The Chief of the Division of International Resources (Kennedy) to the Director of the Office of Requirements, Department of Agriculture (FitzGerald)

My Dear Mr. FitzGerald: Data relating to Japanese food requirements in general and the State Department’s analysis of these data have been examined by representatives of the Departments of State, War, and Agriculture. There is general agreement that the food situation in Japan will be extremely serious in the spring and summer. More specifically, there is agreement that the State Department’s estimate of 800 calories per day from indigenous resources for non-farm population during the crop year 1945–1946 is not unreasonable. The range of error, however, might be plus or minus 200 calories, which is somewhat greater than the error in estimates for western European countries. There is less certainty about the estimates of the rate of current consumption on the basis of which the State Department estimates, and the Army agrees that sometime in April indigenous supplies for non-farm population will be largely exhausted. However, there is complete agreement that the daily indigenous availability for urban consumers will dwindle during the coming months.

The Department of Agriculture believes that the exact date on which a drastic cut in rations will be necessary cannot be established sufficiently clearly from available data for final allocation purposes. All participants agreed that we can and should get more exact information. Conditions in the theatre, however, may postpone the receipt of such information for three weeks. Representatives of the Department [Page 150] of Agriculture feel that a better estimate can be made of the date of exhaustion of indigenous stocks available for rationing, and of the absolute minimum needs if the theatre furnishes up to date estimates on stocks, probably four months collections of indigenous supplies and quantities required to maintain ration levels. The State and War Departments have agreed to expedite such a request. In the meantime, the Cabinet must consider the consequences indicated for the occupied areas if the present programming continues unchanged.

The Department of State, on the basis of its review of the data and its discussions with the Departments of War and Agriculture, feels that its analyses are sufficiently reliable to portray the seriousness of the situation and to serve as a basis for general policy determination. It recommends that of whatever amount the Cabinet tentatively decides can go to Japan in the next four months (a total which will be unavoidably small and well below the most conservatively estimated requirements), a proportionate share be scheduled for shipment in March. This would be without prejudice to adjustments agreed to on the basis of more complete data.

Sincerely yours,

Donald D. Kennedy