811.24 Raw Materials/964a

The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: I wish to refer again to our conversation yesterday afternoon regarding the purchase of strategic materials, and to your intention to request Congress to appropriate an additional $65,000,000 as already authorized for such purchases.

I understand that the Procurement Division of the Treasury feels that these all-important purchases could be made much more advantageously and expeditiously if the Division were free to negotiate purchases directly with the producers or in some instances, with the assistance of this Department, directly with foreign governments. This could be done by specifically freeing such purchases from the limitations of Section 3709 of the Revised Statutes,10 which requires [Page 258] a rather cumbersome procedure of advertising for bids. The Procurement Division also recommends certain other minor changes in existing legislation which would facilitate the purchase and storage of these materials.

Such action would seem to be eminently desirable, and I understand that the War and Navy Departments are also in agreement. If this is also your view you may wish to include a paragraph along the following lines in your national defense message to Congress:11

The Congress recognized, in enacting the bill approved June 7. 1939 (Public No. 117, 76th Congress), that the acquisition of reserve stocks of strategic and critical materials is essential to the common defense of the nation. That act authorized the appropriation of a total sum of $100,000,000 for the purchase of such materials. Of that amount only $22,500,000 has so far been appropriated. On May 10 I transmitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives a supplemental estimate of an appropriation, under the authorization of this act, of an additional sum of $12,500,000 for the fiscal year 1941, When this action is taken there will still remain unappropriated, of the total amount authorized to be appropriated for this purpose, a sun of $65,000,000. I am now submitting to the Congress a supplemental estimate for the appropriation of the full $65,000,000 for the fiscal year 1941, together with recommendations for certain minor changes in existing legislation designed to facilitate and expedite the purchase and storage of strategic materials.

If this has your approval this Department will immediately proceed to clear the matter with the Secretary of the Treasury, and also with the Bureau of the Budget so that it can proceed with the preparation of the necessary estimates and recommendations.12

Faithfully yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. 41 U. S. C. 5.
  2. Department of State Bulletin, May 18, 1940, p. 529.
  3. The supplemental appropriation for national defense, approved June 26, 1940, contained an additional amount for strategic and critical materials of $47,500,000 immediately available and provided that purchases could be mad with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury without reference to section 3709 of the Revised Statutes; 54 Stat. 599, 600.