740.0011 Stettinius Mission/38a: Telegram

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

3074. Esdel No. 30. The following may be of interest to the Under Secretary if the British bring up the matter and discussion becomes necessary.

Discussions have been proceeding within the Department as to the future of the Combined Boards. It is generally felt to be necessary that the Boards continue their present functions in relation to scarce war materials, facilities and shipping until the end of the war unless, prior to that time, alleviation of shortages makes continuation of controls unnecessary. In view of the intimate relationship between the British and the Americans on the Combined Boards and with the Canadians on the Combined Food Board and the Combined Production and Resources Board, it is felt that under present conditions expansion of the Boards to include representatives of other countries at the top level would impair their efficiency and usefulness.
It is also generally felt that it would be desirable, both to facilitate the operation of the Boards and to satisfy third countries, to [Page 37] invite other countries to be represented on working subcommittees dealing with subjects in which such other countries have an interest as substantial producers or consumers. Representation on the working groups only and not on the Boards themselves might be made more palatable by stressing that (a) third countries will not be interested in all items handled by the Board, (b) since the US and the UK have assumed the basic responsibility for managing the over-all war supply problems of the United Nations, such responsibility carries with it the need for certain special operating techniques, and (c) the Boards are purely wartime mechanisms to deal with acute war shortages and should be liquidated as soon as possible and not extended beyond their essential wartime purpose.
If it is necessary to resort to action in concert with other countries to handle the emergency supply and shipping problems existing at the termination of hostilities, it would be desirable to work this out on a broader basis than the Combined Boards.
It is generally agreed to be impractical to try later to expand the Boards themselves into a United Nations organization. Any international organization to handle the problems mentioned in paragraph 3, or to deal with surpluses during the war or after, or which is planned for the postwar period should be considered as a separate matter.

These matters have been discussed with US members of the Combined Boards, but such discussions have been on a preliminary basis only. It is anticipated that the US allocating authorities and the US members of the Boards will support the suggestions made above.