing office were a correspondence file, a contract file, a bid for proposal file, price records, production records, and inspection reports. These were all very similar to those maintained by the purchasing department described in the account of the New York medical supply depot. They need not be further considered here. The same general forms were used for circular advertisements and purchase orders. For contracts and abstracts of bids standard official forms were used.
 
To establish uniformity in practice and the required quality on delivery, instructions in the following form were sent to manufacturers of pharmaceuticals.

GENERAL PURCHASING OFFICE,
MEDICAL DEPARTMENT UNITED STATES ARMY,
Washington, D. C.

Sirs: Before making shipment on any article awarded you on circular, preliminary sample for examination must be submitted and approved by our chemist.

Whenever practicable submit an original container such as you propose to supply except in case of bulk, them a quantity sufficient to make at least three determinations should be submitted in a clean well-stoppered bottle. Sample must be plainly marked with your name as manufacturer or dealer and the name of the item and number as it appears in the circular. It must also contain your identifying or control number; every lot separately manufactured must bear such distinctive number for the purpose of identification, so that in the event of nonacceptability of any lot or delivery or partial delivery, it may be readily recognized without prejudice to other acceptable deliveries.

    Samples of items whose number is preceded by the letter P are to be sent direct to:

    Inspection Department,
    Medical Supply Depot, United States Army,
    Washington and Morton Streets,
    New York, N. Y.

    Samples of items whose number is preceded by letters C or F are to be sent direct to:

    Chemist, Surgeon General' s Office,
    Army Medical Museum Building,
    Seventh and B Streets SW., Washington, D. C.

These prelimninary samples are requested with the view of preventing shipment and subsequent return of items, which through error, lack of understanding of requirements, or for other reasons, do not meet our standards. Later inspection as to packing, weight, measure, count, and standard of contents will be made upon receipt of shipments.

Prompt compliance with this request is essential.

By authority of the officer in charge.

In view of the large number of surgical and dental instruments required, the difficulty in securing a sufficient quantity of them, and the need for all information concerning facilities for their production, it was found convenient to maintain a file of manufacturers on data cards in the following form, which were ruled on the reverse side for additional data.


191

MANUFACTURERS DATA CARD
General Purchasing Office, Medical Department
Unit F, Wing 5, Seventh and B Streets
Washington, D. C.    191

Name........................................................................
Location....................................................................
Number of employees, mechanics, skilled................................................
Commercial rating ( Bradstreet's)............................................
Manufacturers of............................................................
Do drop forging.......................................................
Do nickle plating .................................................................
Kind of power used.............................................................
How is power generated.......................................................
Transportation, rail, or water, and how near.............................................................
Could manufacture surgical and dental instruments and equipment....................
Previous dealings with government............................................
List of machinery.............................................

The general purchasing office continued to function as an agency of the Medical Department until November 15, 1918, when it was transferred to and became a part of the medical and hospital section of the office of the director of purchase and storage. There it served as the agency for the termination and adjustment of existing Medical Department contracts and the central advisory agency for the purchase of medical supplies. The temporary commissioned personnel were ultimately demobilized and the duties transferred to medical officers of the regular establishment assigned to that duty. This personnel handled matters relating to the disposal of surplus medical property.

REFERENCES

(1) Letter from Lieut. Col. H. C. Fisher, M. C., S. G. O., to Lieut. Col. H. D. Snyder, M. C., Medical Supply Depot, New York, April 25, 1917, relative to the purchase of supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14039-20.9.
(2) Letter from Lieut. Col. H. D. Snyder, M. C., Medical Supply Depot, New York, to Lieut. Col. H. C. Fisher, M. C., S. G. O., January 17, 1917, relative to difficulties in procurement. Also: Letter from the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, to the Surgeon General, March 23, 1917. Subject: Medical Supplies obtained with difficulty. Finance arid Supply Division, S. G. O., 14039-I.
(3) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, February 10, 1917. Subject: List of important medical supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14039-V.
(4) First indorsement, Surgeon General' s Office, to the officer in charge, Field Medical Supply Depot, March 7, 1917, relative to purchase of supplies. Also: Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Field Medical Supply Depot, March 16, 1917. Subject: Field Medical Supplies. Also: First indorsement, Surgeon General, to the officer in charge, Field Medical Supply Depot, January 19, 1917, relative to purchase of supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14101-3; 14101-11; and 11101-L.
(5) Letter from the Surgeon General to the Officer in Charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, March 22, 1917. Subject: Emergency recruiting outfits, and telegram from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, April 9, 1917, to assemble recruiting outfits. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 141017-3-8.


