800.42/10–1844: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

8910. From Johnson25 for Turner. The Rt. Hon. R. A. Butler, Minister of Education and President of the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education, informed the Embassy’s observer at the Conference today that he was greatly concerned about the fact that no provision had been made as yet to meet the extremely urgent needs of the liberated and about to be liberated countries for educational equipment and textbooks. He said that in his opinion this problem was quite as important as that of providing relief for physical needs through UNRRA and that he intended to press the British Government strongly to provide funds for an emergency program. He asked if in the opinion of the Embassy’s observer the United States would be prepared to contribute to an emergency relief fund which would operate before the creation of the proposed UNOECR.26 He was told that this was a matter which would obviously have to be raised in Washington but that to the best knowledge of this Embassy’s observer no appropriation existed at present from which funds could be drawn for such a purpose.

Mr. Butler went on to say that he hoped the United States would be able to participate in an emergency relief scheme since it did not seem likely that the proposed long term organization could be brought into existence before March at the earliest. He said he did not know how generously the British treasury would be disposed to act and that in all probability it would not be prepared to allocate a very substantial sum for emergency relief especially if the United States should not make a similar contribution. In the event that an emergency fund should be established Mr. Butler suggested that it should be administered by a committee, board, or agency upon which the United States could be usefully represented if it chose to participate. He stressed that there was no desire on the part of the British Government to embarrass the United States by making an appropriation for emergency relief if the United States was not prepared to act in similar fashion and he offered to keep the Embassy’s observer fully informed about any decision taken in the Council of Ministers of the British Government or by the British treasury. Mr. Butler said that he intended to raise the matter in the Council of Ministers on October [Page 977] 27 and that he would communicate any decision taken there to the Embassy’s observer during the following week.

The foregoing conversation took place after the fourteenth plenary session of the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education during which there was a prolonged discussion of the financial position of the Conference after December 1, 1944. During the course of this discussion Mr. Butler stressed the urgency of the relief problem and his intention to press the British Government strongly for funds to meet this need. He also urged the other national representatives to press their Governments to take similar action. No other business of primary importance was transacted at the meeting. [Johnson.]

  1. Richard A. Johnson, Third Secretary of Embassy.
  2. United Nations Organization for Educational and Cultural Reconstruction.