861.24/1230: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Matthews ) to the Secretary of State

208. For Ambassador Winant32 from Harriman.33 Can you give me any information about the proposed agreement with the Russians for exchange of secret military inventions?34 Lyttelton’s35 staff is pressing me for an answer to whether the British are free to disclose to the Russians information which is jointly British and American. In fact so much of what we do is joint with the British that their agreement with the Russians amounts to little without our consent or participation.

Please advise as to how soon action is likely.36 If it is to be delayed, I will suggest to the British that they discuss with the American military and naval authorities obtaining consent to divulging joint information. [Harriman.]

  1. John G. Winant, Ambassador to the United Kingdom, was in Washington at the time.
  2. W. Averell Harriman, Representative in London of the Combined Production and Resources Board (Lend-Lease Coordinator).
  3. This reference is to discussions held among United States officials, and between them and the British, regarding a proposed agreement with the Soviet Union by the United States, and possibly also conjointly with the United Kingdom, for the exchange of information on military inventions and devices. Such an agreement was to be similar to that already in effect between the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, with certain modifications. For previous correspondence on this matter see despatch No. 6107, October 28, 1942, from the Chargé in the United Kingdom, and memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs, December 17, 1942, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iii, pp. 738 and 753, respectively. Also, see a later consideration of the subject in a memorandum by Mr. Elbridge Durbrow of the Division of European Affairs, December 23, 1943, post, p. 794.
  4. Capt. Oliver Lyttelton, British Minister of Production.
  5. In telegram No. 243, January 9, 1943, 6 p.m. (861.24/1230), the Department informed Mr. Harriman that a letter dated December 31, 1942, explaining the United States position, had left Washington by “courier-carried air pouch a few days ago” for London. No copy of this letter has been found in Department files.