Memorandum by the Secretaries of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee51

SWNCC 24/6

Relief Shipments to Enemy-Occupied Territory

The enclosure, a draft of a letter to the Secretary of State from the Secretaries of War and the Navy, as proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is circulated for consideration by the Committee.

Charles W. McCarthy
Alvin F. Richardson
Raymond E. Cox

Draft Letter to the Secretary of State From the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy

Reference is made to your letter of 2 April 1945 in regard to the shipment of supplies to German-held areas in Europe, particularly to Norway and Holland.

From a military standpoint, the situation has changed since the time of the previous letters to you expressing the effect of the shipment of supplies to German-held areas in Europe. At that time the question was rather one of the general supply of German-held Europe, since there was no indication that the German troops themselves did not have the necessary food for their maintenance. At the present time, however, there is a fair prospect that the Germans may set up islands of resistance, particularly in Holland and Norway. It is clear that, if this is done, the German forces will have to rely upon the food resources in those countries and that any food shipped into such areas would contribute to those resources.

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In other words, as the situation now presents itself, the shipment of food and other supplies to the areas in question may prolong German resistance in those areas. The forces there may be of such number that their quick reduction could be made only with large loss of Allied life.

From a military standpoint, therefore, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are of the opinion that it is inadvisable to ship supplies into German-held portions of Holland and to increase the relief now going to enemy-occupied Norway until organized resistance in those areas has ended.

If the decision is made to ship in the supplies, it must be based on political and humanitarian rather than military considerations.

  1. According to document SWNCC 24/7, dated 12 April 1945, the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee by informal action on April 10 approved SWNCC 24/6 and the letter contained in the enclosure was forwarded to the Secretary of State on April 11.