The Ambassador in Guatemala (Long) to the Secretary of State

No. 463

Sir: I have the honor to enclose, as of possible interest to the Department, a memorandum36 prepared in the Economic Section of the Embassy in review of the operations in Guatemala of Decentralization of Export Control Plan “A”.

From its adoption as of April 1, 1943, to September 18, 1943, a period covering 24 weeks, the results to date indicate that in the main Decentralization Plan “A” has been a satisfactory measure to provide the essential needs of Guatemala for imported goods from the United States under conditions of short supply and restricted shipping facilities in the country of export.

The public reaction to the operation of Decentralization of Export Control Plan “A” has in general been favorable. Whatever objections that developed upon the inauguration of the system and whatever complaints that have been heard during its progressive stages have been of commercial origin and characteristic of the kinds of objections and complaints that would be apt to be levelled at any type of control system that had been arbitrarily imposed as a result [Page 225] of abnormal conditions, and cannot be considered peculiar to the Decentralization program in itself.

Although details regarding the constantly changing supply situation have frequently of necessity been scanty in the field and heavy reliance has had to be placed by the field reviewing officers on the fixed supply estimates, it may be observed here that the setting up by the War Production Board of Second Quarter Estimates of Supply for CMP materials has been most helpful in providing supply information for the use of the Mission. The processing of Import Recommendations by the Embassy in Guatemala has had the desired effect of reducing to a minimum the issuance of Import Recommendations for non-essential goods, and the Country Agency which has worked in the closest possible cooperation with the Embassy in implementing the plan has scrutinized applications for Import Recommendations with far greater care than had been done under the Certificate of Necessity system. The thoroughness of the control made possible by the local administration of the Plan has produced a document which, everything considered, is believed to represent a valid claim upon the attention of the Export Licensing authorities in the United States as a call for? an article which is strictly in accordance with the qualification that it satisfy the minimum essential requirements to the United Nations war effort, or that it maintain the essential services of the Government of Guatemala, or that it maintain the civilian enterprises essential to the economy of Guatemala. This contention is justified by the treatment that has since the beginning been accorded the Guatemalan Import Recommendations by the Office of Economic Warfare,37 rejections by the Office of Exports of applications for export licenses since the adoption of Decentralization Plan “A” having been only .37 percent of the total number of Import Recommendations issued.

The Guatemalan importer has come to have a reasonable expectation of having his order filled in the United States and of having the shipment licensed for export as a result of the high validity average which the Guatemalan Import Recommendation has attained. An important educational factor for the Guatemalan importer has evolved from the centralization in the Embassy of local sources of information pertinent to our economic warfare controls, particularly in connection with the operational aspects of Decentralization of Export Control. Importers now habitually call upon the Economic Section of the Embassy to discuss the varied problems which the imposition of our wartime economic controls have sponsored.

Respectfully yours,

For the Ambassador:
Archibald R. Randolph

Acting Commercial Attaché
  1. Not printed.
  2. Successor agency of the Board of Economic Warfare.