840.50 Recovery/12–447

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State 1

Telmar 35. For Secretary Marshall from Lovett. This is hasty report on present situation regarding interim aid.

The Senate has reported the bill out in full amount and in acceptable form. The House Foreign Affairs Committee reported the bill out at 590 millions, but injected China as one of recipients for 60 million dollars. This therefore represents a reduction of 67 million dollars for the purposes initially covered by the bill. The bill is now on the floor and is being heavily attacked by many members of Congress, notably Congressmen Halleck, Brown, etc., and with defense coming from Bloom, Cox, Vorys, Jackson and others.

Senate Appropriations Committee hearings have been conducted all week with Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, farm groups, etc., appearing through Wednesday. State Department went up this morning. Session devoted almost entirely to attacks on lend-lease shipments to Russia, Communism, grain shortage, past relief abuses, German plant dismantling and reparations deliveries, and German currency system. While no direct attack was made on sin, I judge the Committee omitted that feeling that the Department of State was an adequate substitute.

While the ride was rough, it could have been worse and probably will be when I go back tomorrow. The only incident of any real note occurred [Page 483] in connection with discussion of protection to this country against the continuance of relief aid where the recipient country falls under the control of Communists. This protection is, in our opinion, contained in a mandatory Section 7, Subdivision (b), which provides that the President shall promptly terminate the provision of assistance for any country whenever he finds (b) “by reason of changed conditions, that the provision of assistance authorized by this act is no longer necessary or desirable”. Committee wanted to nail this down tight by a specific directive, which I endeavored to persuade them not to do although it was difficult in view of open hearings which prevented any reference UN Resolution of last December.2 Bridges3 was particularly insistent in line of question, having indicated off the record that he felt Department could not be relied on in such matters, citing lend-lease again. He then asked on the record for a “direct answer” on U.S. relief policies if these countries “fall under Communist control”. I pointed out that Section 7, in those circumstances and in our opinion, would give the President the right to determine whether aid should be promptly terminated. Bridges stated that he wanted an answer as to what the State Department would do. I then replied, according to wire service report, which seems substantially accurate, “I am not in a position to speak for the Secretary of State. In his absence, if I must give a direct answer, it is that I would recommend to the President and his advisers that aid to such countries be stopped if those countries fell under Communist control”. While I would like to have avoided the question, it seemed absolutely necessary to meet the situation frankly and the result in the Committee was to stop that line of questioning. The comment may be used for propaganda purposes by the Communists but, as it conforms to the post-UNRRA relief action taken by the Congress in July4 and is in accord with the National Security Council papers and the opinion of the Department, it seemed better to be frank and decisive rather than to have the line of questioning expanded into an elaborate series of charges by the Appropriations Committee, which probably knew that in executive session the same general answer was given to the Foreign Relations Committee in connection with the Section under discussion.

[Page 484]

New Subject. House Appropriations Committee hearings are scheduled for Monday and I had long work-out with Chairman Taber yesterday morning. He has indicated he does not wish anyone else from the Department to appear before his Committee and states that, if the grain figures hold up under examination, he would hope to have the bill in some form through his Committee by the next night.

New Subject. European recovery program now being completed, with President’s message in draft form. On present schedule it is likely to be sent up probably December 10. Strategic materials aspect, with particular reference one item, will be covered by separate cable to you. I am appearing before Hickenlooper’s Joint Committee tomorrow morning in endeavor to proceed with negotiations.

New Subject. We are still in business. Best regards.

  1. Secretary Marshall was in London attending the Fifth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, November 25–December 15, 1947.
  2. Reference here presumably is to Resolution 48(1) Relief Needs after the Termination of UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration), United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, Second Part, Resolutions Adopted by the General Assembly during the Second Part of the First Session, pp. 74–76.
  3. Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire.
  4. Reference is presumably to Public Law 271, The Supplemental Appropriation Act, 1948, approved July 30, 1947; 61 Stat. 612. See also Public Law 164, approved July 8, 1947 (ibid., 260), which made certain provisions for liquidation of activities undertaken prior to June 30, 1947, in connection with participation of the United States in the work of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.