Mr. William S. Culbertson, Chairman, Special Economic Mission, to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to submit the report of the Special Economic Mission to the Middle East.6 The members [Page 40] of the Mission are William S. Culbertson, Chairman; Frederick Winant, Secretary; Homer S. Fox; E. C. Miller; Van Lear Woodward; John L. Gillis; William M. Friedlaender; Victor Bowman; Richard C. Thompson.

The instructions of the Mission are set forth in full in the first paragraphs of the report. In their overall effect they reflect the Government’s purpose to restore commercial trade as rapidly as the exigencies of war permit on the basis of economic liberty without any inequality.

For two months the members of the Mission have studied, in conformity with the terms of these instructions, the procedures, practices and policies affecting economic life within the area of the Middle East Supply Center. The report, submitted herewith, gives some idea of the diversity of the Mission’s activities. It would seem proper, however, for me to point out other and less obvious phases of the Mission’s accomplishments. In the first place, the members of the Mission have acquired information and experience which upon their return home may be utilized in conference and in advice by both government and business. In the second place and more important, the serious and constructive approach of the members of the Mission to their work has left a deep and favorable impression throughout the Middle East. In Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt they met socially and for conferences with both officials and private citizens. The resulting constant exchange of views has left behind appreciation and understanding which, if followed up by both government and business, will have helped substantially to build America’s economic future in this region.

Very respectfully yours,

William S. Culbertson
  1. Not printed. The report itself consisted of a 32-page summary of general observations and recommendations; in addition, seven bulky annexes were attached.

    The original intention of the Department was to have Ambassador Culbertson conduct discussions in London with the British Government, somewhat along the lines of his Paris talks, but these discussions never took place. There did occur, however, an informal exchange of views between Ambassador Culbertson and the British Ambassador (Halifax) at the Department on March 7, 1945, which Lord Halifax followed up on July 4, 1945, by transmitting to the Acting Secretary of State (Grew) an informal memorandum of comment by the British Foreign Office (033.1151R/12–144, 3–745, 7–445).

    The report, with its wide range of subject matter relating to lend-lease, financial and exchange questions, oil concessions and air and water communications, became the basis for much of the thinking in the Departmental approach to many of these problems in the years immediately ahead.