File No. 825.6374/41

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


5730. Paraphrase of your 7163, September 13, 7 p.m., transmitted Secretaries of War, Navy, Agriculture and Commerce, Exports Administrative Board and Council of National Defence. After full discussion British war mission here was informed on October 30 that while this Government is disposed to agree to the proposed establishment of a purchasing agency composed of representatives of each Government, the sine qua non of such agreement must be an arrangement whereby Department of Agriculture will receive 100,000 tons of nitrate before June 1 to be allocated to it in addition to the amounts that will be set down as the requirements of various nations. The mission replied on the same date that in view of the shortage of nitrate over and above the requirements for [Page 671] war purposes such a requirement of 100,000 tons mentioned is a serious matter and makes more urgent an increase of production; that while it is now anticipated that the British Government will feel obliged to ask for a reconsideration of this condition, it is hoped the United States will recognize the increased need of taking measures to provide tanker tonnage required for the oil which, in addition to the coal to be supplied by the British Government, is essential not only to increase but even to maintain existing production; that it is assumed the purchase of 100,000 tons will be made through the new agency and not independently.

Matter is being further considered here and settlement expected in a few days. You will be informed at once.

Mr. Skinner, Consul General at London, will act as American representative on the new purchasing agency pending appointment of permanent representative. Please inform Skinner and acquaint him with facts in your possession.