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SPECIAL ECONOMIC MISSION TO THE MIDDLE EAST, FOR THE RESTORATION OF TRADE TO COMMERCIAL CHANNELS
033.1151R/9–444 : Circular telegram The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Turkey (Steinhardt)
WASHINGTON, September 4, 1944–4 p. m. A special Mission has been organized to study questions affecting foreign economic and commercial policies of this Government in relation to certain areas of North Africa 1 and the Middle East. The Mission is under the sponsorship of the Department of State and has as its Chairman William S. Culbertson who has been given the personal rank of Ambassador. In addition to Culbertson, personnel includes Homer Fox and Frederick Winant of State, Eric Biddle, Bureau of the Budget, Ray Miller, Department of Commerce, and John L. Gillis, William L. Friedlaender, Victor Bowman, Richard C. Thompson, and Van Lear Woodward of the Foreign Economic Administration.
The Mission should arrive in Cairo early in September and later that month it is expected some of the members will leave Cairo to visit and make studies in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Palestine in the order mentioned.
The scope of the proposed inquiry includes not only immediate questions of facilitating and increasing exports from the area to the United States but also recommendations for longer range plans for the promotion of commercial exchange. The Department requests that you facilitate activities of the Mission and render such aid and support as may be required.
More detailed information concerning Culbertson Mission follows by air mail. Sent to Ankara, repeated to: Baghdad, Beirut, Jerusalem, Tehran and Cairo.
1 For documentation on the activities of this mission in North Africa, see vol. III, pp. 763 ff.
033.1151R/10-644: Telegram The Ambassador in Turkey (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State
ANKARA, October 6, 1944—noon.
[Received October 7–5:30 a. m.] 1912. The Turk authorities evidenced great interest in Ambassador Culbertson's visit to Ankara of a week's duration as it afforded them the opportunity to give evidence of their desire that trade between Turkey and the United States be returned to normal channels as soon as possible. The Minister of Commerce 2 gave a luncheon to which he invited nearly all Turkish officials and officers of the Embassy interested in trade and commercial matters. Culbertson had numerous conferences with many of these officials. I took him to call on the Prime Minister 3 and Foreign Minister 4 both of whom expressed the hope that his mission would result in liberalizing the restrictions and controls that are impeding the movement of trade between Turkey and the United States.
Prior to his departure from Ankara Culbertson completed and forwarded his report on Turkey which I regard as a sound résumé of the existing situation. The report concludes with a recommendation that no special economic mission for Turkey is necessary at this time.
033.1151R/11–1545 Mr. William S. Culbertson, Chairman, Special Economic Mission, to
the Secretary of State
CAIRO, November 15, 1944. MY DEAR MR. SECRETARY: I have the honor to submit the report of the Special Economic Mission to the Middle East. The members
Celal Sait Siren. Şükrü Saracoğlu. * Hasan Saka. 5 Not printed.
Not printed. The report itself consisted of a 32-page summary of general observations and recommendations; in addition, seven bulky annexes were attached.
The original intention of the Department was to have Ambassador Culbertson conduct discussions in London with the British Government, somewhat along the lines of his Paris talks, but these discussions never took place. There did occur, however, an informal exchange of views between Ambassador Culbertson and the British Ambassador (Halifax) at the Department on March 7, 1945, which Lord Halifax followed up on July 4, 1945, by transmitting to the Acting Secretary of State (Grew) an informal memorandum of comment by the British Foreign Office (033.1151R/12–144, 3–745, 7–445).
The report, with its wide range of subject matter relating to lend-lease, financial and exchange questions, oil concessions and air and water communications, became the basis for much of the thinking in the Departmental approach to many of these problems in the years immediately ahead.
of the Mission are William S. Culbertson, Chairman; Frederick Winant, Secretary; Homer S. Fox; R. C. Miller; Van Lear Woodward; John L. Gillis; William M. Friedlaender; Victor Bowman; Richard C. Thompson.
The instructions of the Mission are set forth in full in the first paragraphs of the report. In their overall effect they reflect the Government's purpose to restore commercial trade as rapidly as the exigencies of war permit on the basis of economic liberty without any inequality.
