Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt
I refer to our conversation yesterday and to the memorandum which I handed you in which I put on paper some thoughts in connection with the recent discussions with Mr. Churchill and other British officials in regard to lend-lease assistance to be extended to Great Britain after the defeat of Germany and before the defeat of Japan. For reference purposes I enclose a copy of that memorandum.37
Our guiding thought has been that the problem of provision of financial assistance to Great Britain beyond direct military requirements is an integral part of our most basic foreign policy. Hence I believe that the negotiations now under way on this subject should not be divorced from the discussion of other extremely important matters, some of which are set forth in the accompanying memorandum, and that no final decisions should be reached in connection with this aspect of lend-lease assistance independently of an adequate clarification of these other matters.
I am afraid, therefore, that we are courting disaster unless the whole subject is handled as a matter of foreign policy rather than solely or predominantly a matter of finance.
The operations agency in lend-lease matters is the Foreign Economic Administration. Naturally there are important financial considerations on which the Treasury Department should be consulted and concerning which their advice and assistance is of great importance. Since this question is of fundamental importance in our foreign policy it seems to me, as I pointed out to you yesterday, that it should be actually handled by the Department of State, with the advice and assistance of Foreign Economic Administration, the Treasury Department [Page 66] and other agencies of the Government that are concerned, in accordance with our customary procedure in dealing with such questions. I should be glad if you would let me know whether this meets with your approval.