740.00119 EW/1–1248

The British Embassy to the Department of State

Reciprocal Deliveries

In the view of His Majesty’s Government it cannot rightly be suggested that the Russians have failed hitherto to meet their obligations in connection with reciprocal deliveries. Until September, 1947, delay was due to the length of the discussions in Berlin as to the basis of calculating the Russian obligation and as to the other terms under which deliveries should be made. Certain fundamental differences still in fact remain. But in September last the Russians offered to begin deliveries on a provisional basis, without prejudice to the principles which should govern deliveries in the future. The Russians named the commodities they were prepared to supply, and for three months thereafter they pressed for a decision. The Western Zone Commanders had to consult I.A.R.A., and a reply rejecting the synthetic rubber which the Russians had offered was not received until the latter part of November. It was not until the middle of December that the matter was settled and the Russians’ offer definitely accepted, delivery periods, quantities, and consignment instructions above being finally agreed. The Russians proposed to complete deliveries of the first instalment [Page 706] within sixty days from 20th December. As a result of a last minute administrative hitch, to which the late decision of the Western Powers no doubt contributed, the Russians asked for one month’s postponement. Deliveries will now begin towards the end of January. We understand that the Control Commission in Berlin is satisfied as to the good faith of the Russians in this matter, and the British Element inform us that this postponement is not, in their opinion, a tactical delay.

The commodities which have been accepted for the first instalment are as follows:

Wheat 10,000 tons
Petroleum 3,000 tons
Diesel Oil 5,000 tons
Pitprops 15,000 cubic metres
Uncut Timber 25,000 cubic metres

These have been allocated by I.A.R.A. to the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Egypt and India. Each of the three Zone Commanders in Western Germany will receive consignments of these commodities for onward despatch to the recipient nations in accordance with the I.A.R.A. allocations. We propose to leave the United Kingdom share of Wheat (1,709 tons), Petroleum (900 tons) and Diesel Oil (1,332 tons) in the British Zone.