600.119/1719a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin )

2855. For Sheldon [from War Trade Board]: No. 1634. The changed situation arising out of the signing of the armistice will make it possible for us to alter many of our regulations governing the exportation of certain commodities which the continuance of the war made it advisable to conserve much more strictly than is now necessary. For the war needs of ourselves and our Allies, we have accumulated a surplus of many commodities which we are now able to spare for export, as they are no longer needed for war purposes.

As the relaxation of our export restrictions might give rise to erroneous reports and a belief on the part of our Allies that we are altering our policy primarily for the purpose of gaining a trade advantage, we wish to inform them of the fact that many of our export regulations will be changed from time to time as changing circumstances make apparent the existence of a larger exportable surplus of domestic commodities hitherto conserved for our own war needs and those of our Allies. It should be clearly understood that this does not in any sense involve a variation of policy. Our policy has always been, and will continue to be, to permit the export of those commodities which we could spare.

We are fully aware that the tonnage situation is not altered by the signing of the armistice, and the tonnage available both for export [Page 736]and import trade will continue to be limited by the maintenance in principle of the restrictive policy. In the interest of maintaining the complete understanding between our Governments and of removing all suspicions regarding possible alterations of policy, we shall cable to you any relaxation of export and import regulations which the limitations of conservation or shipping may properly permit. We have discussed this subject with Sir Richard Crawford9 who is cabling that his Government keep you promptly informed as to their relaxation of exports and imports regulations or allocations. We desire a frank interchange of information with the British representatives. You may use this with them as you see fit. Please inform Stevens, Rublee, Tower. Also repeat this cablegram to McFadden and advise him that he is likewise authorized to use it as he may see fit.

  1. British commercial commissioner at Washington.