851.61311/8–2947: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in France
top secret

3304. In light reports from Paris and Moscow likelihood Soviet offer grain to France at politically propitious moment and suggestions Moscow’s 2741,1 Department planning moves to anticipate such offer. Your comments and additional suggestions requested.

General outline of plan follows: (1) Secretary or Under Secretary will make statement at Press Conference of our grave concern at natural disaster which has made French harvest worst in recent history and of efforts which we are making and will continue to make to alleviate to the greatest degree possible its consequences in light exportable grain surpluses which are expected to be available from this country. He will note that while crop conditions are bad in western Europe, the reverse is generally true in eastern Europe and this led IEFC to estimate that USSR would export two million tons grain in current crop year. He will add that our own estimates indicate even larger Soviet exportable surpluses. He will express hope that in this emergency USSR will share with us burden of feeding western Europe.

(2) OIE will use this statement through all media not only to bring out fact that USSR now enjoys significant exportable surplus but to review in some detail relative contributions US and USSR have made to feeding western Europe since liberation and timing of these contributions.

(3) Full background on US contributions will be supplied to American Press and to Embassy Paris with suggestions to Paris for full and continuing publicity re statistics, ship arrivals and possible ceremonies to be arranged in connection docking of vessel which brings total US shipments to particularly significant or impressive figures, etc., etc.

[Page 735]

Belief here that if in face this campaign USSR does not offer (or refuses possible French request for) grain, French Communists position will be weakened. If on the contrary Russian grain is offered, US will be in position to take credit for forcing this grain into open while comparative figures for USSR–US contributions will weigh heavily in our favor, whether Russian offer is large or small.

Sent Paris as 3304; Repeated Moscow as 1678.

  1. Not printed.