The Director of the Office of Wartime Economic Affairs (Taft) to the Vice Chairman of the War Production Board (Batt)

Dear Bill: You have inquired from me as to the United States position on requests by the British for the allocation of items to be purchased for cash which are in short supply in the United States, in the light of the understanding arrived at on lend lease in Phase II, and in 1945, recently announced by Mr. Morgenthau, Mr. Stettinius and Mr. Crowley.26

This question is not answered by specific language in any of the documents which came out of these discussions, and the discussions themselves did not amount to any firm undertakings by any one, since [Page 11] they were always subject to appropriate action by the allocating agencies having jurisdiction.

The War Production Board is not directly concerned with the White Paper27 at all, but passes upon requests for items in short supply on the basis of the end uses proposed in the light of war necessities. It should continue to apply exactly the same criteria, bearing in mind, of course, that other things being equal, the British should not be penalized in any way because they now propose to pay cash, where before they got certain items on lend lease. In other words, the War Production Board should continue to operate just as it has in the past, prior to the recent arrangements for lend lease in 1945.

The matter will no doubt be re-examined after the defeat of Germany.

Sincerely yours,

Charles P. Taft
  1. Press release by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., and Foreign Economic Administrator Leo T. Crowley, dated November 30, 1944, is reprinted in Foreign Relations, 1944, vol i, p. 80.
  2. For the text of the British White Paper, September 19, 1941, relating to distribution of lend-lease material, see Department of State Bulletin, September 13, 1941, pp. 204–206; for documentation on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. iii, pp. 1636.