Department of State National Advisory Council Files

Memorandum by the Chairman of the National Advisory Council (Vinson) to President Truman 22


The Council has carefully considered the policies involved in the following proposed loans which have been approved in principle by the Export-Import Bank and submitted to the Council by the Chairman of the Bank: Belgium, $100 million; France, $550 million;23 Netherlands East Indies, $100 million; and U.S.S.R., $1 billion.

The loans proposed for Belgium, France and the Netherlands are closely related to the wind-up of lend-lease. Pursuant to your directive of August 17, 1945, Mr. Crowley is arranging lend-lease financing for lend-lease goods in the pipelines and in inventories abroad and on the seas on V–J Day. Export-Import Bank financing is proposed for some of the lend-lease goods which were under requisition but not in procurement on V–J Day. The amounts involved are (in millions of dollars):

Pipelines in U.S.
plus Inventories
Outside U.S
(Lend-Lease Financing)
Bank Financing
Belgium 45 55
France 280 (est.) 550
Netherlands 82 50

Export-Import Bank funds would be made available for requisitions on 3(c) terms, viz., 30 year at 2⅜%. This would give Belgium and the Netherlands the terms which, Mr. Crowley has informed us, were approved for France, as a result of your and Secretary Byrnes’ conversations with General DeGaulle.

The Congress was informed by you and by the Budget Director that a shift from lend-lease to Export-Import financing was contemplated for a portion of the lend-lease program. Through these and later statements to Congress by Mr. Crowley, the Congress was informed of this, use of Export-Import Bank funds.

The proposed loans for Belgium and the Netherlands include small [Page 1408] amounts for urgent capital goods which were not in the lend-lease programs. This is true of the whole amount of the Netherlands-Indies loan. It should be pointed out, however, that these loans are for only a small portion of the reconstruction goods needed by these countries from the United States.

These credits will assure the maintenance, on a cash-repayment basis, of the pipelines to Western Europe for a short crucial period. The goods involved would have been transferred under lend-lease if the war had continued. Preliminary negotiations indicate that similar arrangements for the U.K., U.S.S.R. and China can be made and thereby liquidate practically all the lend-lease pipelines. Since a portion of the goods are specialized, this solution will also reduce the size of our surplus problem.

The comparatively small amount of reconstruction financing involved in certain of the above loans is for urgently needed items, is tied in with the satisfactory arrangements for settling lend-lease and is backed by good assurances of repayment. Consideration of the major reconstruction needs of these countries will, however, be postponed until the Council has obtained the over-all picture of foreign financial requirements.

The Export-Import Bank loan to the Russians has, as noted above, been approved in principle by the Bank and been considered by the Council. You will recall that the Russians were invited to enter into negotiations for the amount indicated. Those negotiations should go forward and we will so inform the Bank if you approve.

Fred M. Vinson
  1. Marginal notation: “Approved 9/21/45 Harry S. Truman”. There is no record in the Council’s minutes of any prior discussion of this memorandum by the Council, although it is clear from the minutes of the third meeting of the Council on September 18, 1945 that a discussion with the President on the proposed loans was in the offing.
  2. A correction sheet circulated by the Council’s Secretary on October 1, 1945 directed that the words “Netherlands, $100 million” should be inserted immediately before the words “Netherlands East Indies”.