412. Letter From the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness (Lincoln) to Secretary of the Treasury Kennedy 1

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am writing to ask you to give further consideration to the possibility of licensing imports of nickel for defense rated orders from the Le Havre plant of Societe Le Nickel (SLN), which Deputy Director Russell of OEP has discussed with Treasury officers. You wrote me on September 24 about this and other proposals to open up additional sources of nickel during this period of critical shortage.2 You indicated that you had asked the Department of State to explore the situation with SLN, and suggested that the question of importation from SLN for defense orders then be considered in the National Security Council.

In the interim, I have had an exchange of letters with the Department of State (copies enclosed) about this proposal. Assistant Secretary of State Trezise endorsed the proposal. He has suggested that SLN [Page 1021]be asked for assurance that the material does not come from Cuba, and that the French Government be asked to so certify.3

As I understand it, this procedure would probably eliminate the need for issuing licenses. OEP is prepared, if you agree, to stimulate orders to SLN by defense producers, or applications for licenses if they are required.

The request in this letter is a separate matter from consideration of releases from the stockpile. It is an action I hope we can take under any future developments in the nickel strike situation, since the US will be short of nickel for at least six months after the strike is settled. Hence, I do question that National Security Council consideration is required of the proposal in this letter. I do defer in this, however, to Dr. Kissinger.

As I did with my letter of October 10, I am sending information copies of this letter to the others concerned, who in this case are the Secretaries of Commerce and Defense, Assistant Secretary of State Trezise, and Messrs. Flanigan and Kissinger.

Will you please let me know your reaction.

Sincerely,

G.A. Lincoln
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, Department of the Treasury, Secretary’s Memos/Correspondence: FRC 56 74 A 7, Classified OEP 1969. Confidential. Attached to Document 414.
  2. Document 406.
  3. Attached are Lincoln’s October 10 letter to Secretary Rogers and Trezise’s October 17 letter to Lincoln in reply, neither printed. Trezise also noted that there were intense nickel shortages in Europe, and the French were operating an export control program.