840.50 UNRRA/6–2845: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Italy (Kirk)

1194. After considerable discussion among interested officials here recommendation has been made to the President that US join in sponsoring at UNRRA Council meeting in London additional contributions by all contributing countries based on one percent of their national incomes.3 This should produce equivalent of eighteen hundred million dollars which together with present assets should permit UNRRA to complete its task in Europe and Far East. In Europe the program would probably continue through harvests of 1946.

We took this approach in place of purely US program because of desire to back first United Nations organization which we had originally sponsored and to foster international rather than national considerations in handling relief and rehabilitation matters. In addition contributions by other nations amounting to one-third of total can most easily be obtained through UNRRA.

In connection with this proposal we will urge expansion of UNRRA program in Italy4 to take care of its basic import requirements for about one year starting in Fall (probably November) of 1945. Such a program would include items such as food, raw materials, coal, agricultural supplies, medical supplies and some machinery and equipment. We estimate UNRRA cost for Italy under this program would be approximately $500 million.

British are thinking along substantially same lines although their proposal involves immediate additional contribution of only one billion [Page 994] dollars to UNRRA and would postpone consideration of financing of Far East requirements until later. Their tentative estimate for Italy is $400 million.

Our UNRRA proposal does not, of course, eliminate possibility of credits for reconstruction purposes from Export-Import Bank or through Bretton Woods arrangements.5

Above is for your confidential information and we would welcome your comments. Question of Italian membership in UNRRA not involved in above proposal.6

  1. Resolution 80, adopted by the Third UNRRA Council, called for an additional contribution from each member country approximately equivalent to one percent of the national income of each contributing nation as of the year ending June 30, 1943; for text, see Woodbridge, UNRRA, vol. iii, pp. 146–147.
  2. Resolution 73 dealt with further measures of relief and rehabilitation in Italy; for text, see ibid, p. 143.
  3. For text of the Bretton Woods Agreement, see Department of State, Proceedings and Documents of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1–22, 1944 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1948), vol. i, p. 942; for related documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. ii, pp. 106 ff.
  4. Italy did not become a member of UNRRA. Its ultimate status was that of a contributing and receiving nonmember; see chart in Woodbridge, UNRRA, vol. i, p. 106.