The British Embassy to the Department of State


His Britannic Majesty’s Embassy refer to the Memorandum of the State Department dated August 9th proposing certain arrangements to His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and to the Canadian Government with regard to financing of relief shipments on a combined or other agreed basis to liberated and conquered areas of Europe which fall outside the scope of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

His Majesty’s Government understand the proposal by the United States Government contained in paragraph 3 of their Memorandum to mean that the proportion of 21 per cent should apply to all expenses over and above the 400 million dollar limit and are prepared to agree to the proposals contained in the Memorandum subject to the following reservations:
that supplies should be provided to Italy on the basis proposed only up to and including October loadings;
that procurement to be undertaken by the United Kingdom should be limited to supplies from the United Kingdom, British Colonies and South African coal and to such other items as the United Kingdom has agreed to procure in respect of the programme for September and October approved by the Operating Committee of the Combined Liberated Areas Committee.
As the State Department is aware the United Kingdom representatives, in the conversations regarding financing relief supplies which took place in Washington during the summer, emphasised the [Page 1109] desirability of UNRRA taking over the financial responsibility for supplies to Italy as soon as possible, and the resolution passed at the Third Meeting of the Council87 in London authorizing UNRRA to operate in Italy is equally specific on this point. In these circumstances His Majesty’s Government could not themselves afford to continue to bear a fixed proportion of this financial burden for a period which has no definite closing date, nor could they ask for Parliamentary authority on this basis. Moreover, as explained to the United States Delegation to the UNRRA Conference, His Majesty’s Government consider that the suggested proportion of 21 per cent is in fact higher than is justifiable having regard to the present financial position of the United Kingdom. However, in order to reach agreement His Majesty’s Government are prepared to accept this proportion up to November 1st and have stipulated that closing date because it appears a reasonable date by which UNRRA should assume financial responsibility for supplies for Italy. If for any reason UNRRA’s assumption of responsibility in Italy should be postponed beyond the date proposed, His Majesty’s Government would be prepared to spread deliveries of supplies provided that the value of supplies furnished by the United Kingdom under the programme shall not exceed 21 per cent of the agreed programme for September and October.
The State Department will no doubt appreciate that in accepting the proportion of 21 per cent of any additional loss over 400 million dollars His Majesty’s Government are accepting a greater liability than had been allowed for. His Majesty’s Government feel it proper that the United States Government should be warned of the possibility that this may make it necessary for them to consider a reduction in any new contribution for UNRRA to below the figure of 80 million pounds. His Majesty’s Government would be entitled to adjust this figure to bring their first and second contributions together to 2 per cent of their national income as of June, 1943, which would make their new contribution approximately 75 million pounds.
A copy of this memorandum is being transmitted to the Canadian Embassy.
  1. For text of Resolution 73, see George Woodbridge, UNRRA: The History of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, vol. iii (Columbia University Press, 1950), p. 143.