840.50 UNRRA/3–745

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

My Dear Governor Lehman: I have your letter of March 7, enclosing a copy of a telegram sent to you by President Osmeña on behalf of the Philippines Government, and inquiring as to the United States policy of relief and rehabilitation in the Philippines.

In the immediate future, the United States Army will be responsible for all civilian imports into the Philippines, as is the case during the so-called military period in other liberated areas. I am, however, summarizing herewith the interim plans being sponsored by civilian agencies of this Government for relief to the Philippines, as I am sure that you will want to take them into consideration in reaching a decision as to the extent of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration’s participation in that effort.

Except for supplies procured and delivered by the military as part of what might be called a Pacific Plan “A”, and a small barter program of trade goods involving about $5,000,000, which will be used primarily to stimulate production of abaca—a critical war material, only one civilian supply program, presumably for delivery in the post-military period, has been contemplated by a United States agency which, in turn, has been authorized to sustain a loss if necessary, although procurement and distribution are to be implemented as a commercial transaction. This latter program was originated by the Department of the Interior and the Philippine Division of the Department, in consultation with representatives of the Commonwealth and the Foreign Economic Administration. The program was then adopted by the Commonwealth as an immediate and practical civilian supply target, and submitted for procurement to the Foreign Economic Administration through the Department of the Interior. The cost of this program is estimated at between $40,000,000 and $50,000,000, and I have asked that details of the supplies and quantities to be furnished should be made available to you promptly and in full.

If UNRRA does undertake relief and rehabilitation responsibilities for the Philippines, I would expect coordination of civilian supply arrangements between the Administration and this Government. Until such a decision is reached, I suggest that UNRRA consult informally with the United States agencies concerned as to changes that may occur in their present planning or objectives. Similarly, we would like to be kept informed of the progress in your discussions of this problem with the Philippine Government.

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At the moment, and as a preliminary response from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration to the Commonwealth Government, I should think you might want to offer the same sort of assistance to the Philippines as is being extended to the countries of Northwest Europe, in accordance with the Resolution passed by the Central Committee on February 26.37

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson
  1. In a letter of March 26, 1945, the Director General informed Mr. Acheson that he had offered to President Osmeña to set aside a provisional fund of $1,000,000 for relief supplies to meet the immediate emergency (840.50 UNRRA/3–2645).