561.311F1 Advisory Committee/1053: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant )

4528. For the Former Naval Person from the President. The view expressed in your note transmitted by Ambassador Winant in telegram No. 4796, October 8, has been carefully considered. I fully agree that the Wheat Agreement should avoid any impression of forcing wheat importing countries of Europe, as a condition of immediate post-war relief, into commitments which they had no part in formulating and see no objection to your instructing your delegation to emphasize this consideration in the discussions. I should like, however, to offer the following general comments with respect to our attitude on the subject of the wheat discussions.

We have not looked upon these discussions as a conference in any formal sense but rather as a meeting of competent experts in a position to reflect the views of their respective governments on one important problem in the general field of Anglo-American collaboration. We hope that it will be possible to find a large area of agreement on the part of the four overseas exporting countries and the United Kingdom [Page 541] as to the means of tackling the world wheat problem on an international basis. It is our feeling that marked progress was made in this direction in the discussions during last July and August.

So far as the forthcoming discussions are concerned, I may say that we hold no brief for the precise form or wording of the draft prepared during the meeting of last July. There are undoubtedly a number of points that will need to be revised in the light of the study that has been given to the question by the various governments since the discussions were adjourned last August. We attach special importance at this juncture to what seems to us to be two vital aspects of any effective international wheat agreement, namely, first, the equitable sharing of such post-war market as may be available to the four overseas exporting countries, including the questions of distribution of wheat for relief after the war, the establishment of the principle of an international ever normal granary on a practical working basis, and, second, the cooperation of the United Kingdom as the world’s greatest wheat importing country in constructing an international wheat agreement which will work to the mutual benefit of both importing and exporting countries.

I am entirely in agreement with you as to the importance of considering the interest of Russia in this matter but it seems to me it should be entirely feasible to arrive at a framework which will leave the way open for Russian adherence. [Roosevelt.]