- 1949 - 1951 (Creation)
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The MPSB chronological series contains the records of the Military Production and Supply Board(1) . In accordance with Article 9 of the North Atlantic Treaty and the guidance given by the Working Group on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during the first Council session in Washington in 1949, the Defence Committee (DC) and then the Council (C) approved the directives on the creation of the Military Production and Supply Board (C1-D-1/3 and C2-D-1/5). The Military Production and Supply Board was first directly subordinate to the Defence Committee(2), and then from May 1950 it came under the Council Deputies(3). It was made up of a representative of rank equivalent to Under-Secretary for each signatory state. It only met as required, and the time and place of its meetings were determined by the needs of the moment. A Permanent Working Staff (PWS) based in London was thus needed for everyday business. Each member of the Military Production and Supply Board designated a deputy there, and it was supported by an international secretariat. The Military Production and Supply Board was also represented by a liaison group in Washington to ensure cooperation with the Standing Group(4) (C2 D 1/5, DC 1/3, MPSB 1, D-D/2, D-D/168 and C5-D/2). The Military Production and Supply Board was to look into production and military supplies, in close cooperation with the military bodies under the Defence Committee and other bodies in the same field, and it made recommendations to the Defence Committee. It thus considered the economic and financial repercussions of the defence effort, paying attention to the instructions of the economic and financial bodies set up by the Council, with which it had close working relations. It also encouraged moves towards coordinated arms production, standardization and technical improvement. The Board entrusted the Permanent Working Staff with preparing an integrated supply and production plan to meet military requirements, and with investigating associated problems for short-term studies, such as lists of rare strategic materials. The work was based on the nine major categories of equipment defined by the Standing Group: combat aircraft, artillery, large calibre ammunition and explosives, electronics, combat vehicles, small arms and small arms ammunition, engineering equipment, transport vehicles and shipbuilding (C2-D-1/5, DC 1/3, MPSB 1, D-D/2 and D-D/168). Through the Permanent Working Staff the Board established groups of experts on the production of finished military equipment in each category affected by deficits. There were nine of these groups or task forces(5) : the Combat Aircraft, Artillery, Ammunition and Explosives, Electronics, Combat Vehicles, Small Arms and Small Arms Ammunition, Engineering Equipment, Transport Vehicles and Shipbuilding Task Forces. These were each made up of experts, a member of the Permanent Working Staff and representatives of the military side of the Organization; they started work at the end of summer 1950 in London, with the aim of submitting reports in two months. Most of the work was completed by November. Each task force reviewed the nations’ abilities to produce an urgently-needed equipment category, and made proposals to increase production. The recommendations of the Defence Production Board (which succeeded the Military Production and Supply Board) concerned chiefly the artillery, infantry support weapons, tanks, transport vehicles, engineering equipment, escort vessels and minesweepers (DC 4/4, MPSB SECRETARIAT MEMORANDUM No. 88, PWS(WP)(50)73 (Draft))(6) .To achieve certain immediate defence production increases before the task forces concluded their work, at the request of the Council Deputies and on the basis of information (which was incomplete for lack of time) from the Military Production and Supply Board, in August 1950 the Permanent Working Staff provided estimates of manufacturing capabilities which could be used to produce additional equipment (DC 4/4).The Board was also responsible for setting up the Committee on Industrial Mobilization Planning. This was a committee of experts representing Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, tasked with reviewing industrial mobilization programmes and with submitting proposals for future coordinated action. The Committee began its work at the beginning of September 1950, in Washington (MPSB SECRETARIAT MEMORANDUM No. 88, DC 4/4).Finally, five groups of experts were created chiefly to consider the question of spare parts: the Groups of Experts on Artillery Spare Parts (GE(B)), Vehicle Spare Parts (GE(L)), Electronics (GE(D)), Small Arms Spare Parts (GE(F)) and Interchangeability of Vehicle Components (GE(K)). Following the conclusions of a working group set up by the Permanent Working Staff, six other groups were transferred from the Western Union Military Supply Board at the end of 1950, i.e. the Groups of Experts on Radio Components (GE(N)), Electronic Valves (GE(Q)), Propellants (GE(J)), Explosives (GE(C)), Steel for Guns (GE(O)) and Steel for Armor Plating (GE(P)) (DC 4/4, SECRETARIAT CIRCULAR No. 23, PWS(WP)(50)73 (Draft), SECRETARIAT CIRCULAR No. 23).The Board operated from 24 October 1949 to 11 January 1951. Following on the resolution of 19 December 1950 and the various proposals arising from it, the Council adopted a Defence Committee recommendation to replace the Military Production and Supply Board by a Defence Production Board with wider powers than its predecessor. The Military Production and Supply Board was dissolved as part of the 3 May 1951 reorganization (C6-D5 (Final), D-D(51)86 (Final)).
