840.50 UNRRA/4–1345

The Director General of the United Nations Belief and Rehabilitation Administration (Lehman) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: The steady expansion of UNRRA operations during recent months and the projected increase of our activities at the end of the war in Europe render it imperative that I enlist your personal support and intervention to obtain for us the communication facilities, and the diplomatic and other privileges in regard to which we have been negotiating with the Government of the United States since December of 1943. The importance of these facilities and privileges was recognized by all of the interested governments when they adopted Resolutions 32, 34 and 36 at the First Meeting of the Council in November of 1943, copies of which are enclosed herewith.1 In written communications and in numerous conferences during the past eighteen months members of my staff and I have urged the necessary implementation of the Resolutions by your Government. I wish to refer particularly to my letters to the Secretary of State dated 28 December 1943,2 25 January 19443 and 17 October 19442 as well as to my formal note to the Department under date of 3 April 1944.3

We feel that UNRRA is under heavy obligation to the United States for the very real assistance and support which your Government has given to UNRRA. Nevertheless, the failure to take administrative and legislative action with respect to taxation and such other important matters as censorship, courier and pouch facilities, code privileges, and travel regulations, has not only seriously handicapped our operations but has substantially increased their cost to all of the member governments. In several instances, the effective action taken [Page 1558] by the United Kingdom and other governments to facilitate our operations has been nullified or rendered relatively useless by the failure of your Government to take corresponding action. For example, the United Kingdom has given UNRRA pouch and courier facilities as well as exemption from censorship, but the Government of the United States has not taken complementary action at the Headquarters end of our operations.

The matter has now reached a point where the effect on our day-to-day operations and on the morale of our officers, both in Washington and abroad, is so great as to hamper seriously the fulfillment of our primary responsibility to the governments and peoples of the United Nations. It is also evident that other governments are now tending to delay action requested by UNRRA because they are aware of the apparent indifference toward these matters on the part of the Government of the country in which Headquarters is located.

Two types of action would seem desirable on the part of the Government of the United States—the one legislative and the other, administrative. I am informed that a revised draft of legislation has been approved by most of the interested departments of your Government and should soon be presented to the Congress. It is also my understanding, however, that the opposition of certain agencies of the Government may further delay presentation of the draft bill and may continue to prevent administrative action which, in many instances, would greatly facilitate our work pending the adoption of necessary legislation.

I earnestly hope that you will agree that the necessary action by the Government of the United States, both administrative and legislative, is of top urgency, and that you will issue appropriate directives in order to expedite such action.

For the convenience of the Department of State I enclose herewith a memorandum5 which summarizes the efforts we have made to obtain the desired facilities and indicates the present status of the various matters.

Sincerely yours,

Herbert H. Lehman
  1. For texts, see Conference Series No. 53: First Session of the Council of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration: Selected Documents, Atlantic City, New Jersey, November 10–December 1, 1943 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1944), pp. 62–66.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not found in Department files.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not found in Department files.
  6. Not printed.