740.00111A Combat Areas/430: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Egypt (Kirk)

148. Your 244, April 12, 11 a.m. and subsequent telegrams. It has been decided to allot a substantial amount of shipping tonnage for service in the future between the United States and the Red Sea. The determination of what outbound cargo is to be carried in this space is to be under the control of the British Purchasing Commission in this country. It is to be expected that priority will be given to shipments needed for British military effort in the Near East but that space may also be available for shipments to Egypt of commodities not directly related to British military effort.

If the Egyptian Government wishes to try to obtain allocation of part of this space, the Department suggests that the most promising procedure would be to have its Legation in Washington discuss with the British Purchasing Commission the commodities it desires from this country and the relative priorities which it attaches to the commodities in its lists. The Egyptian Commercial Counselor has already been in touch with the Department regarding commodities which the Egyptian Government desires to obtain and has promised to furnish a list of such commodities in as much detail as possible. However no such list has yet been received. He states that the Egyptian Legation has arranged for many of these purchases to be handled on behalf of the Egyptian Government by the British Purchasing Commission.

With respect to return cargo, some space should certainly be available for transporting products from Egypt to the United States although the demands on this space have not been fully analyzed and there will be a desire for prompt turn around of the ships.

Of the commodities which you mention, the Metals Reserve Company (a Government agency) would definitely be interested in buying all available tungsten and is prepared to make an offer on manganese as soon as it knows that shipping will be available. If ordinary commercial arrangements can be made for the sale of other commodities, such as phosphate, gypsum, calcium sulphate, it is possible that some arrangement could be made for shipping space for them although with a lower priority rating than for other commodities of greater strategic importance to this country.

For Kirk only: Considering the many difficulties surrounding the whole matter of providing shipping facilities for cargo moving from [Page 306] the United States to the Red Sea it would appear that the chances of successful execution of Egyptian desires would be much increased if the Egyptian representation in this country had the steady assistance of the British Purchasing Commission.