Editorial Note

The principal use that was made during the latter half of 1945 of the increased lending power granted by the Congress to the Export-Import Bank in the Act of July 31, 1945 was to finance the extension of credits to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands for the purchase of American products and services for which requisitions had been filed and approved before September 2, 1945 under lend-lease arrangements but which had not been contracted for by that date. These loans involved the establishment of lines of credit in the amounts of $550 million for France, $50 million for Belgium, and $55 million for the Netherlands. In its First Semiannual Report to Congress in January 1946 (page 17) the Export-Import Bank said of this situation: “Because of the sudden end of the war and the termination of lend-lease which followed shortly thereafter, the drain on the resources of the bank for this purpose was much larger than had been anticipated. The lend-lease credits extended by the bank thus necessitated the use of funds which it had been believed would be available for other purposes.” (That is, general reconstruction loans.)

[Page 1411]

It has been noted that this financial stringency was anticipated in President Truman’s special message to the Congress on September 6, 1945 (see footnote 21, page 1405). On October 4, 1945 the President in a letter to the Secretary of State assigned primary responsibility to the Department of State for implementing a legislative program to win Congressional approval for a further increase in the lending power of the Export-Import Bank. In a memorandum to President Truman on October 11, 1945 Secretary Byrnes informed the President that

“The National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Problems is preparing an overall estimate of credit requirements of foreign countries and a recommendation regarding additional lending authority which the Export-Import Bank would require to handle that share which this Government should undertake to fill. When this has been completed we shall present for your consideration a specific program of additional legislation.” (811.032/10–445)

The Secretary of State reported to the President in follow-up memoranda on November 2 and November 28, 1945 that this survey and study was continuing. (Relevant documentation cited here is found in the 811.032 file.)