The British Ambassador ( Halifax ) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Hull: His Majesty’s Government and the Government of India are, as you may already be aware, greatly concerned with the general economic position prevailing in India, and with the threat that this in certain circumstances might constitute to the war effort of India, and indeed to that of all the United Nations.

I do not trouble you with this situation in detail, but it is one of no little anxiety, and all those who are responsible for dealing with it hope that it may be possible to handle it with the least possible delay.

It seems clear that one of the principal remedies, to which we immediately have to look, is a reinforcement of the silver position in India and representatives of the British Treasury and of the Government of India are accordingly making arrangements to take this matter up with the United States Treasury forthwith.

I hope that from these conversations, and from such other discussions with the appropriate Departments of the United States Government as may prove necessary, agreement may be reached as to conditions on which the United States Government might feel able to lend early help to the Government of India at what plainly appears to be a time of exceptional difficulty. Such help indeed it would appear that the United States Government was alone in a position to render.

I thought it proper to make you acquainted with the approach that the representatives of His Majesty’s Government and the Government of India are making to the United States Treasury, and I hope that if at any stage the matter should come under the attention of your Department, you will be good enough to give any help that you can towards reaching an agreed solution.

I would ask that this matter might be regarded as very confidential, as any public information in regard to it would be likely to have very undesirable consequences in India.36

Yours very sincerely,

  1. This letter was referred on July 13 by the Secretary of State to the Adviser on International Economic Affairs (Feis) with the specific injunction that Mr. Feis was “to report back.”