The Department of State to the British Embassy


In the light of the acute shortage in the joint supply of certain strategic materials available to the Governments of the United States and Great Britain, and of the increasing demands of the United Nations for such materials, it is desired to bring to the attention of the British Government certain aspects of the problem of supplying restricted commodities to Argentina.

The appropriate export agencies of the United States Government have endeavored primarily to meet the material needs of the United Nations and, secondarily, to strengthen so far as possible the national economies of those nations which have associated themselves with the objectives of the United Nations by severing relations with the Axis powers. This course of action has been dictated as much by necessity [Page 333]as by choice, since the available supplies of many essential materials have been extremely limited.

In the implementation of this twofold policy, this Government has been forced to reject an increasing portion of the export license applications covering proposed shipments of scarce commodities to Argentina and to make certain reductions in the allocations of such commodities which would normally be made to that country. The effect of this policy, therefore, is to make certain strategic materials available for distribution among those nations which are assisting directly or indirectly in the war effort.

It would clearly not redound to the benefit of the United Nations or their sympathizers if the deficiencies thus suffered by Argentina were fully compensated by the shipment of offsetting amounts of certain strategic materials from British sources. The cooperation of the British Government is therefore desired in the task of assuring that in this connection the limited supplies available will be conserved for purposes of the united war effort.

In the event that the British Government concurs in principle with the considerations set forth above, this Government will welcome a discussion relative to specific commodities, the shortage of which has necessitated the proposed course of action.