OT: Problem with ASE-Files in the Material section

I’m new in programming with OpenGL.
I learned the basics in OpenGL from the very good tutorials of NeHe.
So now i’m writting a small OpenGL engine with this i would load ASE-files (3DMax ASCII-Scene-Exporter) in my scene and i adding a some methods to load a BMP or a TGA textur in it.

So now to my problem:
The ASE-file have a *MATERIAL_LIST were all materials are defined in the *MATERIAL_LIST there are a few MATERIALS an this MATERIALS have a few SUBMATERIALS. But the SUBMATERIALS can have some SUBMATERIALS too.
The faces of the mesh have a MATERIAL_ID and the MESH have a MATERIAL_REF. So i can reference to a MATERIAL by the MATERIAL_REF and get the right SUBMATERIAL by the MATERIAL_ID. But i don’t now how to refer to the SUBMATERIAL of a SUBMATERIAL.

I hope that anyone understand this problem and can help me please.

P.S. sorry for my bad english