740.00112 European War 1939/7250a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Algiers (Cole)

408. For Murphy. Yesterday the Department received a letter from the Combined Chiefs of Staff65 stating that about 2 weeks ago the Combined Chiefs of Staff received a proposal from the British Chiefs of Staff regarding certain economic measures to be taken in North Africa upon our occupation of that area. The letter continued that the Combined Chiefs of Staff had agreed that General Eisenhower should be informed that he would concern himself with economic policies only to the extent that they affect his operations and that further action in this regard would be handled by the appropriate civil departments of the United States and the United Kingdom. The letter added that the Combined Chiefs of Staff further agreed to recommend to the appropriate civil Departments of the United States and the United Kingdom that in working out the economic policies to be adopted in North Africa they maintain close collaboration with one another, and requested that the Secretary of State initiate whatever action was considered appropriate in this regard.

We shall have to deal in the immediate future with various questions of economic and financial policy in respect to North Africa and we desire to have your recommendations as soon as possible. We shall also have to arrange for the effective handling of such questions as the acquisition of commodities not needed locally or by military that may be available in the occupied areas; the movement of trade between the occupied areas and the outside world, especially the neutrals; the full use and organization of information in the conduct of economic warfare.

For these purposes we would normally wish to assign a small number of qualified persons to act in North Africa under your direction. These persons would include probably a senior Foreign Service officer with experience in financial matters, one or two persons selected by the Board of Economic Warfare with our approval, one officer designated by the Treasury, and possibly a representative of Lend-Lease. All would be given the status of regular or auxiliary Foreign Service officers and would report solely through you to the Department of State.

Before proceeding further along this line, however, we desire to obtain your views. It might be well for you to confer with the appropriate American military authorities in regard to your reply, since the group while operating under your direction would in certain [Page 439] particulars be subject to the control of the military commander, although the civilian officers would not of course concern themselves with military affairs.

Will you telegraph the Department your views as soon as possible since various branches of the Government are pressing us to go forward with questions that have already arisen.

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