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Scope and content
The MPSB series comprises directives, notes, reports by members of the Military Production and Supply Board (Chairman, Secretary, representatives of Treaty signatories), members of the Permanent Working Staff and delegations. They trace the discussions and decisions of Board meetings.
They show how the Board was set up and make clear its workings and activities and its links with the military entities and the Financial and Economic Committee (FEC). They deal with the investigation of the material production capabilities of the European signatories of the Atlantic Pact, military equipment stock shortages and surpluses (in particular American spare part surpluses), supplementary military production programmes and the standardization of equipment. Finally, they record the Board’s involvement in establishing the security system within the Organization.
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System of arrangement
The documents issued by the Military Production and Supply Board are arranged in six major types (some of which were established by MPSB SECRETARIAT MEMORANDUM no. 18 dated 7 November 1949 and MPSB SECRETARIAT CIRCULAR no. 12 dated 11 October 1950), i.e.: MPSB documents, PWS memoranda, PWS circulars, and MPSB meeting agendas, minutes and verbatim records.
Military Production and Supply Board documents bear the reference MPSB, followed by a number for 1949 (MPSB 1), and followed by the year in brackets and then a number for 1950 (MPSB(50)1).
Permanent Working Staff memoranda bear the reference “MPSB Sec Memo” or “MPSB Secretariat Memorandum”, or less frequently “Secretariat Memorandum” or “MPSB Secretariat Memo”, followed by a number (MPSB SEC MEMO 2 or MPSB SECRETARIAT MEMORANDUM no. 6).
Permanent Working Staff circulars bear the reference “MPSB Secretariat Circular ” or more rarely “Secretariat Circular”, followed by a number (MPSB SECRETARIAT CIRCULAR no. 1).
Only the third (and last) Military Production and Supply Board meeting agenda bears a reference (MPSB(50)-A-3).
The minutes and records of Military Production and Supply Board meetings bear the reference “MPSB” followed by the year and the number of the meeting in the year (MPSB(50)1st Meeting). The minutes of the third meeting also have a second reference (MPSB(50)-M-3).
The verbatim records of Military Production and Supply Board meetings bear the reference “MPSB” followed by the year, the number of the meeting in the year and an indication of the language of the transcript (MPSB(50)1st Meeting Verbatim: English). The last verbatim record of 1950 also has a second reference (MPSB(50)-V-3).
The Permanent Working Staff also issued documents under the PWS reference. Some 1950 documents also have a double reference (Military Production and Supply Board and Permanent Working Staff).
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NATO publicly disclosed information is available for research and education purposes. Any commercial use requires the written permission of NATO. Please credit the NATO Archives should any documents be used for publication. Guidelines for the proper citation of NATO publicly disclosed information can be found on the NATO Archives website (http://www.nato.int/archives).
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Language and script notes
The Military Production and Supply Board chronological series were issued in English.
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(1) In both Council and military documents “Military Production and Supply Board” was rendered in French as "Comité Nord Atlantique
d’Armement (CANA)", "Comité d'armement" or "Comité militaire de production et d'armement". To avoid any confusion with the “Comité
de production d’armements“ set up in 1954, which became the ”Comité d’armements” in 1958, it was decided to adopt the translation “Comité militaire de production “ used by Lord Ismay in his work entitled “NATO – the First Five Years 1949-1954”.
(2) See the DC series.
(3) See the D series.
(4) See the SG series.
(5) In French “task force” has been used to designate the small teams of experts on the production of finished equipment, rather than its translation “groupe d’attaque” which appears very rarely in the documents.
(6) See also Lord Ismay, “NATO – the First Five Years 1949-1954”, part 3, chapter XI.
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