The Acting Secretary of State to Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt

My Dear Mrs. Roosevelt: I am pleased to give you a report, as you requested in your note of November 14, 1944,27 on the present status of the planning for the United Nations Organization for Educational and Cultural Reconstruction, the preliminary plans for which were developed by the American Education Delegation in London in cooperation with the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education.

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The tentative draft constitution which was developed in London last April was sent to the governments of the United Nations for their reaction. Thirteen governments have given reactions to this tentative draft constitution, all of which were favorable. The Department of State considered this draft constitution on the return of the Delegation to Washington and made certain revisions. This revised draft was sent to our Ambassadors for informal discussions with the governments of the Soviet Union, Great Britain and China concerning their position on the establishment of the United Nations Organization for Educational and Cultural Reconstruction.

It also seemed desirable to discuss the matter with Congressional leaders before reporting back this Government’s suggestions for revision of the draft constitution to the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education. In addition to the preoccupation of Congressional leaders with other pressing matters during recent months several other factors have led to these discussions being postponed. In the first place, important developments in the international field such as the Dumbarton Oaks proposals28 and the progressive liberation of the occupied countries have tended to change the situation which existed last April and to make desirable a reconsideration of the original plans in the light of these developments. Secondly, it has seemed to us especially important to secure action first on legislation authorizing the extension of basic cultural cooperation activities to other parts of the world, in addition to the other American republics. Such “enabling” legislation, H.R. 5350,29 has been introduced by Congressman Bloom and is now in the Committee on Foreign Affairs. If this legislation can be acted upon in the near future it will permit us to get ahead with at least the first essential stages of a program of international cooperation in these fields which, as you say, have truly great potentialities for good.

In the meantime this Government has continued its active collaboration with the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education through Dr. Kefauver, a member of the original Delegation, who remained in London to carry on our relations with the Conference. Dr. Kefauver has recently returned for consultation with the Department on these matters.

I hope that we may count on your active and continued interest in carrying these important programs ahead. If you would like further information on any aspect please let me know, and if you should desire, I would be glad to arrange for someone from the Department to confer with you personally on it at any time.

Sincerely yours,

Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.
  1. Not printed.
  2. For correspondence on the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations, held at Washington, August 21–Oetober 7, 1944, see pp. 713 ff.
  3. Bill introduced September 13, 1944, Congressional Record, vol. 90, pt. 6, p. 7749.