103.9168/1528n: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman)

1451. From Knollenberg22 by McPherson23 for Spalding.

According our advice serious rail and port congestion at northern Russian ports is threatened. Only 350 tons per ship daily against minimum requirement of 500 tons daily was average discharge of JW–54 A. Only with considerable help from ships’ crews was this accomplished. Labor shortage seems to be main difficulty.
Larger cargoes being carried by succeeding convoys, with greater proportion of heavy lifts, and discharge and turnaround of these ships will therefore be a much greater problem.
Prompt clearing up of present congestion is causing us great concern and we hope that concrete steps will be taken to improve the organization of the work and to increase the labor supply. A discussion of this matter at earliest opportunity with Mikoyan is urged.
Discussion now under way regarding possible need for setting back arrival dates of JW–56 and JW–57 due to possible discharge difficulties—this for your private information. It might not be possible for operational reasons to dispatch JW–57 to Russia if any such change in scheduling appears necessary.
On assumption that original convoy schedule will be maintained we are continuing to operate but in order to convince operational authorities definite word regarding concrete measures to improve situation will be necessary.
We suggest that you may want to visit northern ports and discuss situation with Frankel. Extremely valuable would be a report from you. [Knollenberg.]
  1. Bernhard Knollenberg, Executive Adviser to the Administrator, Office of Lend-Lease Administration (consolidated into the Foreign Economic Administration after September 1943).
  2. Presumably W. S. McPherson, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Shipping Services, War Shipping Administration.