811.20 Defense(M)/2–349

The Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Thorp) to the Director of the Staff of the Munitions Board (Lutes)

My Dear General Lutes: I refer to a letter of February 3, 1949 which you addressed to the Secretary of State1 and in which you requested a statement of the programs and actions being carried on by the Department of State with respect to stockpiling and an agenda of the policy and program issues which the Department will be taking up in the near future.

The stockpile program is associated with foreign relations and foreign policy in numerous and varied ways. The activities of the Department of State which relate to stockpiling occur principally in connection with the conduct of negotiations with foreign governments and the participation by the Department in interagency organizations concerned with the stockpile program. The Department undertakes programs and actions relating to stockpiling in the course of interdepartmental action, or as a result of interdepartmental consultation, or as an assistance to programs undertaken by other departments or agencies.

The Secretary of State is a member of the National Security Resources Board, and the Department of State participates in the Interagency Staff Group of the National Security Resources Board. The Department also provides the Chairman of the Strategic Materials Working Group. This is a subcommittee of the Executive Committee on Economic Foreign Policy and was established by interagency agreement in response to a suggestion of the Chairman of the Munitions Board in April 1948. This Working Group considers problems of access to, and availability of, strategic materials of foreign origin and submits recommendations to appropriate agencies in connection with procurement for the stockpile.

The Department is represented on the Strategic and Critical Materials Committee which makes recommendations to the Munitions Board concerning stockpiling; and also participates in the Advisory Committee on Requirements which makes recommendations to the Department of Commerce and has on occasion undertaken consideration of problems related to stockpiling progress. The Department is represented on the Manganese and Chrome Task Group, the Interdepartmental Manganese Coordination Committee, and the Manganese Stockpile Committee.

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In addition to participating in continuing interdepartmental organizations concerned with stockpiling, the Department has a continuing program of close consultation and collaboration with the departments and agencies whose activities related to stockpiling involve considerations of foreign policy or foreign relations. These activities pertain chiefly to the programs of the Munitions Board, Federal Bureau of Supply, Economic Cooperation Administration, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Export-Import Bank and the Departments of Commerce, Interior and Agriculture.

The Department conducts negotiations with foreign governments, or participates in such negotiations, for the purpose of facilitating production in other countries of materials needed for the stockpile and the transfer of such materials to the United States. The Department represents the United States, or participates in such representation, in a number of international organizations whose activities affect stockpiling progress. Such organizations include the International Emergency Food Committee, the International Rubber Study Group, the International Tin Study Group, and the Combined Tin Committee. The Department takes an active part in connection with multilateral intergovernmental arrangements which affect stockpiling, such as the proposed commodity agreement on tin, and in bilateral intergovernmental arrangements related to stockpiling. Some of the latter, as in connection with the procurement of manganese, involve negotiations with a number of foreign governments and include a variety of problems and considerations.

Through the Foreign Service Reporting System the Department makes available to interested agencies information of an economic and political nature which has a current bearing on stockpile progress. United States missions abroad are periodically informed regarding the status and progress of the stockpile. They are instructed to assist the stockpiling program by furnishing information concerning availabilities abroad and by arranging direct communication between foreign suppliers and United States procurement agencies. Recently four new minerals attaché posts were established to increase the coverage in this important field.

Additional detail can be supplied if it is desired with respect to specific programs or actions of the Department which relate to stockpiling. The views of the Department with respect to stockpile policy and program issues are presented currently through established arrangements for interdepartmental consultation as such views emerge in accordance with developments. At this time the Department has no agenda of such issues pending for future presentation but will continue to cooperate in all possible ways to promote stockpiling progress.

Sincerely yours,

Willard L. Thorp
  1. Not printed.