Page images

It is suggested that you explain the situation as outlined above to the Egyptian Government and pass on our suggestion regarding the utilization of the facilities of the British Purchasing Commission, suggesting at the same time that the way to effect this arrangement would be to have the Egyptian Government approach the British Government.


The Commercial Counselor of the Egyptian Legation supplied the Department yesterday with the list of commodities referred to in the Department's 148. The specifications set forth in this list as regards the particular commodities are too general to serve as the basis for placing orders with American producers and manufacturers, and in many instances also too general to permit decision by the American Government as regards priorities. For example, it is not enough to know that Egypt desires to buy plates, rods, et cetera, of aluminum alloys. The Egyptian representative must be in a position to specify precisely what sizes, kinds, and other technical descriptions are required, and also what substitute articles might fill the need if aluminum is not available. A summary of this cable is being given to the Egyptian Minister in Washington.


883.77/58: Telegram

The Minister in Egypt (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

CAIRO, June 16, 1941-4 p. m. [Received June 17-11: 02 a. m.]

737. For Feis. With the arrival Ldyslaus, the Maritime Commission representative, we should shortly know where we stand as to port facilities for discharge of American ships but I am still much troubled by question of railroad facilities for transporting goods after unloading (see my 463, May 12, 10 a. m., paragraph 1). As provisions outlined in your 174, May 26, 7 p. m., may be slow in results and as matter is extremely urgent if we want to make immediately available supplies sent to Middle [East?], I am wondering if, on the basis of the American interests involved, you could not cause an approach to be made to the Government of the Union of South Africa as the nearest neighbor to Egypt [to?] make a proposition to the Egyptian Government for the immediate supply of railway transportation experts as well as some rolling stock which we might subsequently replace to the Union with our own products. In this way it might be possible to institute a speedy improvement in the efficiency of the Egyptian railways which would serve our purpose in the present emergency.


"Not found in Department files.

883.24/13: Telegram

The Minister in Egypt (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

CAIRO, June 17, 1941-noon. [Received June 19-9:24 a. m.]

744. Department's 174, May 26, 7 p. m., penultimate paragraph. Egyptian Government has been unable so far to furnish information regarding commodities in its priority list in sufficient detail to serve as basis for placing orders with producers and its present basis to leave the procurement of these commodities to the usual commercial channels. It has, however, supplied the Legation with its estimates in metric tons of the minimum requirements from the United States during the next year of the commodities named in its priority list as contained in the Legation's 571, May 23, 3 p. m. as follows:

Chemical fertilizers 300,000, medicine and medicinal preparations 5,000, chemical agricultural insecticides 1,000, chemicals and products for photography and fumigation 180, lubricating oils 26,400, caustic soda 4,000, fatty substances and greases 16,000, tanning substances 2,500, artificial indigo 80, coal tar dyes 320, cables, ropes, copper wires not insulated 360, nails and galvanized wires for nails, bolts and cants 6,000, spare parts for motor cars and agricultural machines 2,500, rubber and manufactures thereof 2,000, newsprint and magazine paper 4,800, cigarette paper 400, packing paper 8,000, machine belts 16, motorcars and motorlorries courthouse [sic] and iron bars 12,000, sheets of steel or iron 20,000, pipes 4,000, boilers 260, pumps 200, engines, stationary steam or internal combustion 2,000, tractors 600, generators, motors, electric, 800, hoops, iron or steel, 9,000, structural iron or steel 4,000, copper and brass and manufactures thereof 400, manufactured sheet iron or steel 800, timber 80,000.


841.24/595: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Johnson) to the Secretary

of State

LONDON, June 20, 1941-9 p. m. [Received June 20-3:54 p. m.]


2572. For Hopkins 48 from Harriman " Office. Referring to carriage by Middle East truck ships of other cargo obtained on lendlease terms for ultimate civilian consumption in Egypt or other


Harry L. Hopkins, Special Assistant to President Roosevelt, with primary responsibility at this time for Lend-Lease affairs.

W. Averell Harriman, Special Representative of President Roosevelt in the United Kingdom, with rank of Minister, responsible for expediting lend-lease aid to the British Empire; at this time on a special mission to the Middle East.

Middle Eastern countries, British have instructed the Chairman of their Middle East supply center at Cairo to consult Harriman. From information given us it is apparent that he is having difficulty in complying with section 4 of the Act. We have had no instructions from you on the subject but understand from British that, as a practical matter and without commitment, the United States Government will not object to distribution through ordinary commercial channels, at least in the United Kingdom, where the British Government retains control of price and conditions of sale. We presume that if this advice be correct, you would apply the same rule to Egyptian and other Middle Eastern Governments, but we are advised that throughout that region further special difficulty arises that governments have no machinery comparable to control. We would appreciate guidance from you on these questions. [Harriman Office.]



Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Adviser on International Economic Affairs (Stinebower)

Participants: The Egyptian Minister

[WASHINGTON,] June 21, 1941.

Mr. Anis Azer, Commercial Counselor, Egyptian

Mr. Feis

Mr. Stinebower

The Egyptian Minister and the Commercial Counselor came in to pursue further the question they had brought up with various officers of the Department some time ago regarding the facilitation of exports from the United States to Egypt of commodities of which Egypt has great and pressing need.

Mr. Feis began by referring to the suggestion which had been previously made both to the Commercial Counselor and to the American Legation in Cairo to the effect that the most satisfactory method of expediting delivery of goods would be for the Egyptian Government to request the British Government to instruct the British Purchasing Commission in this country to be of assistance to the Egyptian representatives, and that in addition the Egyptian Government send technically qualified representatives to this country with specific and detailed knowledge of the commodities which it is desired to obtain. The Minister replied that he had been informed by Sir Arthur Salter and by Captain Coventry that the British Shipping Ministry and the British Purchasing Commission, respectively, have received

instructions from London to be of assistance, and that they have in a general way been of such assistance. Mr. Azer complained however that this assistance was always rendered primarily with a view to the British military needs and to Egyptian military needs strictly interpreted, and that it was difficult to get assistance on purchases which were not obviously directly related to war effort even though they might be indirectly related. Except for war equipment, shipping on the one hand was primarily administered with regard to the bulkiness of the articles required and it was possible to get shipping space allocated for articles in packages or bags that would "fit in" around other cargo whether the articles were directly related to war effort or not. As it had worked out, it frequently happened that if they could get assistance for purchasing they could not make satisfactory arrangements for shipping the products involved, whereas if they could get shipping allocation they would not get purchasing assistance. The question of shipping allocation was easing somewhat, though.

Mr. Feis referred to the latest list of Egyptian desiderata which had been received from the Legation at Cairo,50 and again pointed out that this was so lacking in specific detail that there seemed to be very little which this Government could do with such a list by way of helping to arrange for priorities or export licenses or finding manufacturers with available capacity for producing the desired commodities. He again stressed the need for technical experts from Egypt to work closely with the British Purchasing Commission.

The Minister agreed to go over the problem again and to get off a telegram to his Government recommending this course of procedure, perhaps discussing it with the Department before sending it.

Mr. Feis undertook to get off another telegram of instruction to the American Minister, and to show this to the Egyptian Minister before it was despatched.

841.24/595: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

WASHINGTON, June 25, 1941-midnight. 2294. From Hopkins. Your 2572 51 regarding shipments of articles for civilian consumption referred to your cable June 20th President consents to such methods of distribution as deemed most practicable by you. [Hopkins.]



See telegram No. 571, May 23, 3 p. m., from the Minister in Egypt, p. 306. 51 Dated June 20, 9 p. m., p. 309.

883.77/59: Telegram

The Minister in Egypt (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

CAIRO, August 16, 1941-6 p. m. [Received August 17-7: 10 a. m.]

1164. My 737, July [June] 16, 4 p. m. for Feis. Delighted to learn of orders placed for rolling stock for Egypt. Be sure not to forget necessity for sending transportation experts and the sooner the better. Greetings.



No. 46

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Egypt (Kirk)

WASHINGTON, September 5, 1941. SIR: Little progress has been made in solving the problem of American supplies for Egypt. This is due partly but by no means entirely to the difficulty encountered in getting the Egyptians to state their needs in terms specific enough to allow analysis in the light of our own defense needs as well as those of others we are helping. The list of requirements filed in May 52 by the Egyptian Commercial Counselor has been under examination by the proper government offices. The case for approval has been prejudiced by the absence of specific information as to exact types, sizes, and quantities of supplies wanted, by the lack of information as to the uses to which they would be put, and by failure to coordinate Egyptian needs with those of the British in Egypt.

In discussing the problem with the British it has developed that they, too, have been pressing the Egyptians for a proper authenticated list of Egypt's essential requirements. Moreover, it develops that a discussion of proper programming and allocation of Egypt's requirements to the best source of supply can be done, according to the British Supply Council, only through a single channel which they think should be the British Government. The Department is not informed about the views of the Egyptian government on this point.

The problem is more than a procedural one, however. It raises questions of financing which are directly related to the whole matter of financing the British war effort in the United States. While the Egyptian government's offer to pay cash for these supplies still holds, so far as the Department is aware, it is not impossible that a substitute proposal to acquire the supplies through lend-lease may be made. Egypt is part of the sterling area. If the British in their efforts to conserve dollar assets assume the function of allocating exchange to

52 Not found in Department files.

« PreviousContinue »