840.50/3561: Telegram

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

1816. Personal for the Acting Secretary. Department’s 1565, March 1. The Prime Minister’s reply on the message concerning United Nations economic machinery will be dispatched shortly and his reply on the Combined Boards will follow a few days later.

Richard Law will advise Eden and the Prime Minister on both matters. Ronald is advising Law that the reply should suggest as a first step direct conversations between the Foreign Office and the State Department on (1) the range of economic subjects that should be included in United Nations discussions; (2) groupings of these subjects suitable for single discussions and conferences; (3) other United Nations that should be brought into the discussions of each group of subjects and perhaps procedures for bringing them in.

It will be suggested that these preliminary discussions should be brought to a head when the Under Secretary arrives here.37

In regard to the creation of a general United Nations agency for the coordination of the activities of separate international economic agencies Ronald thinks that consideration should be given to the question whether this might be included in the agenda of the informal technical conversations as a continuation of the discussions initiated in the Washington talks by the Sub-Committee on Employment Policy. However the Foreign Office seems to be open minded on the subject and an alternative method, for example direct governmental discussion of the subject at an early date, would probably meet with agreement here.

As regards the question of setting up a small commission to act as a steering group Ronald seems to think this should be taken up immediately after tentative understanding is reached on the range of economic subjects to be covered.

The appropriate British departments are submitting their views on the economic subjects that should be covered and it is likely that, [Page 22] in addition to those on which discussions have already started under Article VII, they will include at least shipping,38 inland transport,39 and telecommunications and civil aviation.40 These subjects, except possibly the last, are believed by the Foreign Office to be of the greatest importance to the immediate post-military phase in liberated areas and to the transition period after the war as well as to long term reconstruction.

There have been some fluctuations in the views of the British departments on the position of the Combined Boards machinery after the end of the war in Europe. One line of British thinking was described in Embassy’s telegram 7538, October 31 [30], 1943.41 It may find its way in some form into the Prime Minister’s reply to the President’s message and therefore will be of special interest to you at this time. Some of the departments however have been afraid that if the Combined Boards were given additional jobs not directly concerned with their present operations, as for example functions concerned with UNRRA operations,42 their efficiency in performing their present functions might be impaired and this must be avoided at all costs until Japan is defeated as well as Germany. To a considerable extent however the suggestions outlined in Embassy’s 7538, October 30, seem to meet this point.

This should be considered as a preliminary reply to your 1565 of March 1. Ronald’s advice based on consultations with the departments on economic machinery will go to Richard Law today and to Eden and the Prime Minister shortly after. There may possibly be a delay of 4 or 5 days before advice on the Combined Boards question is put in final form.

  1. For the report to the Secretary of State by the Under Secretary on his mission to London, April 7–29, 1944, see vol. iii, pp. 1 ff.
  2. For documentation regarding the Interallied Shipping Conference, held at London, July 19–August 5, 1944, see pp. 639 ff.
  3. For discussions regarding the establishment of a European Inland Transport Organization and Conference held at London, beginning October 10, 1944, see pp. 743 ff.
  4. For documentation regarding civil aviation, see pp. 355 ff.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 1114.
  6. For documentation pertaining to U.S. participation in UNRRA activities, see pp. 331 ff.