Report by the Interdepartmental Subcommittee on the Soviet Union of the Committee on Trade Agreements

Aspects of Post-War Soviet Foreign Trade


The objective is to estimate possible United States exports to the U.S.S.R. during the post-war decade on the basis of the following studies:
The post-war export potential of the U.S.S.R., by commodities;
Post-war imports into the U.S.S.R. from Europe, by countries;
United States post-war imports from the U.S.S.R., by commodities.
Reparations, price changes, gold movements, credit arrangements including lend-lease, services rendered, and possible United States stockpiling, are omitted from detailed statistical consideration in arriving at these estimates. Brief consideration, however, is given to the possible effect on post-war trade of Soviet gold exports and credit arrangements.
The estimated total average annual export potential of the U.S.S.R. during the post-war decade based upon the export probabilities of the twenty-five major pre-war export commodities, is from 400 to 500 million dollars. All sums shown in this abstract are based on pre-war prices.
The estimated annual average of Soviet imports from European countries, excluding Germany and Italy, during the post-war decade is at least 200 million dollars, and more than double the pre-war figure.
The estimated annual average of United States imports from the U.S.S.R. during the post-war decade ranges from 30 to 70 million dollars. In order to achieve the higher figure, the United States would require a national income of about 150 billion dollars and total imports of 12 billion dollars per year. These estimated imports into the United States form part of the estimated Soviet export potential of 400 to 500 million dollars per year. United States imports from the U.S.S.R. during the latter 1930’s averaged about 25 million dollars per year.
The Soviet export potential of 400 to 500 million dollars per year would pay for Soviet imports of 200 to 250 million from Europe together with imports of, say, 50 to 100 million from other countries [Page 960] and leave 100 to 200 million dollars for imports from the United States. Soviet exports to the United States of 30 to 70 million dollars per year would supply exchange for about a third of these amounts, the balance being covered by multilateral payments.
Gold exports might add several hundred million dollars a year to Soviet purchasing power, and a substantial part of this addition might be used for further imports from the United States.
If the United States granted the Soviet Union large credits in the early post-war years, the possible additional United States exports resulting therefrom would of course be more than offset by the amortization and interest requirements of such loans in the later years and might consequently impose a heavy burden on the Soviet balance of payments at that time.51
  1. Later in the year the First Secretary of Embassy in the Soviet Union, A. Bland Calder, wrote two memoranda (transmitted in despatches No. 987 of September 20, and No. 1020 of September 25, neither printed), which gave consideration to possible increases in exports of two Soviet commodities which in the past had occupied top places in the total value of Soviet exports to the United States (manganese ore and fur skins). These could be calculated to furnish an important source of valuta in early postwar trade as a likely means of servicing loans or credits in the United States for Soviet purchases of capital equipment for the rapid reconstruction and expansion of Soviet industry. Even in the most favorable circumstances for expanded postwar trade, the amounts that might be realized from the export of these commodities would still be seriously inadequate for the servicing and liquidation of the credits and loans that the Soviet Union would certainly need and would probably desire to obtain. (840.50/9–2044, 9–2544)