Memorandum by the Adviser on International Economic Affairs (Feis)1

Mr. Thorold2 of the British Embassy came in this morning to discuss the question of American representation on the Middle East Supply Council. This organization is now really taking in hand the work of deciding on the important needs of that whole area, on a monthly basis; and decisions also are becoming the basis of the allocation of shipping space from the United States (this is worked out through the British Purchasing Mission in Washington and the Maritime Commission). Mr. Thorold said they understood our Embassy in Cairo was maintaining fairly good liaison with the Supply Council, and our own reports show that to be the fact. However, Mr. Thorold said he thought it would serve an important purpose if an American would have a place on the Council, actively participating in the Council’s decisions for the purpose of showing joint decision and full cooperation. Under the circumstances, the advantages—in fact, the necessity—of such an arrangement seem to me evident.

If this is agreed, I presume the first step is to discuss the question with other interested branches of the Government (particularly lend-lease and Maritime Commission) and to have the selection made by joint agreement. It might well be that someone from General Maxwell’s3 staff working in close cooperation with the Legation would be the logical appointment.

Mr. Thorold says he is definitely of the opinion that the British authorities would be glad to have such American membership on the Council. He states that when and as we might be able to indicate to the British Government our wish to have such membership and make a designation, he will undertake to have the arrangements completed.

H[erbert] F[eis]
  1. Addressed to the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray) and the Assistant Secretary of State (Acheson).
  2. G. F. Thorold, First Secretary of the British Embassy.
  3. Gen. Russell L. Maxwell, Chief of the United States Military Mission in North Africa with headquarters at Cairo.