The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Matthews) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 6—2 a.m.]
1618. To Stettinius from Harriman. Oshins71 and Ladejinsky72 have been talking with me regarding undoubted extreme grain shortage in Russia and particularly difficulties on redeveloping production in recently reoccupied territory. They emphasize undoubted acute shortage of tractors.
We have discussed here informally with British whether they would ship immediately in early convoys some of their own production of Fordson tractors. Indications are that they might agree to make the sacrifice if Russians urge it, particularly if we would help by some replacement to them from the United States later on in the year.
Have the Russians in Washington discussed with you this need for tractors and if so have they given it high priority? Please answer urgently as time is of the essence if anything is to be done this season.
The discussions here are so tentative I must caution you not to mention them to the Russians. [Harriman.]