800.48/3–347: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Austria (Erhardt)12

144. President has requested $350 million for foreign relief13 to consist largely of basic essentials primarily food. At public hearing [Page 1298] before House Foreign Relations [Affairs] Com Clayton testified14 Austria, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Poland appeared to need further relief following UNRRA. Indicated also China might need free food imports to prevent serious situation later in year in certain areas. Total needs all countries $610 million. Hoped other contributors would make up balance and indicated desirability of not earmarking definite amounts for particular countries at this time in order permit integration our program with that of other contributors and adjust to changing needs in future.

In secret document given Com members15 Dept indicated its present estimates by countries of $610 million total need based on difference between minimum imports and resources available for their procurement as follows: (in millions of dollars) Austria, 148; Greece 56; Hungary 40; Italy 158; Poland 128; Trieste 20 (on tentative basis). In China total emergency food imports were estimated at $60 million.

As stated in public hearing US relief would be confined to few basic essentials primarily food. Depending upon Congressional action expected that shipments will start about May 1st and continue until end 1947. Clayton stated did not believe further relief would be necessary with possible exception Austria. General reaction Com appeared favorable, all members expressing great interest in controls which would be instituted to protect integrity of operation. Dept proposes following plan of operation:

Agreeements would be concluded with recipient govt providing, (a) Our purpose in providing relief for general benefit of all people in country to prevent suffering and permit further efforts toward recovery; (b) Procurement restricted to types and quantities approved by US. Dept would approve from time to time target programs for say 3 month periods authorizing procurement of given types and quantities of supplies; (c) Receiving country would supply current reports of procurement and shipping activities including copies contracts and other documents. Dept would from time to time advance cash to be used by procuring country in meeting current obligations; (d) Distribution of supplies to be through regular channels in country with special provision for meeting needs of indigents; (e) Local proceeds arising from sale of supplies to be deposited in special account and used for jointly agreed relief and rehabilitation programs within country including relief for indigent. Would also be available for small local costs of US in supervising program. (f) Country to maintain fair and effective rationing and price control [Page 1299] system and distribute without discrimination relief supplies whether US, produced locally or imported from other sources. Country not to divert such supplies to non-essential uses or for export, (g) Recipient govt to maintain most effective possible procedure for collecting local crops, (h) Recipient govt to provide reports covering arrival US supplies, allocation of supplies through commercial or other channels, use of supplies for free distribution, current inventories and forecasts of availability of local supplies. (i) Right of US representatives to be free to observe and report on all operations with full cooperation of local govt, (j) Representatives of US press and radio to be given complete freedom observe and report on relief distribution, (k) Recipient govt to cooperate fully in providing adequate publicity regarding arrival and distribution US supplies and utilization local funds accruing from their sale. (l) US reserves right to stop or adjust program at any time for any reason.

It is planned to attach small staff consisting relief adviser, 3 or 4 observers and clerical help to Emb for observing distribution supplies, approving use local proceeds, obtaining full reports on operations and in conjunction with other officers in Emb submitting reports to Dept re economic and supply conditions within the country which might affect need for future shipments. In addition one man representing State Dept will travel from country to country advising with Emb and staff concerning relief programs and providing coordination between staff in Dept and in field re relief matters. Dept consulting with missions concerned about possible procurement and shipping arrangements and will keep you informed re progress discussions.

Ur comments concerning proposed program and suggestions as to modification or amplification of any points listed above with any pertinent background info urgently desired by Dept to be used for developing further plans.

  1. Repeated to the Ambassador in China as No. 255.
  2. In a message to Congress, February 21; Department of State Bulletin, March 2, 1947, p. 395.
  3. See Relief Assistance to Countries Devastated by War: Hearings on February 25 and 26, 80th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 1–52. Mr. Clayton’s prepared statement also printed in Department of State Bulletin, March 9, 1947, p. 440.
  4. Not found in Department files.