The Secretary of War ( Stimson ) and the Secretary of the Navy ( Forrestal ) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: In a joint letter dated 4 October 1944, the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of War informed the Secretary of State of the unsatisfactory situation regarding the valuation of reciprocal aid received from the United Kingdom, and requested that the Government of the United Kingdom be approached so that itemized prices and supporting data on all reciprocal aid which has been or will be furnished by the British Government will be supplied by the U.K. to the U.S. as soon as possible.

In reply Mr. Stettinius indicated that Ambassador Winant would associate himself with Mr. Charles Denby of the Foreign Economic Administration and the delegations of the Navy and War Departments sent to London for the purpose of presenting the problem to the British and of negotiating a satisfactory solution. The State Department cable #367, dated 7 November,54 from Mr. Denby to Mr. Acheson, clearly indicated the status of the negotiations in London. The British proposals, as reported by Mr. Denby, do not satisfy the minimum requirements of the Navy and War Departments, as itemized prices and supporting data for the Reciprocal Aid account from the beginning are not promised by the British. It should be emphasized that in our opinion no accurate picture can be obtained of the overall contribution of reciprocal aid to the war effort without obtaining itemized prices not only from June 1943 to the conclusion of reciprocal aid, but for the prior period of time. Furthermore, the British do not agree for the future to furnish itemized prices and supporting data on all items furnished by the U.K. at the time of issue throughout the U.K., the British Colonial Empire, and the Commonwealth, and in other parts of the world.

The War and Navy Departments again request that the Secretary of State consider all phases of this problem and that the State Department representatives in these negotiations be instructed to continue negotiations to accomplish the objectives deemed essential by the War and Navy Departments.

We recognize, however, that there may be reasons of policy which will restrain you from pressing for acceptance on the part of the British of the responsibility for providing the pricing data in the detail we have recommended. Under such circumstances it should be recognized that our reports of reciprocal aid received will lack the [Page 77] completeness and accuracy which we believe a proper and reasonable accounting to require and which we have endeavored to obtain.

Sincerely yours,

Henry L. Stimson

[President Roosevelt’s Seventeenth Quarterly Report on Lend-Lease was entirely devoted to reverse Lend-Lease received from the British Commonwealth of Nations. For the text, see Seventeenth Report to Congress on Lend Lease Operations, November 24, 1944 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1944).]

  1. Not found in Department files.