845.24/384: Telegram

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

2054. From Harriman. Refer your 1350, March 3.18 1. We have discussed this matter informally with officials of Treasury and India Office. They report that Major General Packingham-Walsh left for India on February 23 and that in any case he will have little if anything to do with reverse lend-lease arrangements. We understand he will be the Chief of the Central Purchasing Office and British representative on Indian Munitions Assignments Board which is in process of organization.

2. There appears to be no detailed information in London regarding policies and arrangements followed by Indian Government in providing reciprocal aid.

3. Neither the Treasury nor India Office maintain control of Indian Government policy on reciprocal aid, although they are perhaps in a position to influence the policy and procedure. They both reported they had not recommended or influenced Indian Government in any way to adopt a different policy or procedure with regard to granting reciprocal aid from that adopted in United Kingdom.

4. India Office has now agreed to take an interest in this matter and has cabled Indian Government stating that representations have been made in London that arrangements have not been working satisfactorily and reporting to them complaints and suggestions put forward here. They have also advised Indian Government that Frederick Ecker and Winthrop Brown are arriving shortly and will be in a position to take up entire question with them on the spot. A paraphrase of this cable is being forwarded to you by pouch.

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5. We have also requested Sir Findlater Stewart, Chairman of Anglo-American Coordinating Committee which is an interdepartmental committee under the Production Minister handling all arrangements for United States troops in United Kingdom including particularly reciprocal aid arrangements, to prepare a statement of policies and arrangements in effect in United Kingdom. He has agreed to do this and a copy will be transmitted by India Office to Indian Government.

6. We are forwarding by pouch to Ecker a complete report of steps which have been taken in London on this matter.

7. In regard to your paragraph 6, Treasury informed us that negotiations were now proceeding between Indian and British Governments as to whether British should pay for any reciprocal aid provided in India over and above the value of lend-lease which may be provided to India. The Treasury are apparently resisting this proposal.

8. Suggest you give copy of this to Stettinius.19 [Harriman.]

  1. See footnote 8, p. 255.
  2. Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Lend-Lease Administrator.