840.50 UNRRA/4–2347

The Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Thorp) to the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives (Eaton)

My Dear Dr. Eaton: In response to your request I am indicating below our answers to certain questions regarding the proposed post-UNRRA relief program.

Question: What will be the agency set up in any Government Department or independently for the purpose of administering this relief, and who will be appointed to be the administrator?

Answer: It would be our intention to appoint a relief director in Europe who will supervise the relief program. We believe that the most important and critical function in connection with the proposed program is the supervision of the distribution of our relief supplies and the enforcement of the undertakings which would be required of the countries receiving relief. This can most effectively be done in Europe rather than from Washington. It is planned to recommend that Mr. Richard F. Allen be appointed to this position. He was in charge of Red Cross relief activities in Europe after the first World War and during the second World War was Vice Chairman of the American Red Cross in charge of all its activities in Europe. Mr. Allen would receive his instructions from the Secretary of State. A relief mission consisting of well-qualified American citizens would be established in each country receiving our help. These missions would work closely with our Embassy and would function under the general supervision of the relief director.1

In Washington the Department of Agriculture, the Federal Bureau of Supply and other agencies would perform the procurement, [Page 1037] supply and shipping functions which they are properly equipped to handle. The programming of supplies and the coordination of the activities of these agencies would be done by a staff under the direction of the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Mr. William L. Clayton.

Question: What will be our policy regarding relief grants to countries, the governments of which are not in our opinion representative and democratic, or have not been elected in elections held pursuant to applicable international agreements?

Answer: It would be our policy to offer to help in preventing suffering and serious malnutrition in such a country to the extent that our assistance is clearly needed for this purpose. We have subscribed to the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations which states the principle that at no time should relief supplies be used as a political weapon and calls upon all members of the United Nations to assist in the furnishing of relief when needed and where needed. Our help would be made available only on the condition that the government of the country agrees to the stringent but fair conditions specified in the Bill and lives up to these conditions faithfully. These are calculated to provide adequate assurance that relief aid would reach the people needing it and would not be used to promote the political aims of the Government. Furthermore, the requirements for full publicity in the country would ensure that the people would know the American source of the help and would understand its purposes. Our estimates indicate that Poland is the only such country which may need relief from us.2

Question: Is it intended that the amounts authorized in the Bill will be adequate to take care of the relief need of the countries assisted through to the end of the crop year 1948?

Answer: The amount requested is to assist in meeting the estimated relief needs for the calendar year 1947. In the actual operation of the program, some shipments may slip over into the first few months of 1948. With the possible exception of Austria we do not anticipate that further relief will be necessary unless disastrous crop failures or other unforeseen events occur.

Question: What measures will be taken to see that each country receiving relief assistance does everything possible to help itself and reduce its needs for relief as soon as possible through utilization of its own resources and the work of its own population?

Answer: The Bill requires that any country receiving relief must exert all possible efforts to speed its own recovery. It further provides [Page 1038] that our relief shall be terminated if we are not satisfied that this is being done. We should keep a close check on the activities of the countries in this regard.

Question: What assurances or expectations do we have of assistance to the countries to be benefited from other countries than our own as contemplated by the program?

Answer: The British have announced a program of $40,000,000 in aid to Austria. The Norwegian Parliament has voted the equivalent of $3,000,000. Denmark is making available the equivalent of $4,000,000. New Zealand has stated its intention to make available some meat and other commodities. On the basis of consultations which have been conducted with other countries, we believe that additional contributions will be forthcoming if favorable action is taken by the United States, since some countries are waiting to see what action we take.

Sincerely yours,

Willard L. Thorp
  1. Such a field organization was set up and functioning in the capitals of the receiving countries by the early summer of 1947. It may be noted parenthetically that these same field missions were later utilized to launch aid operations related to the beginning of the European Recovery Program.
  2. It was subsequently found by U.S. survey teams that Poland and Hungary were not in need of relief assistance in order to prevent suffering and malnutrition.