800.24/12–745: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman)

2470. The Prime Ministers of UK and Canada and the President will make an announcement at 10 a.m. Washington time Dec. 10 concerning the future of the Combined Boards.56 It is desired that [Page 195] before that time you transmit to Soviet FonOff the following note which has been approved by UK and Canada:

“The Soviet Govt will be aware that during the period of war emergency the Govts of the US, the UK and Canada have endeavored to secure the equitable distribution and allocation of foodstuffs, raw materials and manufactured products in short supply from their own sources and others to which they have had access through the medium of the Combined Food Board, the Combined Raw Materials Board and the Combined Production and Resources Board in Washington. Each of these Boards has set up a number of subcommittees concerned with particular commodities in short supply. Many countries with a major interest in the commodity concerned have been brought into close association with the work of these committees if their relationship with the Boards had not already been effected in some other way. Thus, for example, under the quadripartite Protocol57 between the US, Soviet Union, UK and Canada any Soviet requests for supplies from sources within the purview of the Boards were sponsored before the Boards by the member country on which the request was placed.

It is the view of the three Govts that the Boards have performed an invaluable role in assembling facts, securing increased production and ensuring efficient distribution of commodities essential to the warmaking capacity and civilian economy of the United Nations. With the termination of the war, however, the time has come to review the work of the Boards and to determine what part of their functions can be considered unnecessary or inappropriate in conditions of peace. The conclusion has been reached that the number of industrial commodities which remain in critical supply and which can be effectively allocated is not such as to justify the maintenance of the Combined Raw Materials Board and the Combined Production and Resources Board after Dec 31, 1945, on which date they will accordingly terminate. Difficult supply conditions still persist, however, in rubber, tin, coal, hides, skins and leather, and broad-woven cotton goods and cotton yarn. It is accordingly being proposed by the Boards to the subcommittees concerned with these commodities that they should continue to operate for such further period as may be necessary in the light of supply conditions. As from Jan 1, 1946, therefore, it is expected that these five committees will make themselves responsible for the continued allocation of such supplies of the commodities in question as are available to the associated Govts. For practical reasons, and in view of the temporary character of the arrangements, they will continue to conduct their business in Washington (and London in the case of the London Coal Committee). With the disappearance of the Boards, the responsibility for making procedural arrangements and for adding to their membership any countries which it may be desirable to associate with the arrangements [Page 196] by reason of their interest, whether as major producers or major consumers, in the commodities concerned, will naturally devolve upon the Committees themselves.

In the field of agricultural products there remain a much larger number of commodities in critical short supply. These comprise beans and peas, cereals, citric and tartaric acid, cocoa and spices, dairy products, essential oils, fats and oils, feedstuffs, fishery products, dried fruits, meat and meat products, rice, seeds, sugar, vitamins, tea and fertilizers. In view of the inter-relationship of many of these commodities, it has been thought impracticable to place the committees of the Combined Food Board concerned with them on an independent basis at this stage, and the three member countries have accordingly reached the conclusion that it will be in the interest of all concerned to prolong the life of the Combined Food Board for a further period. It is anticipated that the Board will be dissolved on June 30, 1946, or sooner if conditions permit. After its termination any food commodity committees which continue to be necessary for supply reasons will operate independently, as is proposed for the industrial material committees after Jan. 1. Meanwhile, however, the subcommittees of the Board, with which other countries are already associated as members, will continue the policy of enlarging their membership where this seems desirable.

The Govt of the US, by agreement with the Govts of the UK and Canada, has thought it appropriate to explain to the Govt of the Soviet Union in detail the arrangements proposed for the allocation after the end of 1945 of these particular commodities which remain in short supply. The three Govts would be glad to receive any observations which the Govt of the Soviet Union may wish to make in connection with the present communication and to be informed of any interest which the Govt of the Soviet Union may have in the work of these committees.”

Please inform UK and Canadian representatives of the fact that you are transmitting this note on behalf of our three governments.

  1. Department of State Bulletin, December 16, 1945, p. 975.
  2. The Fourth (Ottawa) Protocol, covering the period from July 1, 1944, to June 30, 1945, was signed on April 17, 1945, by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and the Soviet Union. For text, see Department of State, Soviet Supply Protocols, pp. 89–156. The announcement of the signature made in Ottawa on April 20, 1945, is printed in Department of State Bulletin, April 22, 1945, p. 723. Far documentation on conclusion of wartime assistance from the United States for the Soviet Union, and consideration of a supplementary see vol. v, pp. 937 ff.