The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Argentina (Armour)
974. For Ravndal from Ravndal.90 It seems apparent that existing export control procedure cannot be effectively integrated having regard to supply and shipping problems, and consideration must be given to alternates. Recent telegrams from missions reporting requirements for shipping purposes indicate a definite pattern of import requirements within broad categories leaving only 15 to 20 percent undetermined. The implementation of these expressed needs is complicated by the inability of Export Control to furnish data by commodity on approved licenses and even if this information were available it is improbable that the approved licenses would correspond with the desired pattern and our best efforts would prove futile. The difficulty with present procedure is that applications are filed at unrelated times by individual exporters and not according to a preconceived program. If each of the American republics in cooperation with missions would present a total import requirement for say one full quarter, such total being the composite of all individual applications for the quarter, Export Control could consider each application as a component part of this global requirement and thus minimize present confusion. Would you consider and discuss the following alternative plan:
- Importers would submit to a control entity minimum requirements for the next quarter. For example, by July 1 the importers would have made known their individual total import requirements for the period October 1 to December 31.
- These requirements would be checked and certified by the control entity.
- Present form certificates of necessity would be issued for allocated commodities and, so as to avoid confusion, a different form certificate for unallocated commodities. Importer would send certificate to exporter for attachment to export license application as at present. However, copies of all certificates would be sent in one batch by the Embassy through the Department to the Office of Exports of the [Page 363]BEW, thereby with a total known requirement enabling BEW and WPB to determine in advance the quantities by commodity for which production and shipping must be provided.
- The Embassy would check the importer’s requirements, and screen for desirability of consignee, end use, et cetera.
- The control entity and the Embassy would indicate the shipping priority desired on each certificate for guidance in the distribution of available cargo space.
- Projects would not be included under this plan. Allocations would continue to be used for the guidance of foreign control entity and missions and by means of these allocations BEW and WPB could retain overall control on the distribution of materials in short supply. This alternate program appears to present a more realistic approach to positive economic warfare, since it contemplates the establishment of a quarterly import requirement that would be known in advance and against which positive production and shipping programs could be worked out. Would appreciate your reaction using Argentina as an example. To what extent would additional staff be required? [Christian Ravndal.]
- Olaf Ravndal and Christian M. Ravndal, Assistant Chief and Chief, respectively, of the American Hemisphere Exports Office.↩