740.00112 EW/3–2845: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant )

2501. I fully appreciate the situation with which you are confronted described in your 3199, March 28. I deeply regret that such a situation has arisen and I am hopeful that in the near future this Government’s position in such matters will again be clarified.

You are quite correct in pointing out that pursuant to previous instructions the Embassy had reason to believe that this Government had a clear line of settled policy as regards certain types of relief [Page 45] shipments to occupied territory. The Department in forwarding those instructions to the Embassy relied on exchanges of correspondence during the early part of 1944 with the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. In December 1944 the Joint Chiefs altered their views and recommended that on military grounds no relief shipments from any source whatsoever be permitted to go forward to occupied areas. Since that time the Department has been endeavoring to obtain modification of that position, and some progress has been made. I am hopeful that the result of White House intervention in the matter of shipment of grain seed from Sweden to Norway (reDepts 2403, March 28) and the position adopted by SHAEF44 as regards relief shipments to occupied Netherlands and certain German-held channel areas, it will be possible to obtain a coordination of the views of the interested agencies of this Government on the question of relief shipments.

We had not previously explained this situation to the Embassy since it was hoped that the matter would be resolved without undue delay. I cannot definitely assure you that this matter will be resolved by April 4, although we are making every effort to obtain quick action. I suggest, therefore, that you may wish to have this meeting put forward another week within which time the Department will make every effort to obtain a coordination of views on the matter.

  1. For a description of the efforts of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, to effect an amelioration of the food shortage in German-occupied Netherlands, see Forrest C. Pogue, The Supreme Command, in the official Army history United States Army in World War II: The European Theater of Operations (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1954), pp. 334–336, 457–459.