The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant )
2964. This is for the Ambassador and refers to your 2170 of March 17. Please urge a favorable reply to the President’s two messages to the Prime Minister of February 23 regarding the establishment of international economic machinery and the related question of the future of the Combined Boards.[Page 35]
The establishment of the commission proposed at Moscow to act as a steering committee is considered most urgent because of the great need for a regularized mechanism which would assure that constant and orderly consideration is given jointly to planning international consultation on post-war economic matters. General approval of the proposal has already been received from the Russians.50 Presentation of our more detailed ideas to both the Russians and British awaits approval in principle from the British.
The Department feels that joint procedures in this field have been much too spasmodic and unsystematic and that this is jeopardizing successful international action on economic questions. It is also believed that it is highly important that a permanent over-all economic body be established most expeditiously and the suggested commission is needed as a clearing house for the ideas of various countries regarding such a permanent body. It is envisaged that perhaps a sub-group of the commission might act as a preparatory commission for an international conference held to establish permanent machinery.
Please also urge strongly that the British avoid further delay on the resumption of the Article VII exploratory discussions between British and American experts. The continuation of these discussions in our opinion is necessary apart from the question of the economic commission. Study of the alternatives regarding American post-war commercial, commodity, and cartel policies has reached a point where practically no further progress can be made without having additional indication from British experts regarding the many technical problems bearing on the feasibility of our alternative ideas on these highly important matters. It is considered lamentable that progress in these fields has not advanced considerably further to date and all efforts should be made to avoid additional delay.
Please stress that the Department considers that both the establishment of a commission and the resumption of Article VII discussions with British experts are matters of the greatest urgency, and that neither project should be delayed pending conclusion of the other, but both should be pressed forward simultaneously with maximum expedition. A decision regarding the establishment of the commission should not be deferred until the resumption of Article VII discussion, nor should resumption of Article VII discussion be delayed until the question of the suggested commission is finalized.
Please inform the Under Secretary.