811.20 (D) Regulations/1729a

The Secretary of State to Chiefs of Mission in the American Republics

Control of Exports

Sirs: Reference is made to the Department’s circular instruction of December 12, 1940 regarding the export of articles and materials under Section 6 of the National Defense Act of July 2, 1940. You are instructed to obtain at an early opportunity an audience with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and to communicate to him the substance of the following message:

The first three paragraphs of the Department’s circular instruction of December 12, 1940 outlined the principles on which this Government has been licensing the export to the other American republics of commodities important in our national defense program. With the rapid development of the defense program, and the great increase in the demand for numerous raw materials, a situation of scarcity has developed with respect to many items. A tight situation now exists with respect to aluminum, zinc, nickel, copper, manganese, tin and tungsten, among other materials, while the supply of iron and steel is falling behind demand. On a number of items, including machine tools, aluminum and nickel, specific priorities for domestic consumption within the United States have been imposed.

Faced with this situation the Government of the United States is seeking and must obtain the fullest cooperation of all of the other American republics if it is to be able to maintain its policy of the most liberal possible licensing of exports to the other American republics. It is this Government’s opinion that such cooperation could most advantageously take the form of the imposition by each of the other American republics of a system of export control over:

Materials imported from the United States by the other American republics and subject to export control by the United States.
The United States will continue to permit exports to the other American republics in all cases unless United States stocks of the commodity in question are dangerously small or are essential [Page 152] to our own defense program. In the cases of products the supply of which is not affected by these considerations an attempt will be made to issue licenses freely for use within the American republics or at least in amounts up to the recent import requirements of the nations in question. On such products export control by the nations in question would be satisfactory if it restricted exports except to other American countries which impose similar export control. Where such a system of export control is imposed by the nations in question, it may be possible to grant general licenses for export of certain categories of products similar to that recently extended in the case of Cuba. (A copy of press release no. 130 relating to the general license for exports to Cuba is attached.)4
In the case of articles the United States supply of which is less than the demands made by our national defense program, our own consumption, and the requirements of the other American republics, it will be necessary to impose some relative scale of priorities which would of course change from time to time. In these cases an effort will be made, if it is at all possible, to fulfill the most urgent requirements of the other American republics, deferring fulfillment of less urgent requirements until the supply situation improves. In these cases it will be necessary that this Government be assured that materials so exported reach their specific destinations, and that no re-export, even to other American countries, be permitted.
Strategic materials and materials important in our national defense program and for the general defense of all the American republics which are produced in the other American republics.
There exist in the United States strong commercial markets for most, if not all, strategic and critical materials produced in the other American republics. Moreover, you may make it clear, without making any positive commitment, that in the event such measures of control and regulation are undertaken, this Government stands ready to give consideration to purchasing supplies of such commodities as a regular part of its program for building up its own defense reserves. On such materials it would be satisfactory if exports were regulated in such a way as to give the United States prior opportunity to acquire them.

You have been furnished from time to time lists of the articles and materials the export of which from the United States has been restricted in the interests of the national defense under the authority of the Act of July 2, 1940. There follows a list of specific materials in which this Government is particularly interested:

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Alcohol (Ethyl) Beryllium
Aluminum Cadmium
Antimony Castor Oil or Beans
Arsenic Chromium
Asbestos Cobalt
Coconut Shell Char Nitrogen Compounds (Ammonia and Nitric Acid)
Copra Palm Oil
Cotton Linters Phosphates
Cryolite Platinum
Flaxseed Potash
Fluorspar Quartz Crystals
Graphite Quinine
Industrial Diamonds Rubber
Hides Sisal
Iron and Steel Sulfuric Acid (including sulfur and Pyrites)
Lead Tanning Materials
Magnesium Tin
Manganese Titanium
Mercury Tungsten
Mica Uranium
Molybdenum Vanadium
Nickel Zinc

Please inform the Department whether the Government to which you are accredited would, in the light of all the considerations expressed above, be willing to consider the creation of such a system of export control or the adaptation of systems which may now be in force to the standards outlined briefly above.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles
  1. Not printed.