Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Clayton) to the Secretary of State

Ambassador Bonnet30 called this morning and left with me the enclosed note,31 in French, addressed to you advising of the departure of Monsieur Léon Blum from Paris to the United States on February 26, and adding that the French delegation, to assist Monsieur Blum in his negotiations here, should arrive in Washington on March 2.

The Ambassador stated that the difference between French import requirements and French exports for the year 1946 is estimated at a deficit of two billions of dollars, a portion of which France would be able to meet out of her own resources. Monsieur Blum wishes to discuss with us a loan from the United States to meet the remainder.

[Page 416]

The Ambassador stated that he had heard that the National Advisory Council will soon make a report to the President regarding loans already made by this Government to foreign governments and making recommendations as to future loans.32 He added that he hoped very much that no publication regarding this report would be made during Monsieur Blum’s visit which would be embarrassing in his negotiations here. I stated to Monsieur Bonnet that I did not believe that any report or recommendations giving detailed figures regarding future loans would be published. Monsieur Bonnet said that any publication which said that the British loan is regarded by the Administration as being in a special class, and that other loans of that type would not be made, might be embarrassing. I pointed out to Monsieur Bonnet that the Administration had already stated that the British loan is unique, but called his attention to the fact that the Export-Import Bank is making loans and still has two billion dollars uncommitted, and that there is no reason why the Bank could not ask for additional lending power if it should be decided to do so. But, of course, as Monsieur Bonnet understood, the Bank had applications for loans from many countries. I had already made clear to Monsieur Bonnet on a previous visit about ten days ago, when he spoke of a loan of two billion dollars, that no such sum will be available to France; that we had already loaned one billion dollars to France to finance her purchases in this country under the Lend-Lease Agreement, and that so far as loans for reconstruction were concerned, the International Bank is being organized for that purpose and should be ready for operation at the end of this year or the early part of 1947.

Monsieur Bonnet stated that Monsieur Blum would like to see the President and the Secretary of State within a few days after his arrival, and I told him that I was sure you would be glad to arrange this.

W. L. Clayton
  1. M. Henri Bonnet, French Ambassador.
  2. Not printed.
  3. President Truman sent a message to the Congress on March 1, 1946, transmitting a document containing recommendations on foreign loan policy prepared by the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Problems. For texts of the message and document, see Department of State Bulletin, March 10, 1946, pp. 380–385.