The Department of State to the French Supply Council at Washington 1
With reference to the Memorandum presented by Mr. Monnet to the Department of State on January 7, 1944, and to Mr. Acheson’s letter of January 27, 1944, in reply, the following additional points are proposed for discussion.
- There is attached for the consideration of the French authorities the draft of a Mutual Aid Agreement2 defining the lend-lease relations between the Government of the United States and the French Committee of National Liberation on a uniform basis for all French territory under the authority of the Committee. This proposed agreement will replace the Lend-Lease Modus Vivendi Agreement of September 25, 1943, and the previous Reciprocal Lend-Lease Agreement with the French National Committee, dated September 3, 1942.3 The question of entering into a Master Lend-Lease Agreement with the French Committee of National Liberation of the type presented by the Preliminary Agreement with Great Britain, dated February 22 , 1942,4 and of certain other types of [Page 754] lend-lease agreements, is under study, and will be further discussed at a later date. It is, however, the intent and desire of the United States Government to assure the French Committee of National Liberation that final lend-lease settlement for the aid rendered to the French National Committee, to the Haut Commandement en Chef Civil et Militaire, to the French Committee of National Liberation, and to other French forces by the United States under the Act of March 11, 1941,5 as amended, will be governed, so far as the United States is concerned, by the principles expressed in Article VII of the Preliminary Agreement with Great Britain, referred to above, and of like agreements with other allied governments. To this end, we suggest that Article VI of the attached draft, or a similar article, be incorporated into our new Mutual Aid Agreement.
- In the proposed draft, the principle is maintained that
civilian supplies furnished by the United States under the Act
of March 11, 1941, be paid for in dollars, subject to Article V.
Though the United States Government has noted with sympathy the
immediate and temporary financial difficulties described in Mr.
Monnet’s memorandum of January 7, 1944, and will be pleased to
render whatever aid it can to help resolve them, the maintenance
of this principle is regarded by the United States as apt and
appropriate. In this connection, the following observations
appear to be in order:
- It has been, and is, the policy of the United States Government to provide civilian supplies on a Lend-Lease basis only to theatres of active military operations, when financial factors are such as to justify this procedure.
- Discussions are now proceeding between appropriate French and American officials with reference to the United States’ purchase of certain commodities available in the French Empire. It is hoped that such purchases may reach the figure of $60,000,000 during 1944. The proceeds of these sales by the French Empire to the United States will be available for French civilian purchases in the United States.
- Though American military expenditures in French territories are at present considerably less than during the first period after the landing in north Africa, it is anticipated that they will continue at a substantial volume.
- Mr. Monnet’s letter of March 2, 1944,6 replying to one suggestion made by Mr. Acheson in his letter of January 27, 1944, reports that a census of all dollar balances attributable to private persons or firms resident in territories under the authority of the Committee, has been taken. This policy should result in a substantial mobilization of funds.
- If the expected deficit estimated in the French Memorandum of January 7, as subsequently revised, is not averted by the above, or similar, measures, the United States Government suggests that any deficit still remaining be met by proceeds of the sale of newly-mined gold, and by the gold and dollar assets of the French Treasury now [Page 755] within French African territories under the jurisdiction of the French Committee of National Liberation.
- It should be noted, in conclusion, that considerations leading the United States Government to propose that the French Committee continue to pay dollars for civilian supplies, as set forth above, are of a purely financial order.
- The United States Government notes with sympathetic understanding the desire of the French Committee to provide French prisoners of war with necessary food and clothing. Mr. Monnet’s letter of February 21, 1944, to Mr. Acheson on this subject, however, indicates a misunderstanding of United States policy in this matter. Such supplies have been made available on a lend-lease basis only in the most unusual circumstances and the expenditures of Lend-Lease funds for this purpose have been small. Some supplies have been provided in this manner for Yugoslav prisoners of war, who are considered stateless by the German Government, and in a few exceptional oases for Polish prisoners of war as well. None of the other allied nations has been granted Lend-Lease aid for this purpose. In view of the strictness with which the United States Government has adhered to this policy, it is felt that an exception should not be made in the case of French prisoners of war, for whom supplies can be purchased in line with the statements of paragraph two above. However, the United States Government assures the French Committee of its firm support in obtaining such clearance with supply authorities as may be necessary to put purchase programs for French prisoners of war promptly into effect.