845.24/374a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to Mr. William Phillips, Personal Representative of President Roosevelt in India 11

137. Your 179, February 24 and 189, February 26. The point of view which you discussed in your 189 had already been expressed to the Department by Mr. Mahindra, Chief of the Indian Supply Mission here. His position was that the determination of Indian import requirements was a function of the Government of India which it could not surrender. It was pointed out to Mr. Mahindra that the suggestion of an Anglo-American-Indian Supply Council was not intended to interfere in the slightest with the proper responsibilities of the Government of India as to its own import needs, but rather was designed to facilitate the satisfaction of the import needs of India so far as possible by assuring the American requirements committees in Washington that a disinterested check had been made on the statement of requirements as prepared by the Government of India. Unless the absolute need of requirements can be fully justified in the light of the United Nations war effort, they have little chance of getting the necessary approval of the requirements committees. We believe that this point was fully understood by Mr. Mahindra who, while remaining firm that no formal supply council should be set up, stated that his Government would recommend informal collaboration between the Indian, British and American Governments for the purpose of examining the statement of import needs as prepared by the Government of India. He appeared to recognize that such a system was in the interest of obtaining the most favorable consideration of Indian requirements in the light of the belief here that exports for civilian and possibly military use may in any event be substantially curtailed in coming months and that only really essential needs can be met.

It will thus appear that the objective of this informal collaboration is not to consider the Anglo-American supply and transport capacity as affecting the import needs of India (as suggested in your 189) but rather to enable us to have an expert Anglo-American opinion on [Page 258] the requirements of India for the purpose of facilitating the satisfaction of those requirements so far as possible. For your information, this is the method which is already being used generally in the consideration of requirements throughout the world. It would seem that if presented in this light there should be no objection on the part of the Government of India to the informal collaboration referred to above.

The British have not as yet replied to the Department’s proposal on this subject.

  1. Notation on the original by the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State (Finletter): “Approved by India meeting where representatives of BEW, Lend-Lease, NE, DM [Division of Defense Materials], Army and ER [Division of Exports and Requirements] were present.”