The Secretary of State to Diplomatic Representatives in the American Republics

Sirs: The Department in the course of its conversations with the Board of Economic Warfare regarding decentralization of export control offered the Board the privilege of designating officers of the Board who would accompany officers of the Department in periodic inspections of the decentralized export control units of our diplomatic missions and consular offices in the other American republics. The thought was that the Board could thus assure itself that the work which the Foreign Service is doing on behalf of the Board is being properly done.

The Board has accepted this offer and has agreed that the State-BEW missions which are now in the field for the purpose of instituting decentralized export control may conveniently serve to initiate this joint inspection.

It is intended that the inspectors of export control work will serve as a means of communicating pertinent developments of interest to the missions more effectively than has heretofore been possible. The policies and procedures of the agencies concerned with export control and supply are constantly changing. In the past year, for example, the War Production Board has followed first a system of priorities, then allocations, then priorities again, then the Production Requirements Plan, then the Controlled Materials Plan, and may soon apparently be operating under a combination of priorities, PRP and CMP.7 Even if the general procedures of the war agencies should [Page 111] eventually be stabilized, developments in the war and in the supply situation will of necessity be reflected in export programs.

The inspectors of export control work will also serve as a liaison between thinking in Washington and thinking in the field. The desirability of this liaison has been established by the benefits which the Department’s officers engaged in export control have derived, and are deriving, from discussions with Foreign Service officers attending the Foreign Service Officers School of Economics.

The State-BEW officers selected for the inspection of the decentralized export control units have been instructed to report on the adequacy, suitability and teamwork of the personnel assigned to those units, to explain what is required and to suggest how the demands on the Foreign Service in this regard may be met efficiently.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
G. Howland Shaw
  1. Production Requirements Plan and Controlled Materials Plan.