840.50/4–1844: Telegram

President Roosevelt to the British Prime Minister ( Churchill )20

476. The Governments of the United Nations have, in recent months, taken a number of important steps toward laying foundations for postwar cooperative action in the various fields of international economic relations. The United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture, held in May, 1943,21 you will remember, led to an Interim Commission which is now drafting recommendations for a permanent organization in this field to put before the various governments. Already the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration has been established22 and is now in operation. Preparatory to a possible convocation of an United Nations Monetary Conference,23 [Page 15] there have been informal technical discussions at the expert level among many of the United Nations on mechanisms for internal monetary stabilization. On a more restricted scale similar discussions have been taking place with regard to the possibility of setting up mechanisms for facilitating international developmental investment. With regard to such questions as commodity policy, cartels, and commercial policy, informal discussions have been taking place among some of the United Nations. It is contemplated that discussions will take place on such questions as oil,24 commercial aviation,25 etc. The International Labor Organization will hold a conference in April,26 in part for the purpose of considering that organization’s future activities.

At the Moscow meeting of Foreign Ministers27 the Secretary of State, in a document entitled “Bases of Our Program for International Economic Cooperation,”28 emphasized the need of both informal discussions and formal conferences on various economic problems. It was suggested that “the time has come for the establishment of a Commission comprising of [sic] representatives of the principal United Nations and possibly certain others of the United Nations for the joint planning of the procedures to be followed in these matters.”

I do not mean to raise at this time and in this connection the broader issues of international organization for the maintenance of peace and security. Preliminary discussions on this subject are currently in contemplation between our three governments under the terms of the Moscow Protocol.29 What I am raising here is the question of further steps toward the establishment of United Nations machinery for postwar economic collaboration which was raised by the Secretary of State at the Moscow meeting30 and was discussed by you, Marshal Stalin and myself at Teheran.31 It is clear to me that there is a manifest need for United Nations machinery for joint planning of the procedures by which consideration should be given to the various fields of international economic cooperation, the subjects which should be discussed, the order of discussion, and the means of coordinating existing and prospective arrangements and activities.

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I should appreciate it very much if you would give me your ideas on the suggestions made by the Secretary of State at Moscow, together with any other ideas you may have as to the best procedures to be followed in this matter which is of such great importance.

  1. An identical message was sent on the same date to Premier Stalin.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 820 ff.
  3. See ibid., pp. 851 ff.
  4. For documentation on the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1–22, 1944, see pp. 106 ff.
  5. For documentation regarding Anglo-American petroleum discussions and agreement signed August 8, 1944, see vol. iii, pp. 94 ff.
  6. For documentation regarding the International Civil Aviation Conference held November 1–December 7, 1944, and agreements adopted, see pp. 355 ff.
  7. For documentation on the 26th International Labor Conference held at Philadelphia April 20–May 12, 1944, see pp. 1007 ff.
  8. For documentation regarding the Moscow Conference, October 18–November 1, 1943, see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, pp. 513 ff.
  9. Ibid., p. 763.
  10. See Annex 1 of the Protocol, ibid., pp. 749, 755.
  11. Ibid., pp. 665666.
  12. See Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, pp. 530533.