Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt
We need instruction from you on one important phase of this proposed agreement; i.e., how to deal with Monnet’s request, which I understand he mentioned to you, for industrial items to get French production going again for the maintenance of the civil population.
We have been working under the memorandum of July 15, 1944,9 which you approved. This provides that
- The French get under straight lend lease what you approve as necessary military aid for their forces and for short-life supplies for war production. When you determine the aid to be no longer necessary, [Page 761] they will accept and pay for on credit terms the undelivered, non-munitions items you have authorized.
- They pay currently in cash for food, clothing, and other items consumed by the civil population.
- [Here is the trouble.]10 Long-life industrial articles and other industrial articles would be furnished to them on credit only if necessary to the prosecution of the war in Europe or to the maintenance of Allied forces in the period immediately following an armistice in Europe.
Viewed as of the present date and position of the war, the memorandum of July 15th means, in effect, a rejection of Monnet’s program and would require the French to pay cash currently for all items not required as necessary military aid. I do not think you intended, nor would I recommend, so flat a position. On the other hand, you would not wish to approve at this stage the French program, amounting as it does to something over a billion dollars of industrial items to be paid for on credit terms. I do not think that there is any formula which describes what you may wish to approve and what you may not wish to approve. What seems to me necessary is to leave in your hands complete discretion to do what you may think necessary from time to time in the light of French behavior.
Therefore, I recommend that you authorize us to provide that such long-life articles and such other articles as may be included from time to time in a list to be attached to the agreement, and which are contracted for or purchased before you determine that aid under the Act is no longer necessary for the prosecution of the war, we shall deliver (subject to your right of cancellation in the national interest) and the French shall accept and pay for on credit terms. I recommend also that you instruct the Foreign Economic Administration to submit to you proposed French programs under this provision before they are included in this list. Such a disposition of the matter will give authority to go ahead, with flexible control in your hands to do as much or as little as you determine to be desirable at any time.
The Foreign Economic Administration agrees with this proposal.