The British Prime Minister ( Churchill ) to President Roosevelt 96
614. 1. Further to my number 613. I have laid before you our case about dollar balances in its full strength, but from the informal way in which you refer to it in your number 474, I have wondered whether you might be meaning only that we should search for some arrangement to enable us to put a portion of our balance less conspicuously in the limelight. If this is so, and if you desire it, we will go into this very carefully with Stettinius when he visits us.97
2. Since we received your telegram, we now learn that Mr. Crowley on March 8th promised to give Congress the amount of our dollar balances now and at the outbreak of war. This raises serious dangers. I am confident in the justice of our case if it could be stated as a whole, and of course if the matter becomes public property, we shall have to justify ourselves in public. The disclosure of the vast debit balance [Page 47] which is growing up against us outside the United States would certainly have most injurious effects upon our Sterling position, and consequently upon the whole strength of the Allies at this period. We therefore ask that there shall be no disclosure. If this is not possible, that the disclosure shall be in strict confidence, and also that the substance of our case should be stated to the body to whom the disclosure is made.
[On March 18, 1944, the Secretary of State and the Foreign Economic Administrator, Leo T. Crowley, issued a joint statement dealing with United States discussions with the United Kingdom in an effort to reach agreement on “an agreed set of principles on a bilateral basis governing the re-export of lend-lease and mutual aid goods and similar goods.” For the complete text of this statement, see Department of State Bulletin, March 18, 1944, page 256. These talks came to no final agreement and ultimately were merged into the discussions on Phase II of Lend-Lease later in the year.]