Department of State National Advisory Council Files

Memorandum by the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank (Crowley) to the National Advisory Council


Re: Emergency Reconstruction Credits to Liberated and War-Devasted Countries

The Board of Trustees of the Export-Import Bank at a meeting on Tuesday, September 11, approved in principle emergency reconstruction credits to the following countries in the amounts indicated, subject to policy review by the National Advisory Council:

Belgium $ 100,000,000
France 315,000,000
Netherlands 100,000,000
Netherlands East Indies 100,000,000
U.S.S.R. 1,000,000,000

It should be emphasized that these proposed credits are for the purpose of financing emergency purchases of materials, supplies, and equipment urgently needed by these countries to begin the restoration and rebuilding of their economies. Time is of the essence because of the vital importance of maintaining the flow of goods to these countries from the United States as their only immediate source of supply.

The credits would be extended without prejudice to the longer run and more carefully defined reconstruction programs of the countries concerned or to the amount of dollar financing which may ultimately be required to carry out these programs. The plain fact is that the recently liberated countries and Russia have not had time to determine their needs for imported goods or for external financing and cannot afford to wait until these needs are precisely defined. Nor can the United States afford to wait.

The terms and conditions of the proposed credits are to be left subject to negotiation between the Export-Import Bank and the individual governments involved. In the meantime, however, the rate of interest to be charged by the Export-Import Bank on long-term loans [Page 1404] to foreign governments will have been considered by the National Advisory Council and a decision presumably reached.

[Here follows discussion of the individual credits proposed for the countries named above.]

With respect to all of these proposed credits, the Export-Import Bank has naturally been conscious of the fact that these countries have some dollar resources of their own. Furthermore, some of them, notably the Netherlands and the Netherlands East Indies, enjoy a potentially high credit standing in the eyes of private investors. The Bank subscribes to the view, however, that it would be unwise for these countries to draw too heavily upon their own resources until their total needs can be more definitely ascertained and has been particularly mindful of the danger involved in forcing them, because of heavy drains upon their gold and dollar resources, to adopt or maintain trade and exchange restrictions which the United States is seeking by every means to eliminate. Moreover, the Bank has satisfied itself that none of the countries in question can quickly obtain funds in substantial amounts in the private market on reasonable terms.

Leo T. Crowley