811.20 Defense (M) India/181: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Officer in Charge at New Delhi (Merrell)

346. Department’s No. 154 of March 15, 1 p.m. We have received from the British a proposal for the establishment of a joint Anglo-American “liaison Committee” to consider general policies for the purchase of strategic materials in India. Proposal is similar to the plan outlined in your No. 289 of April 16, 3 p.m. Office of Economic Warfare is in accord with this proposal as a mechanism for informally coordinating activities.

It is agreed here that such Committee should not have executive powers or engage in joint operations; or should the autonomy of our procurement mission be limited. However, we wish to make clear that there is no intention to curtail the Committee’s usefulness by proscribing discussion of operating details such as questions relating to rail movements, price levels of commodities, etc. In fact, agreed recommendations on such items should prove extremely useful both here and in London. It is felt, moreover, that, through the pooling of information and informal discussions, it may be feasible to resolve possible conflicting needs of the two governments in various matters such as port priorities and inland transport. In such matters as [Page 289]these members of the Liaison Committee will naturally in the first instance consult with the principal representatives in India of WSA60 and MWT.61

On the foregoing basis the Consul General at Calcutta and Swerling are authorized to work out arrangements for such liaison committee with the local British representatives. Office of Economic Warfare designates Swerling as its representative on the Committee and, as indicated in your No. 239 [289], it is understood that Moseley will be the British representative.

Please instruct Calcutta to report steps taken to form Committee and keep the Department and the OEW informed of its activities.

  1. War Shipping Administration.
  2. Presumably Ministry of War Transport (British).