An elasticity approach to the mechanics of load transfer in cord-reinforced composite materials is developed. Finite cords embedded in an elastic matrix and subjected to axial loading is considered, and the extension-twist coupling of the cords is taken into account. Closed form solutions for the axial force and twisting moment in the cord, the shear stresses at the cord-matrix interface in the axial and circumferential directions, the effective axial modulus of the cord, and the apparent modulus of the cord composite are presented. An example of a cord composite typical of what can be found in steel-belted-radial tires is used to illustrate the results. It was found that large shear stresses occur at the cord-matrix interface in both the axial and circumferential directions at the cord ends and that the effective modulus of the cords may be greatly reduced. As a result, the apparent modulus of the composite may be significantly less than that found by a conventional application of the rule-of-mixtures approach.