The Secretary of the Treasury (Morgenthau) to President Roosevelt 40

My Dear Mr. President: During the last year I have discussed several times with Ambassador Harriman41 a plan which we in the Treasury have been formulating for comprehensive aid to Russia during her reconstruction period. We are not thinking of more Lend-Lease or any form of relief but rather of an arrangement that will have definite and long range benefits for the United States as well as for Russia.

Ambassador Harriman has expressed great interest and would like to see the plan advanced. I understand from him that the Russians are reluctant to take the initiative, but would welcome our presenting a constructive program.

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You will recall that at Quebec42 Mr. Churchill showed every evidence that his greatest worry was the period immediately following V–E Day. We have now worked out a Phase 2 Lend-Lease program with the British after two months of very hard work.43

I am convinced that if we were to come forward now and present to the Russians a concrete plan to aid them in the reconstruction period it would contribute a great deal towards ironing out many of the difficulties we have been having with respect to their problems and policies.

If a financial plan of this nature interests you at this time, I would appreciate an early opportunity to discuss it with you and Mr. Stettinius.

I am sending Mr. Stettinius a copy of this letter.


H. Morgenthau, Jr.
  1. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., sent on the same date a note to the Secretary of State enclosing a copy of his letter to President Roosevelt. Secretary of State Stettinius on January 2 asked the Assistant Secretary of State, William L. Clayton, to “recommend to me the position which I should take on behalf of the Department on this matter” (861.50/1–245).
  2. W. Averell Harriman, Ambassador in the Soviet Union.
  3. The records of the second conference at Quebec between President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, September 11–16, 1944, are scheduled for publication in a subsequent volume of Foreign Relations.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, pp. 31 ff.