The Minister in Egypt (Kirk) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4:08 p.m.]
717. Before taking action on Department’s 378, April 30, 8 p.m. I would appreciate immediate clarification of the following two questions:
1. Does the Department desire permanent representation on the Middle East Supply Council, see Legation’s 1769, November 15, [Page 13]10 a.m.16 and page 9 of the Legation’s report “Notes on Egyptian Import Control” dated December 22, 1941,17 a body which meets once every 6 months, the next meeting being scheduled May 10 to May 13, [or] representation in Middle East Supply Center, the executive organization in Cairo which, under the British Minister of State, handles supply questions for Egypt and the entire Middle East? I ask this question because General Maxwell’s instructions from Washington dated April 30 authorize him to sit on the Council while the Department’s telegram under reference refers to the Center. Or does the Department intend that the American representatives participate in the activities of both bodies?
The reports and discussions at the Council’s semi-annual meetings should be of broad interest from economic, military and political points of view while the activities of the Center are of a more detailed character requiring that the American representatives become an integral part of its organization so as to be in a position to advise regarding the availability of materials in the United States and to recommend improvements designed to facilitate the flow of merchandise from the United States to the Middle East.
2. Has the Department arranged with the British authorities for the formal participation of the American representatives? Without specific instruction from London it is doubtful whether the Council or the Center will be prepared to take the American representatives into complete participation.
I propose Jacobs as interim accredited representative with Jones as his alternate. General Maxwell proposes to participate in same manner with Captain Jones of his staff as alternate. Participation can begin upon receipt by the Council or the Center or both of the authorization mentioned in query 2 above.
As the permanent American representative for civilian supplies who is to be sent out from Washington will be called upon to display mature judgment, discretion and organizing ability, and to possess considerable foreign experience preferably in the area, I urge that the person appointed possess such qualifications. He should before leaving the United States make a thorough study of the course of the Center’s recommendations through such agencies as the Ministry of War Transport in New York, the British Purchasing Commission and the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation. Precise information of this nature is entirely lacking here.