Military Production and Supply Board

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Military Production and Supply Board

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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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