811.20 Defense (M)/479/22a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul at Bordeaux (Waterman)

380. On June 25, the American Government through the Reconstruction Finance Corporation signed contracts for the purchase of all of the wolframite (tungsten ore) and antimony, owned by the Chinese Government, in storage in Indo China. Through American Consul, [Page 650] Hanoi, Governor General of Indo China was requested to release these ores for shipment to the United States on consignment to a Government Agency to be specified. Governor General informed the Consul verbally on June 27 that all of these ores not already released would be released and the necessary written confirmation would be signed later in the day. Department is now informed by the Consul, however, that on the evening of June 27, and just before the necessary papers were signed, the Governor General received instructions from Bordeaux that no steps were to be taken in regard to wolframite prior to the receipt of further instructions.

These ores have been purchased by this Government to be held indefinitely as national reserves, and this Government would, of course, make any necessary commitment against their reexportation. We feel sure that the French Government will take immediate steps to authorize the release of these ores when they realize they have been purchased by the American Government. Please take this matter up at once with the appropriate authorities, seeking assurance that the necessary instructions to the Governor General will be sent immediately.

This matter is deemed urgent and important by National Defense Commission.