811.20 Defense (M) India/181: Telegram

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

154. Your no. 162, February 20, 11 a.m. Your mail despatch no. 13 of January 30th,55 enclosure 1 sets forth a more comprehensive and formal organization than had been contemplated by us.

BEW56 under arrangements made here will take over all purchases of materials for import to the United States. Other agency employees engaged in negotiating import materials contracts will be transferred to BEW. Thus all United States Government purchasing activities by civilian agencies will be coordinated into one group. Swerling will be appointed by the Board as acting head of this purchasing group.57 All employees of other civilian agencies engaged in purchasing materials are, until their transfer, to be responsible administratively to Swerling.

United States purchasing group should remain autonomous and should not in any sense be merged with British Supply Mission. Nevertheless mechanism for clearance policy determinations in regard to terms, prices and so forth should be established. We naturally favor close collaboration with British Supply Mission. Nevertheless [Page 286] we would not desire an arrangement that will interfere with the autonomy of the U. S. purchasing group. Instead of the proposed joint office of strategic materials would it not be possible to establish a joint policy committee. Such committee could clear all matters affecting both groups and would meet regularly. This committee’s personnel could be the same as that proposed for the executive committee suggested in your despatch enclosure No. 1, paragraph 1.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Board of Economic Warfare.
  3. By telegram No. 126, March 18, 1943, midnight, to the Consul General at Calcutta, Simon Swerling, representing the Board of Economic Warfare, was designated head of the United States Purchasing Group in India (811.20 Defense (M) India/178).