Memorandum by the Ambassador to the United Kingdom (Winant), Temporarily in Washington, to President Roosevelt 18

The purpose of Mr. Eden’s trip was set forth in a communiqué which you approved and in which Mr. Eden’s journey here was limited to informal discussion of “the most effective method of preparing for meetings between the governments of all the United Nations to consider questions arising out of the war.” Therefore, no formal agenda has been prepared by the State Department. The European Division in the State Department, however, has listed a number of subjects which it felt might usefully be explored. This will be given to you by Mr. Welles.

This memorandum is confined to problems in the economic and social field. There are three subjects which are already under discussion.18a

Relief and Rehabilitation which has been before the governments of the United Nations for a considerable period of time and on which the four Great Powers have reached a common understanding in relation to the language and formula of organization.
The question of International Monetary Stabilization in which there has been an exchange of papers at a technical level, i.e., the White Plan and the Keynes Plan.
The conference on post-world war food problems which you discussed at your press conference on February 24.

These three subjects for conference, together with the other enumerated essential fields for discussion and understanding, call for decision on timing and careful planning to avoid overlapping in content which in turn affects timing.

With the exception of Relief and Rehabilitation, all the subjects herein enumerated could stem from Article VII of the Lend Lease Agreement.19 The early discussions on these subjects with the British should be informal and exploratory. The objective would be to work out tentatively the principle of international economic and financial arrangements suitable for world-wide application, on the lines laid down in Article VII. They should not be confined to special Anglo-American problems.

The discussions should start from the common ground that the countries concerned have already committed themselves to work out an agreement on, and to seek international acceptance of, economic [Page 8] policies designed to maintain continuously a high level of production, employment and the exchange and consumption of goods, and to eliminate all forms of trade discriminations and reduce tariffs and other trade barriers. It is recognized that adjustments in international balances of payments will have to be made in order to reach these objectives. The subjects covered are interdependent and form parts of a related whole.

Methods and machinery of international collaboration to deal both with transitional and long run international monetary problems. These would include the problems involved in the correction of transitional difficulties in regard to the balance of payments, and the maintenance of appropriate exchange rates and the removal of currency restrictions on trading operations and the control of undesirable flights of capital. This subject has already been begun under Item “B”—The question of Monetary Stabilization.
Methods and machinery of international collaboration with respect to the supply and distribution of certain primary products, with special reference to the problems of preventing excessive fluctuations in raw material prices, and correcting maladjustments due to the retention of unduly high cost capacity in certain areas, and to monopolistic tendencies and international cartels. The first subject to be discussed under 2 would be Item “C”—The Conference on Post-world War Food Problems. Nutrition should be related to the permanent food problem. This program is a self-help program. It should result in helping countries to help themselves.
Methods and machinery of international collaboration to reduce tariffs, to eliminate trade preferences and discriminations, dumping and export subsidies. The first step in approaching this subject would be Congressional approval of continuing the Reciprocal Trade Treaties.
Methods and machinery of international collaboration to promote and direct the flow of international investment into channels which will ensure its maximum usefulness in world reconstruction and in the development of enterprises designed to raise standards of living of the masses of people, especially those in regions of low per capita income. It is the opinion of the Treasury that this subject of credits should be treated separately from the question of monetary stabilization and delayed until agreement could be reached on monetary stabilization. The British have not prepared a paper on this subject to-date as they felt that the major portion of credits would necessarily come from us. They recognize that the whole question of credits, however, is an essential part of reconstruction. The later phases of “Relief and Rehabilitation under Rehabilitation” might precipitate the long-term credit discussion before we were prepared to meet it.
Methods and machinery of international cooperation to coordinate where possible internal measures for economic expansion and the maintenance of a continuously high level of employment in each country. These might make provision for international technical discussions of domestic measures designed to secure the essentials of life to all, especially in relation to nutrition, housing and health. The International Labor Office should be useful in this area of collaboration.
Air Transport
Railroads, trucks and canals, particularly as this latter problem relates to the European situation, i.e., a united railway system.
Methods to prevent the poisoning of international news which the Germans, Italians and Japanese used so successfully against the non-aggressor nations.
  1. Copy obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.
  2. For documentation relating to these three subjects, see vol. i, pp. 851 ff, 1099 ff., and 820 ff., respectively.
  3. Signed at Washington, February 23, 1942. For correspondence pertaining to negotiations of the Agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, pp. 525 ff.; for text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 241, or 56 Stat, (pt. 2) 1433.