The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ( Eden ) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Ed: I had hoped to table the question of Relief Supplies for Europe, which is dealt with in the enclosed memorandum, at one of the meetings of Foreign Secretaries.

As, however, there has not been time to do this, I am sending it to you and M. Molotov18 for your consideration.19

Yours very sincerely

Anthony Eden

Memorandum by the British Delegation

Relief Supplies for Europe

The problem of relief for Europe increases in proportion with the area and population liberated. It is already acute in Mediterranean and North-West European countries, and we assume that the difficulties are equally large in Eastern European countries. The position is made increasingly difficult by scarcity of shipping and bottle-necks in port capacity and inland transport. The shortage of shipping is likely to continue after the end of the German war and will remain a limiting factor on the quantity of bulk commodities, particularly food and coal, which can be imported from overseas into Europe. The most important problem is food.

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2. If therefore a scarcity of food in large areas of Europe is to be prevented on a scale which would lead to disease and unrest and endanger the economic and administrative structure, the three Great Powers should plan to make the most of resources available from all sources. It is therefore suggested that:

All measures to encourage local production of food-stuffs and raw materials in short supply in German and previously German-occupied territories should be taken.
The level of food production in areas which normally have exportable surpluses should be maintained or increased. The most important of these are eastern Germany, Hungary and Roumania, in all of which the production of food has been affected adversely by the recent course of the war.
Imports from overseas into the deficiency areas, local production and imports from surplus areas in Europe should be co-ordinated in such a way as to prevent disease and unrest.

Sufficient information is not available to enable us to put forward a definite proposal at this conference. We suggest therefore that the question be remitted for immediate further study in Moscow by officials of the three Governments who are expert in such matters. Other related questions such as the use of the services of U.N.R.R.A. and the possibility of using Black Sea ports for the import of relief supplies might usefully be discussed at the same time.

  1. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, Soviet People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  2. In acknowledging this letter the Secretary replied on February 11, stating that he would refer the question immediately to the Department for prompt and careful consideration (840.48/2–1145).