800.42/267: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

5863. Department’s 5333, September 1. Scope of activity of conference as outlined by Butler, President Board of Education, is to promote closer cultural collaboration between Allied nations, to assist in cultural rehabilitation of war-torn Allied nations and to lay ground work for organization of permanent international Secretariat or Bureau of Education. Butler is preparing statement outlining aims [Page 1154] in greater detail. This will be presented to plenary session on October 5 for approval.

Conference may not define its relationship to other United Nations agencies in the field of physical relief but proposals for the organization of a Conference Executive Committee contemplate that it will make enquiries of the Leith-Ross4 and the Lehman5 Committees as to the extent to which these committees would be in a position to help the occupied countries, especially by furnishing school equipment to those countries, which after the war, may find themselves totally bereft of such material. Thus far the Conference and its committees have merely attempted to estimate European requirements and have not begun books or other educational materials.

The Conference has not yet given consideration to the reconstruction of libraries and other educational buildings.

It is the opinion of the Embassy’s observers who have attended meetings of the Conference and its sub-committees that American representation in the Conference would involve a moral commitment to assist financially in providing books, laboratory and other educational equipment in Allied countries which have suffered from enemy action and to an extent at least commensurate with any contribution which the British and Dominion Governments might see fit to make. There is a general feeling that a satisfactory program of this character cannot be pushed through without assistance from the United States.

The Embassy is sending forward by airmail6 a report on the proposed reorganization of the Conference which was discussed by a Conference committee yesterday. Another committee meeting will be held on September 23 to give further consideration to the reorganization plans and a plenary session of the Conference will be convened on October 5 to consider the plan forwarded by the committee and probably to issue formal invitations to the other Allied nations to send fully accredited representatives to the Conference. At meeting yesterday it was suggested that observers merely report informally on present status of reorganization proposals until October 5 meeting.

  1. Sir Frederick Leith-Ross, Chairman of the Allied Committee on Postwar Relief.
  2. Herbert H. Lehman, Chairman of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations.
  3. Despatch No. 11042, September 6, 1943, not printed.