Editorial Note

For interim or emergency measures undertaken by the United States at this time in conjunction with other governments (particularly the United Kingdom and Canada) to continue wartime trade controls on the production, distribution, or pricing of certain international commodities during the immediate postwar recovery period, see Department of State Bulletin, 1946, under appropriate entries. This United States policy to continue controls during the transition period from war to peace on items mainly in short supply was approved at a meeting of the Executive Committee on Economic Foreign Policy on August 31, 1945 at which time it was recommended that “… in cases in which it is necessary to maintain controls for purposes of stability, reconversion, or rehabilitation, the responsibility therefor be transferred as quickly as practicable from the Anglo-American Combined Boards to international commodity committees composed of representatives of the principal producing and consuming countries” (ECEFP document D–119/45, August 31, 1945, Lot 122, Box 22). This position was used as a basis for negotiation with the United Kingdom and Canada, and on December 10, 1945 a joint statement was issued by the three governments terminating the Combined Raw Materials Board and the Combined Production and Resources Board as of December 31, 1945, but providing where necessary for continuance of the commodity committees established under those Boards; the Combined Food Board was continued until July 1, 1946 at which time its functions were taken over by the International Emergency Food Council (see documentation regarding the world food crisis, page 1439 ff.). The decision of August 1945 was reconfirmed by the Executive Committee on January 25, 1946.

The Department of State, however, regarded such governmental intervention in the channels of international trade as abnormal. As early as December 1944 the Executive Committee had drafted a basic policy statement regarding the relationship between basic foreign commercial policy and wartime trade controls in which it was declared that the burden of proof for continuation of such controls after the original reasons for imposing them had disappeared should rest with [Page 1261] those who advocated such action (ECEFP document D–87/44, Lot 122, Box 21). It was the fundamental policy of the Department to move as rapidly as possible in the direction of removal of government controls and restrictions from international trade, in line with traditional United States foreign commercial policy and with the program which this Government was pushing during these same years for the removal of trade barriers and the expansion of world trade and employment through the establishment of an International Trade Organization under the United Nations. In furtherance of this policy the Executive Committee on January 25, 1946 approved a program looking towards the discontinuance of the foreign wartime trading missions in this country, and the diplomatic missions in Washington of the concerned governments were notified of this in aide-mémoire on April 2.