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Letter to Heads of War Agencies on the Economic Situation in the Liberated Countries of Northwest Europe.

May 22, 1945


Judge Rosenman's report of which you have a copy has pointed out the extremely serious economic situation in the liberated countries of Northwest Europe. The report confirms in strong terms the need for action on the part of this Government.

In brief the report points out the following:

(1) A dangerously low level of nutrition exists generally in these liberated countries except in the rural, food raising areas. The production of coal is not meeting even minimum requirements. The means of internal transportation by rail, canal and highway have suffered substantially from looting and destruction. What are left have been largely devoted to Allied military use. Ports have suffered extensive damage from bombing and demolition. Manufacturing has been paralyzed by destruction or damage, lack of raw materials, and inadequate plant maintenance.

(2) The needs of the liberated countries of Northwest Europe are grave--not only from a humanitarian point of view, but also because they necessarily involve many internal and international political considerations. To a great extent the future permanent peace of Europe depends upon the restoration of the economy of these liberated countries, including a reasonable standard of living and employment. United States economy, too, will be deeply affected unless these areas again resume their place in the international exchange of goods and services. A chaotic and hungry Europe is not fertile ground in which stable, democratic and friendly governments can be reared.

(3) Just as the United States has been the largest producer of the United Nations in wartime, so will it naturally be looked to as the principal source of civilian supplies for these countries.

It is the established policy of this Government to accept this responsibility as far as it is possible to do so.

As a matter of national policy, therefore, I request your agency to grant the priority necessary to meet the minimum civilian requirements of those of our Allies who have been ravaged by the enemy to the fullest extent that the successful prosecution of military operations and the maintenance of our essential domestic economy permit.

Very sincerely yours,


Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to J. A. Krug, Chairman, War Production Board; Marvin Jones, Administrator, War Food Administration; Harold L. Ickes, Administrator, Solid Fuels Administration for War; and Leo Crowley, Chairman, Foreign Shipments Committee.

A summary of Judge Rosenman's report to President Truman on the problem of civilian supplies for the liberated areas of Northwest Europe, released by the White House on April 30, 1945, is published in the Department of State .Bulletin (vol. 12, p. 860).

Harry S Truman, Letter to Heads of War Agencies on the Economic Situation in the Liberated Countries of Northwest Europe. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232617

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