Hopkins Papers

The Administrator of Lend-Lease (Stettinius) to the President’s Special Assistant (Hopkins)


Subject: Diversion of Equipment Produced in the United States and Other Strategy Questions.

About $13,000,000,000 has already been appropriated for Lend-Lease purposes. Another $1,500,000,000 will probably be appropriated within the next few days. If we take into account the munitions, ships, etc. which can be transferred under the billion-3,1 the Maritime Commission Act, and the one-half billion of transfers that can be made under the pending bill, it will be a grand total of $17,900,000,000 available for Lend-Lease transfers.
Who is going to decide who can use what equipment best? This applies not only to guns and tanks and planes, but also to machine [Page 6] tools, iron and steel and other raw materials. It also applies to non-Lend-Lease material which has been ordered in this country by foreign governments with their own funds. The central thing is that we should get the stuff of our production—Lend-Lease as well as non-Lend-Lease material—into the hands of the people who can use them most effectively.
It may be that the United Kingdom has reached pretty well the saturation point on machine tools, in the light of the available personnel which they have. Eaw materials are in large part complementary to machine tools. In the light of the present critical situation, it might be wise, for example, to send principally finished articles, rather than machine tools to countries such as the United Kingdom. The same might be true of things like toluol and TNT to a certain extent.
These questions of high military, naval and political strategy are now arising with greatest speed. There is still a strong pull to decide them in a makeshift way at too low a level.
There is a pressing need, and the public will doubtless want—a tough, hard-hitting strategy outfit to devote full time to this job. Such a strategy group should probably be small and have a high calibre staff of military, naval and civilian experts. I should think that such a strategy group should have the power to:
Formulate the major policy on strategy, with the President’s approval where necessary or desirable.
Advise the President on strategic questions.
Pass on strategic questions arising in other departments or agencies.
Do all of those other things necessary or desirable in an adequate handling of the problems of military and naval strategy.
E. R. Stettinius, Jr.
  1. The “billion-3” presumably refers to the drawing account of $1,300,000,000 which the Division of Defense Aid Reports had at its disposal from appropriations prior to the passage of the Lend-Lease Act on March 11, 1941. See Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Lend-Lease, Weapon for Victory (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1944), p. 96.