The British Embassy to the Department of State


Discussions have been proceeding for some time between the United States Government and His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, on the provision of relief in Europe during the military period. Both Governments are fully alive to the importance of starting procurement forthwith but His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom for their part have hitherto found difficulty in agreeing on the basis for procurement in the absence of agreement on the manner in which the ultimate financial burden of such relief should be distributed. In view of the urgency of the matter, however, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom in the light of discussions that have been taking place between representatives of the two Governments, are now prepared to proceed on the understanding set out below.

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have considered the proposals put forward by the United States members of Combined Civil Affairs Committee and are prepared, subject to the reservation contained in the following paragraph, to agree that initial procurement under Plan A11 should go forward on the following basis:—That the United States shall bear initial procurement responsibility for purchases in the United States, that the United Kingdom shall bear initial procurement responsibility for purchases in the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, excluding Canada, [Page 313] and that procurement responsibility for purchases in countries other than the United States and the British Commonwealth should be divided equally between the United States and the United Kingdom.
This agreement on the part of His Majesty’s Government is, however, subject to the reservation which they understand is accepted by the United States members of the Combined Civil Affairs Committee, that the arrangement outlined above shall in no way prejudice the ultimate financial settlement for the cost of relief during the military period, which is a matter for negotiation between the two Governments.
It would be appreciated if the State Department would confirm their acceptance of the proposal made in paragraph 2 above and of the reservation in paragraph 3, so that appropriate instructions maybe given to the British members of the Combined Civil Affairs Committee in order that procurement may go forward without delay.
It is the view of His Majesty’s Government that any such final settlement between the supplying countries must be on an equitable basis and must be based upon a recognition of the relative financial strengths of the countries concerned. In this connection, His Majesty’s Government desire to place on record their view that in the light of the difference in financial strength between the United States and the United Kingdom, they would not be able to regard an equal sharing of the burden of relief in the military period between the two countries as an equitable settlement.
It will be noted that in paragraph 2 the position of Canada has been specifically reserved. This will be treated separately12 and will no doubt be the subject of special negotiations between the three Governments.
  1. According to an article entitled “Supplies for Liberated Areas” by the Adviser on Supplies in the Liberated Areas Division (Stillwell), in the Department of State Bulletin, May 20, 1944, p. 469, Plan A represented a set of figures with respect to a program of supplies (for all the areas of Europe to be liberated) which was produced by a working party of representatives of the Department of State, the Foreign Economic Administration (FEA), and the International Division of the Army. The program, Stillwell indicated, was given official approval by the CCAC on February 17, 1944, following establishment of the United States Procurement Committee about February 1 which was to aid in placing the United States portion of Plan A into actual procurement of clothing, textiles, shoes, and agricultural-production goods. For additional data on this subject, see Military Establishment Appropriation Bill for 1945: Hearings before the Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, 78th Cong., 2d sess. (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1944).
  2. In a memorandum of June 2, 1944, from the Canadian Embassy, not printed, concerning the financing of military relief supplies from Canada, a proposal was made to the Department of State that Canada should pay for a proportion of the military relief, and a tentative estimate suggested that this proportion be of the order of 8 percent (840.48/6–644). In a letter of September 12, 1944, the Department informed the Canadian Chargé that the proposal had been accepted (840.48/83144).