740.00112 European War 1939/10370

Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: Your letter of 27 January15 has been referred to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for an expression of views on the military aspects of the situation if a food-relief program such as operated in Greece16 were adopted for use in Belgium, France, and possibly Norway.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff are aware of the humanitarian aspects of the problem. The military considerations are such, however, that the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that no change of substance be made at present in the blockade policy now operative. It is the view of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the blockade has been and is an effective military instrument. It should also be noted that the military significance of relief in Greece, almost exclusively an agricultural country, is much less than in a German-occupied country where industrial activity is extensive and closely related to the German war effort.

If, however, on a limited scale, supplies can be introduced and a system of relief accomplished whereby any supplies that are introduced [Page 255] through the blockade are of no assistance to the enemy, and provided that the transportation can be made available without any detriment to the Allied military effort, the Joint Chiefs of Staff can interpose no objection from a military standpoint to the introduction of supplies on such a basis.

Sincerely yours,

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
William D. Leahy
  1. Not printed.
  2. For documentation on the food relief program for Axis-occupied Greece, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iv, pp. 167 ff., and ibid., 1944, vol. v, pp. 179 ff.