840.50 UNRRA/5511: Circular airgram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Representatives 13

Reference is made to the Department’s circular airgram of March 31, 1944 concerning appropriations for United States participation in the work of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and particularly to the third paragraph from the end of the airgram in which it is stated that according to present plans no funds will be made available directly to UNRRA except the United States’ quota for administrative expenses.

This statement should be corrected in that it is expected that an additional direct payment will be made to UNRRA out of the amount initially appropriated, to cover the estimated expenses of UNRRA in connection with assistance in the care and repatriation of displaced persons. This would cover the United States’ share of UNRRA expenses in the operation of certain refugee centers in North Africa and Egypt14 and expenditures in connection with displaced persons within the liberated areas after occupation. The total amount of funds which it is planned to make available to UNRRA for this purpose is approximately $20,000,000 out of the initial appropriation.

It has not been determined how effect will be given, in the case of the United States’ contribution, to the recommendation contained in Section 5 of Resolution 14 of the UNRRA Council, setting forth the Financial Plan,15 that as much as possible, but not less than ten percent, of the amount contributed by each member government shall be in such form of currency as can be expended in areas outside of the contributing country.

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The purpose of this provision is to insure that there will be certain amounts available to UNRRA to finance purchases of supplies in the territory of non-member governments (such as Argentina) and for defraying UNRRA’s expenses in connection with assistance to displaced persons, health activities, transportation of supplies and other services. In the case of the United States, where there are no foreign exchange controls and where adequate national procurement machinery exists for purchases outside of the United States, it has been thought that, although a considerable part of the United States’ contribution may be disbursed outside of the United States, no predetermination of such amount can be made and that, therefore, at least initially, no specific amount should be transferred to UNRRA for purposes of procurement by it of supplies outside of the United States.

However, it would be unfortunate if this Government were to give any appearance of failure to comply with the recommendations of the Council referred to above. Accordingly, this Government will probably give UNRRA assurance of its intention that the amounts made directly available to UNRRA out of the United States contribution plus the amount used by this country in procuring supplies outside of the United States will aggregate at least ten percent of the total United States contribution.

  1. In Algeria, Australia, Canada, Egypt, the Soviet Union, Union of South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
  2. For data on refugee centers in the Middle East, see UNRRA press release of June 10, 1944, in the Department of State Bulletin of the same date, p. 533.
  3. See First Session of the Council of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, pp. 44 and 45.