033.1193 Nelson, Donald M./11–1544

Mr. Donald M. Nelson to President Roosevelt 34

Dear Mr. President: On October 4th, I reported to you orally my findings on the serious economic situation in China, as it affects the war effort. I have now worked out a number of practical steps which this country can take to strengthen China’s war economy. A written report embodying my conclusions is in preparation; but since time is so vital a factor, I want to anticipate that report by making five immediate recommendations.

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I recommend that the FEA Economic Mission now at Chungking be substantially strengthened, and a man of outstanding qualifications be promptly appointed to head it up, in recognition of its growing responsibilities. The new head should have an adequate staff and, subject to the concurrence of the State Department, should be given the diplomatic rank of Minister. The Mission would, as now, work under the general direction of the American Ambassador in Chungking. Since my return from Chungking, I have been arranging, in collaboration with the FEA, for the despatch of several American production experts to go to China for the purpose of aiding war production in that country; these men will, of course, come within the scope of the Mission.
I recommend that there be established a Joint China–United States Production Committee, to coordinate the supply and production problems of the two countries. The Minister heading the FEA Economic Mission and the Chairman of the Chinese War Production Board should represent their respective countries on this committee in Chungking, together with appropriate military representatives; while in Washington a similar committee should be established to handle the problems at this end. Pending a decision on such a joint committee, the Foreign Economic Administration is negotiating with our War Production Board for higher priorities on the war supplies most urgently needed by China.
I recommend that 30 C–46 aircraft be allocated at this time to the China National Aviation Corporation for the India–China service, with deliveries beginning this month and running through February 1945. Necessary supplementary provisions are indicated on the accompanying sheet.35 I suggest that your decision on this recommendation be made known to the Generalissimo so that the necessary coordinate action can be taken promptly in China.
I recommend that, in addition to the 5,000 special 4-ton Dodge trucks now on order here for China and approved and scheduled for production, a further 10,000 trucks, generally of the same model, be approved for production for the Chinese, with deliveries at the factory to be made not later than September 30, 1945. Necessary supplementary provisions are indicated on the accompanying sheet.35 I suggest that your decision on this recommendation be made known to the Generalissimo.
As you know, the Russians have recently granted us permission to transport 500 trucks across Russia to China. I recommend that you personally cable Marshal Stalin, asking permission to transport a further 500 trucks per month over Russian territory for China.36
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If these five recommendations meet with your approval, I shall be glad to prepare for your signature the appropriate documents putting them into effect.38


Donald M. Nelson
  1. Date of receipt in Department not indicated.
  2. Not attached to file copy.
  3. Not attached to file copy.
  4. For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 979981.
  5. Marginal notations indicate approval of points 1–4 by the President; comment on point 5 not legible.