The Assistant Secretary of State ( Acheson ) to Mr. Jean Monnet of the French Supply Council at Washington
My Dear Mr. Monnet: The interested agencies and departments of this Government have considered the problems explained in your Memorandum of January 7, 1944, concerning financial difficulties arising under the Lend-Lease Modus Vivendi Agreement of September 25, 1943, on reciprocal aid in North Africa, and concerning the [Page 750] proposal to enter into a general Lend-Lease Agreement which would cover on a uniform basis all French territories under authority of the French Committee of National Liberation.
All of the interested agencies and departments of this Government will, of course, view the financial problems of the French Committee of National Liberation with the utmost sympathy and consideration.
With reference to the problem of payment for civilian supplies under the Agreement, which has now arisen, we accede to the suggestion of Article IV of your Memorandum, that the Committee retain a minimum reserve in dollars, and make available in payment for civilian supplies such other dollars as it may presently hold or as may subsequently accrue to it. An approximate level of such a minimum working reserve in dollars can, I am certain, be readily agreed upon between us.
At the same time, I propose that the technical staff of your Mission work with officers of this Department, the Treasury Department and the Foreign Economic Administration, as in each case may be appropriate, to explore certain specific courses of action through which the expected French dollar deficit for 1944 can be offset, as follows:
- The possible increase in Foreign Economic Administration purchases of certain agricultural surpluses in North Africa and the Colonies, and of certain non-strategic commodities for which shipping is available;
- The renewed payment of expenses for French prisoners of war through access to funds of the Metropole;
- The possible transfer to the Committee of certain dollar balances attributable to private persons or firms resident in territories under the authority of the Committee;
- Any other methods or ways reasonably adapted to increasing the dollar assets available to the Committee.
Pending preparation of further detailed information as to the potentialities of these methods for meeting the expected deficit, and a clarification of the situation through the progress of events, payments in dollars on the part of the Committee for delivery of civilian supplies already shipped or to be shipped under the Agreement will be made only to the extent that funds are available with provision made for the agreed minimum reserve, it being clearly understood that no change in the obligations of both parties under the Modus Vivendi is intended at the present time.
As to the second point in your Memorandum, I am glad to confirm our agreement to the proposal that a general Lend-Lease agreement be entered into covering on a uniform basis all territories under the authority of the French Committee of National Liberation; and I invite an early consultation on the points of detail which may require clarification before this step is taken.