Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs ( Henderson ) to the Assistant Secretary of State ( Acheson )

Mr. Acheson: It seems to me that it would be futile for us to endeavor just now to bring pressure upon the Soviet Government to sell us flax. Obviously the Soviet officials cannot interest themselves in procuring and shipping across the Trans-Siberian Railway several thousand tons of flax for the United States at a time when all efforts are being devoted to the urgent defense of the Soviet Union.88

Representatives of the Department of Commerce have called on me recently, spurred on by the flax industry. They requested that we send a telegram to Moscow asking the Soviet Government to deliver flax at once to American buyers. I have convinced them that it would be silly to send such a telegram.

In my opinion the flax matter should be shelved until the situation in the Soviet Union clarifies.

  1. The German invasion of the Soviet Union had started on June 22, 1941.