Memorandum by the Secretary of the Treasury ( Vinson ) to President Truman

Attached is a recommendation of the National Advisory Council to provide immediate financial assistance to Italy.42 The recommendation is to advance to Italy the dollars now available in the Treasury which correspond to the United States military procurement expenditures in lira currency in Italy. The advance of these funds to Italy would be a voluntary and generous action on our part, since payment for lira currency used by our forces is not required by the Armistice. This action will not affect our right to claim occupation costs from Italy in the peace treaty. President Roosevelt took similar action on October 10, 1944, when he advanced to Italy the dollars corresponding to the net pay expenditures in lira currency of our troops in Italy.
If you approve this recommendation, the transfer of dollars will be effected according to procedures established with the Comptroller General and the action will be discussed with the appropriate committees of the Congress.
Of the $100 million financial aid involved in this recommendation, $50 million will be available immediately and the remainder by September of this year. The amount of this aid is far less than the minimum estimate of Italy’s balance of payments deficit for the remainder of 1946 even after consideration of the total UNRRA program for Italy.
The extension of financial aid to Italy is of particular and urgent importance at this time. The State Department has urged, and the Council concurred, that some assistance be granted now in view of the critical political and economic situation developing in Italy. Furthermore, this action will assist in attaining U.S. objectives in the current peace treaty negotiations with our Allies.
Fred M. Vinson
  1. The attached memorandum, dated April 24, is identical with the draft memorandum which is printed in brackets in the National Advisory Council’s minutes of April 19, supra. The memorandum submitted to the President bears the notation, “Approved: 4/26/46 Harry S. Truman The White House”.