No. 427
The Secretary of War ( Stimson ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Grew )1

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I have carefully considered the many points which you raised in your letter of 8 June 19453 with respect to conditions in Western Europe. I share your concern over what I think we all recognize to be a distressing situation.

. . . . . . .

[Page 629]

3. You are correct in your assumption that the War Department has undertaken to ship coal to Northwest Europe during June, July, and August, within the limits of shipping and supply availabilities, to meet valid combined military import requirements therefor. It is expected that War Department responsibility for providing coal from the United States for Europe will terminate with August 1945 loadings.

At this time the combined British and American military authorities are making every effort to maximize the production of coal in the areas of Germany which they occupy. So long as combined military responsibility for the provision of coal in liberated areas of Europe continues, the combined military authorities will undertake to allocate any surplus of German coal which may be available on an equitable basis among those countries for the coal supply of which they are responsible. After the termination of combined military responsibility for the supply of coal, however, the amount of coal to be provided to liberated areas from Germany will involve reparations decisions which have not yet been made by this government. Moreover, to maximize the production of German coal will require the importation into Germany of substantial amounts of coal mining machinery. Determination to provide this machinery if it is to be financed by or provided from the U. S. involves a policy decision of our government and is not one for which the War Department should accept primary responsibility.

Much or all of such machinery may be placed in coal mines lying outside of zones of Germany for which the U. S. Army is responsible. The War Department has no funds to finance the procurement of such machinery and has been advised of no other funds available for the purpose. While I share your interest in this matter and your desire that everything possible be done to insure the maximum coal production in Germany, I feel that it is the responsibility of the civilian policy [Page 630] making agencies of our government to provide the solution to this financing problem. The War Department, in its administration of military government in Germany, will seek to carry out any policy so established. This subject was covered in greater detail in my letter to you of 14 June 1945.4

. . . . . . .

Sincerely yours,

Henry L Stimson
  1. Actually addressed to the Acting Secretary of State, but Grew was only Under Secretary on the date of signature.
  2. For other extracts from this letter, see document No. 365.
  3. The pertinent passages of Grew’s letter of June 8 read as follows (file No. 711.51/6–845):

    “I am deeply concerned over conditions in Western Europe and the possibility that serious disorders may develop during the coming months. If the people of that area, particularly those in France, have to face another winter without heat or without adequate food and clothing, I can foresee disturbances of such serious consequence as not only to involve conflict with our troops, but to imperil gravely our long-term interests. The outlook at best is a gloomy one. …

    . . . . . . .

    “3. Although there are of course many factors contributing to social and economic instability in Western Europe, one of the most important is the lack of coal. I am convinced that drastic steps must be taken to provide coal for our Western European Allies, particularly France. I understand that steps are underway which may permit the shipment, under military auspices, of certain limited quantities of coal from this country to the Western European countries. I sincerely hope that this will be done.

    “I also understand that steps are being taken by the military authorities to push German coal production. I have been troubled, however, over reports to the effect that this production may, in large part, be allocated for use in Germany. I should therefore like to urge that an appropriate directive or order be issued which would

    • “(a) make the production and transportation of coal from the Ruhr and Saar a matter of first military operational priority;
    • “(b) assure equitable and prompt allocation of substantial quantities of such coal among our Western European Allies.

    “Pending the setting up of more definitive allocating machinery, it would appear necessary that this responsibility be vested in SHAEF, which should act in consultation with the European Coal Organization (when that body commences to function) and, in the interim, in accordance with the procedure suggested in the following paragraph 5 [see footnote 3 to document No. 365] for allocations of German surpluses.”

  4. Not printed. Cf. document No. 342.