Editorial Note

In. 1946 the world food shortage, centering mainly in Europe and Asia, and threatening to reach famine proportions, received constant attention throughout the year from United States policy-makers at the highest level. As the program of help evolved by this Government was geared to measures to make more food available for export to deficit areas, particularly bread grains, and as this effort came to center especially on organizational matters related to the collection and transportation of wheat to the seaports and then to transoceanic destinations, the major focus of United States action was domestic rather than external.

This domestic United States effort was accompanied however by two important exchanges between the United States and the United Kingdom outside the normal diplomatic channels, in which the President of the United States figured prominently. In the first, in January and February 1946 a series of messages passed between President Truman and Prime Minister Attlee of the United Kingdom, and the essential result was the galvanizing into action of the Executive Branch of the United States Government to meet a rapidly worsening food situation in Europe and Asia that threatened starvation in some areas. The events of this phase are documented or recounted in Memoirs of Harry S. Truman (volume I) Year of Decisions (Garden City, New York, Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1955) and Francis Williams, A Prime Minister Remembers. The War and Post-War Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Earl Attlee (London, William Heinemann, 1961).

Documentation follows on the second phase of United States-United Kingdom consultation, which occurred in May when Mr. Herbert Morrison, Lord President of the Council in the British Government, came to Washington for conferences with President Truman and leading members of the Government. The Canadian Government was also involved in this phase with respect to decisions made concerning the Combined Food Board.