740.00112 European War 1939/5625

The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Treasury (Morgenthau)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: As you will recall, this Government’s program of economic assistance to French North Africa was suspended last November; and in January two ships were permitted to leave this country upon the recommendation of this Department and the War Department, and their places were taken here by two other ships from French North Africa. No further shipments were recommended or permitted.

By the agreement covering this accord certain American control officers have been maintained in French North Africa to supervise the distribution of products and the measures taken by the French authorities under their guarantee that neither these products nor similar products should be exported.

For some time the Department has been informed by its officers in French North Africa and in France that it would not long be possible to continue maintaining the control officers in North Africa without some resumption of shipments. A paraphrase of the most recent telegram on this subject is enclosed.58

This Department, believing that the decision as to the continuance of the officers and shipments is primarily a matter of concern to the military authorities, has sought the advice of the War Department on [Page 312] the subject. A copy of a letter from the Secretary of War,59 advising that the continued presence of the officers and the resumption of shipments is in the interest of this Government, is enclosed. The Department has been advised by the Coordinator of Information that he regards it as of importance that the officers remain. At a meeting recently held at this Department and attended by representatives of the Treasury and of the Board of Economic Warfare, the representatives of the latter expressed themselves strongly as in favor of the resumption of the shipments upon the basis of not more than two ships per month. It was stated that the Board has certain plans for the packaging of the shipments to indicate their American origin for the purpose of its propaganda effect. The representatives of the Treasury Department wish to refer the matter to you for consideration.

This Department recommends, in accordance with the views expressed by the War Department and endorsed by the Coordinator of Information and the Board of Economic Warfare, that the necessary licenses be granted by the Treasury to permit resumption of the shipments. It is recommended that the licenses cover the shipments of commodities which have hitherto been purchased by the French authorities under Treasury license and also permit the purchase of additional goods for possible future shipment. All shipments are, of course, subject to export licenses to be issued by the Board of Economic Warfare, and the program is subject to suspension at any time should there be a change in the conditions which have led to the War Department’s recommendation.

Sincerely yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Telegram No. 806, June 4, 5 p.m., from the Chargé in France, p. 305.
  2. Dated June 1, p. 304.