192

(6) Letter from the Surgeon General to the Secretary of War, January 9, 1917, relative to standardization of supplies and ensuing correspondence. On file, Record Room, S. G. O., 164, 108, A, B, et. seq. (Old Files).
(7) List of Staple Medical and Surgical Supplies selected to meet War Conditions by the Committee on Standardization appointed by the Council of National Defense. Washington, Government Printing Office, May, 1917.
(8) Laboratory apparatus and reagents: Proposed revision of par. 840, Manual for the Medical Department, 1916. Published in pamphlet form, February 15, 1918, Surgeon General' s Office, War Department.
(9) Letter from Lieut. Col. H. C. Fisher, M. C., S. G. O. to Lieut. Col. H. D. Snyder, M. C. Medical Supply Depot, New York, April 5, 1917, relative to supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14039-18.
(10) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, New York medical supply depot, April 5, 1917. Subject: Post medical supplies for 500,000 men. On file, Finance and 5tmpply Division, S. G. O., 14039-20.
(11) Act of March 9, 1898 (30 Stats. 274)
(12) Act of April 17, 1917 (40 Stats. 28).
(13) First indorsement from the Adjutant General to the Surgeon General, May 10, 1917, relative to use of national defense fund. On file, Record Room. S. G. O., 169966.
(14) First indorsement from the Surgeon General' s Office, to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, April 9, 1917, relative to the purchase of supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14101.-15.-1.
(15) Letter from the Surgeon General to the Secretary of War, April 25, 1917. Subject: Authority to incur a deficiency; and the approval of the Secretary indorsed thereon. Received back from The Adjutant General, May 1, 1917. On file, Record Room, S. G. O., 152,239.-6, (Old File).
(16) Indorsement, the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, and Field Medical Supply Depot, May 2, 1917, to purchase supplies. On file, Record Room, S. G. O., 152,239.-6 (Old Files).
(17) Memorandum on Medical Department supplies prepared by Col. H. C. Fisher, M. C., December 24, 1917. On file, Record Room, S. G. O., 111.1 (f. y. 1918).
(18) Letter from the Surgeon General to Mr. Henry P. Kendall, secretary, Manufacturers of Surgical Dressings, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y., May 17, 1917. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14636.-22.
(19) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, May 15, 1917. Subject: Plans for the purchase of supplies for an army of a million men. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14039-20.-12.
(20) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, May 25, 1917. Subject: Supplies for a million men. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14039.-20.-14.
(21) Act of June 15, 1917 (40 Stats. 182).
(22) Act of Aug. 10, 1917 (40 Stats. 276).
(23) Letter from Dr. F. F. Simpson, Chief Medical Section, Council of National Defense, to Col. C. R. Darnall, Office of the Surgeon General, December 7, 1917. Subject: Dissolution of industrial committees of the Council of National Defense. On file, Finance
and Supply Division, S. G. O. , 533 N.D./32. 
(24) Letter from Mr. Charles J. Lynn, manager, Eli Lilley & Co., Indianapolis, Ind., to Col. C. R. Darnall, War Department, Office of the Surgeon General, December 11, 1917, relative to pharmaceuticals. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 442 C. J. L./1.


193

  
(25) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, September 8, 1917. Subject: Purchase of beds. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 350/9.
(26) Letter from the Surgeon General' s Office, to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, June 30, 1917. Subject: Laboratory Supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14636.-53.-1.
(27) Letter from the Surgeon General' s Office to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, July 17, 1917. Subject: Laboratory supplies for cantonments. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14636.-53.-1.
(28) Letter from the Surgeon General' s Office to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, July 20, 1917. Subject: Laboratory supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14636.-53.-3.
(29) Letter from the Surgeon General' s Office, to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, June 18, 1917. Subject: Printed copies of contracts for surgical dressings. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 14039.-99.
(30) First indorsement, the Surgeon General' s Office, August 7, 1917, on letter from officer in charge, Field Medical Supply Depot, Washington, to the Surgeon General, August 3,  1917. Subject: Authority to purchase. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-750/1.
(31)  Letter from the Surgeon General' s Office to the officer in charge, Field Medical Supply Depot, August 28, 1917. Subject: Authorization purchase of field supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division., S. G. O.,   
 713-750/30-A.
(32) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Field Medical Supply Depot, Washington, September 6, 1917. Subject: Purchase of field supplies. On file,  Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.,
713-750/45.
(33) Letters from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, and Field Medical Supply Depot, Washington, September 18, 1917. Subject: Purchase of surgical instruments. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-539/126, 713-750/57.
(34) First indorsement, the Surgeon General' s Office, October 24, 1917, on letter of October 19, 1917, from the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York.  Subject: Splints.  On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-539 N.Y./196, 248.                  
(35) First indorsement, the Surgeon General' s Office, November 7, 1917, on letter of November 5, 1917, from officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York. Subject: Instruments as per stock catalogue. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-539 N. Y./222.
(36) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Field Medical Supply Depot, December 31, 1917. Subject: Class I laboratory supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-150/152.
(37) Tentative Strength Table, for requirements and supply estimates only, corrected to March 12, 1918. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 750-714 S.G./S-10.
(38) Letter from the Surgeon General' s Office to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, January 10, 1918. Subject: Purchase of post supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-539/358.


194

(39) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Field Medical Supply Depot, Washington, February 7, 1918. Subject: Part II, Schedule of Medical Supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-750/182.

(40) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, February 11, 1918. Subject: Schedule of Dental Supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-539 N. Y. D./433.
(41) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, St. Louis, Mo., February 2, 1918. Subject: Schedule of Veterinary Supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-750/1821.
(42) Letter from the Chief Surgeon A. E. F., to the Surgeon General, April 2, 1918. Subject: Automatic supply. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 713-250/15.
(43) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, General Purchasing Office, Medical Department, November 2, 1918. Subject: Procurement Schedule. Copy on file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O.
(44) Supply Circular No. 102, War Department, Purchase, Storage and Traffic Division, General Staff, October 24, 1918.
(45) Office memorandum, Finance and Supply Division, January 9, 1918, relative to the General Purchasing Office, Medical Department, U. S. A. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 490 Misc./177.
(46) Letter from the Surgeon General to the officer in charge, Medical Supply Depot, New York, January 14, 1918. Subject: Investigation of methods of purchasing supplies. On file, Finance and Supply Divisions, S. G. O., 713-539/374.
(47)  Memorandum for Colonel Wolfe from 1st Lieut. F. W. Lang, Sanitary Corps, N. A., April 18, 1918, relative to the work of the General Purchasing Office. On file, Finance and Supply Division, S. G. O., 490 Misc./177.