For two months the members of the Mission have studied, in conformity with the terms of these instructions, the procedures, practices and policies affecting economic life within the area of the Middle East Supply Center. The report, submitted herewith, gives some idea of the diversity of the Mission's activities. It would seem proper, however, for me to point out other and less obvious phases of the Mission's accomplishments. In the first place, the members of the Mission have acquired information and experience which upon their return home may be utilized in conference and in advice by both government and business. In the second place and more important, the serious and constructive approach of the members of the Mission to their work has left a deep and favorable impression throughout the Middle East. In Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt they met socially and for conferences with both officials and private citizens. The resulting constant exchange of views has left behind appreciation and understanding which, if followed up by both government and business, will have helped substantially to build America's economic future in this region. Very respectfully yours,
WILLIAM S. CULBERTSON REPRESENTATIONS TO THE UNITED KINGDOM, LEADING TO A RELAXATION OF THE IMPORT CONTROLS ADMINISTERED BY THE MIDDLE EAST SUPPLY CENTER
The Department of State to the British Embassy
The United States Government has been cognizant of the services to the war rendered by the Middle East Supply Center and has been appreciative of the opportunity accorded to it by the British Government of cooperating in the administration of that Center.
In the days when shipping was extremely scarce and supply difficulties beset both Governments, the Center conserved such shipping as was available to meet the essential needs of the Middle East. It also provided means whereby limited amounts of available goods could be equitably distributed and so best meet the needs of the populations of that area. In that enterprise the two Governments worked effectively together.
The British Government is, of course, aware that these earlier conditions have changed and will continue to change with accelerated rapidity as the progress of the war in Europe proves steadily more favorable. Civilian supply has eased in a multitude of commodities, and limitations upon the production of goods for civilian end-use are being rapidly eliminated. The shipping situation shows signs of constant improvement as the supply of ships increases and the danger of the submarine menace diminishes.
In these circumstances, the United States Government believes that it is no longer necessary to maintain the extensive system of import controls developed by the Middle East Supply Center for that territory. It proposes, however, to continue that system with reference to a select list of commodities in very short supply, where the necessity for equitable and controlled distribution requires resort to territorial
1 The Middle East Supply Center was an organization initially established by the British Government in April, 1941, under the stress of the growing crisis in shipping, to assume the task of planning and maintaining a supply of civilian goods for the populations of the Near and Middle East; the agency was partly civilian and partly military in composition, and was controlled by the British Ministry of Shipping at London. For correspondence concerning decision by the United States in 1942 to participate in the Middle East Supply Center, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. IV, pp. 1 ff. 554-184—65-4
import licensing coordinated by the operations of the Middle East Supply Center. It believes, however, that import licensing of this character is no longer required for most of the commodities involved. With reference to these, such supply and shipping considerations that are relevant to their export from the United States can be given due consideration by simple export or shipping controls administered through the appropriate agencies in the United States.
The foregoing does not mean that the United States Government seeks to withdraw from the cooperative effort which has worked to such excellent advantage in the Middle East. The Center will still be the implement for such joint action as may be required with reference to those commodities which continue to be in very short supply during such period as may be considered necessary as a result of the existing emergency and the abnormal supply situation arising therefrom. It is suggested also that the United States Government and the British Government give consideration to the desirability of continuing to assist, through appropriate instrumentalities, in the promotion of the development of agricultural and industrial production in the Middle East, particularly in view of the developing regionalism of that area.
The details of the program referred to above have been carefully worked out by the appropriate agencies of the United States Government. Consultation on these details will be desirable, so as to make clear to the British Government the nature of the controls which the United States Government will continue to maintain and those it will relax. Mr. Landis, the American Director of Economic Operations to the Middle East, is familiar with these matters. He hopes to proceed shortly to London, and thence to Cairo, there to work out such details as may be necessary to put into operation the policies of the United States described above.2
WASHINGTON, September 28, 1944.
* For text of press release of December 31, 1944, concerning relaxation of the import controls administered by the Middle East Supply Center, effective January 1, 1945, see Department of State Bulletin, December 31, 1944, p. 846. Agreement to relax controls was reached in London on October 18 by James M. Landis, principal American civilian representative at the Middle East Supply Center, in an exchange with the appropriate British authorities (800.24/10–1944, 10-2744).