File No. 825.6374/39

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page) to the Secretary of State


7119. Reference dangerous shortage world’s nitrate supplies Embassy is informally informed that British Government is prepared [to make] suggestion to United States, France, Russia and Italy to join her in a concerted policy (1) for preventing present competition among Allies and among their departments of government, (2) for discovering and eliminating enemy influences known to be hampering production and deliveries, and (3) for purchasing and allocating among Allies entire production Chile nitrates for year 1918. To effect these objects British Government is prepared to propose that a commission in London of the Allied Governments be named to constitute a nitrate commission with a joint agent in Chile to purchase entire 1918 product and arrange distribution amongst Allies and such of neutral countries as may be thought advisable.

It is desirable that the Embassy know the view of the United States Government on this forthcoming proposal as without our participation the position of the other Allies will be extremely difficult since the United States is expected to take in 1918 1,500,000 tons out of total estimate of 3,500,000, other estimates being England 600,000, France 600,000, and Italy and Russia 500,000 between them, totaling 3,300,000 [sic] for 1918, whereas estimated production apart from the German plants is only 3,000,000. The proposed commission is similar in principle to wheat and fat and other commissions. France and England are known to be favorable and Italy believed to be and the Embassy recommends the favorable consideration of the United States Government with a view to agreeing to the British proposal which is about to be made.