American Battle Monuments Commission

Room 707, Albee Building, 1426 G Street NW.
DIstrict 2200, Branch 515

Chairman Gen. John J. Pershing
Vice Chairman Robert G. Woodside
Commissioner David A. Reed
Commissioner D. John Markey
Commissioner Finis J. Garrett
Commissioner Mrs. Cora W. Baker
Commissioner Leslie L. Biffle
Secretary (Vacancy)

Creation and Authority.--The American Battle Monuments Commission was created by act of Congress approved March 4, 1923 (42 Stat. 1509; 36 U.S.C. 121). It derives its authority from this and subsequent acts and Executive orders (36 U.S.C. ch. 8; Executive Orders 6614 of February 26, 1934, and 6690 of April 25, 1934).

Purpose.--In broad outline, the principal purposes of the Commission are (1) to commemorate the services of the American forces in Europe during World War I by the erection of suitable memorials, the preparation and publication of historical information, and in other ways; (2) to administer and maintain the American national cemeteries and memorials in Europe; and (3) to exercise control over the erection of memorials in Europe by American citizens, States, municipalities, or associations.

Construction of American Memorials in Europe.--The construction program of the Commission, now completed, included:

  1. The erection of a memorial chapel in each of the eight American cemeteries in Europe and the construction of service buildings, caretakers' houses, and masonry walls at the cemeteries where needed. The names of these cemeteries and their locations are as follows:

    Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Near Romagne, France
    St. Mihiel American Cemetery Near Thiaucourt, France
    Oise-Aisne American Cemetery Near Fere-en-Tardenois, France
    Aisne-Marne American Cemetery Near Belleau, France
    Somme American Cemetery Near Bony, France
    Flanders Field American Cemetery Near Waereghem, Belgium
    Suresnes American Cemetery At Suresnes, near Paris, France
    Brookwood American Cemetery At Brookwood, England


  1. The improvement of the landscaping in each of the cemeteries.

  2. The erection of 11 memorials at places outside the cemeteries:

    Audenarde, Belgium
    Brest, France
    Cantigny, France
    Gibraltar, Gibraltar
    Montfaucon, France
    Montsec, France
    Near Bellicourt, France
    Near Chateau-Thierry, France
    Near Ypres, Belgium
    On Blanc Mont Ridge,
       in the Champagne Region, France
    Tours, France

  3. The placing of two bronze memorial tablets, one at Chaumont, France, and the other at Souilly, France, to mark, respectively, the headquarters of the American Expeditionary Force and the American First Army during the World War.

Administration and Maintenance of American National Cemeteries and Memorials in Europe.--The Commission is responsible for the administration, supervision, and maintenance of the 8 national cemeteries in Europe, containing the graves of 30,907 American dead, and of the chapels and other memorial features listed above.

Preparation and Publication of Historical Information.--The Commission has prepared and published a book entitled American Armies and Battlefields in Europe. This book, which was issued in April 1939, is a revision and elaboration of A Guide to the American Battle Fields in Europe, published by the Commission in 1927. It is the result of many years of work and is a combined guide to the American battlefields (World War) in Europe and concise history and reference work covering the activities of the American forces overseas during the period 1917-1919. The book has 547 pages and is profusely illustrated, containing 561 official photographs from American, German, and Allied sources, 120 small maps and sketches, of which 27 are in color, 9 colored insert maps and charts, and 3 large-scale colored maps covering the operations of American divisions in the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne offensives. It is sold by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C., and by bookstores. Other historical data covering operations of American divisions during the World War were published in 1944 and are also sold by the Superintendent of Documents.

The Commission has taken numerous photographs showing the terrain of the various battlefields where American forces were engaged during the World War. These photographs will be of wide interest and of great value to historians. Control Over the Erection of Additional Memorials in Europe by Americans.--Under agreements with the French and Belgian Governments, no World War memorial may be erected in these countries by American without the advance approval of the American Battle Monuments Commission. Many reasons made it apparent that the number of such memorials should be restricted. The policy finally adopted, however, does not prevent the Commission from approving such memorials if they are utilitarian in nature and meet certain other required standards.


John J. Pershing


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