The Foreign Economic Administrator (Crowley) to the Chairman of the British Supply Council (Brand)99

Dear Mr. Brand: On many occasions during the past two years representatives of our Government have discussed with representatives of the United Kingdom Government the matter of the United Kingdom Government’s assuming as reverse lend-lease aid the payment of Suez Canal tolls levied against American vessels. On each occasion we have been informed that because the Suez Canal is a private company and because the Canal is situated in a third country and payment of tolls is made in a third currency, the United Kingdom Government felt that Suez Canal tolls were beyond the limits of the Reciprocal Aid Agreement.1

With the approaching end of the war in Europe and the prospect that there will be substantial traffic through the Canal, we have again been urged in the strongest terms by the United States Government agencies concerned to obtain Suez Canal tolls as reverse lend-lease aid. They emphasize that the Canal is wholly owned by United Nations which receive lend-lease aid; that from the beginning we have provided Panama Canal tolls as lend-lease aid; and that the tolls now in question are being levied against the United States vessels passing through the Canal strictly on war business. It is the feeling of this Government that the tolls levied against United States vessels are clearly within the spirit and intent of the Reciprocal Aid Agreements and that they should, therefore, be furnished to us as reciprocal aid.

In view of the foregoing, I urge that you put this matter in the strongest possible terms to the British Treasury in the hope that a prompt and favorable answer may now be obtained.

Sincerely yours,

Leo T. Crowley
  1. Printed from copy in the records of the FEA Administrator.
  2. Supplementary agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom regarding principles applying to the provision of aid to the armed forces of the United States, effected by exchange of notes signed September 3, 1942. For text, see Executive Agreement Series No. 270, or 56 Stat. (pt. 2) 1605. For documentation on the subject, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, pp. 537 ff.