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Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the Defense Aid Program.

June 04, 1945

The Speaker of the House of Representatives:

I have the honor to transmit for the consideration of the Congress an estimate of appropriation for defense aid for the fiscal year 1946, exclusive of aid authorized to be transferred by the War and Navy Departments and the Maritime Commission, as follows:

Defense Aid .......................... $1,975,000,000

This recommended appropriation, together with unobligated balances of about $2,400,000,000 from the current year, will provide a total program of $4,375,000,000. Since Germany has been defeated, the proposed new program of defense aid and the appropriation required are less than for the current year. This program, however, reflects our resolution to give fully effective aid in order to shorten the war and thereby reduce the cost in allied lives and materials.

The war against Japan, like the war against Germany, is a cooperative allied effort. Through lend-lease and reverse lend-lease we shall continue to pool our resources with those of our allies so that the crushing weight of our combined might may be thrown against our remaining enemy. Where lend-lease funds will make the efforts of our allies more effective, we shall use them. Where the redeployment of our troops from Europe or our control over enemy areas require aid from other nations, lend-lease will be available to enable their maximum participation. Similarly, through reverse lend-lease we can expect our allies to give us all the assistance possible.

In the light of changed war conditions, a preliminary review of lend-lease assistance to individual nations has been made. Further review will be necessary from time to time in the coming year as the war progresses and the needs and the wartime roles of our allies vary. For this reason any programs proposed must be considered as most tentative.

Our recent lend-lease agreements with France, Belgium and the Netherlands will be carried out by lend-lease funds to the fullest extent consistent with changed war conditions and the basic wartime purposes of lend-lease aid. Beyond this I propose that these allies be assisted in financing necessary equipment and supplies by the Export-Import Bank.

Such assistance is consistent with the enlarged role which the Bank should be given in providing certain types of industrial equipment and supplies which other nations may wish to obtain from us for reconstruction. Some aspects of reconstruction are of particular interest to this nation and can most appropriately be financed by our own instrumentality.

Accordingly there will be transmitted to the Congress at an early date, a proposal providing for adequate legal authorization and expanded lending capacity for the Bank.

The lend-lease and Export-Import Bank programs represent unilateral efforts of this country. They are not intended to duplicate the work of international agencies.

The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, for example, has been created to meet the more immediate needs of relief and rehabilitation where nations are unable to meet their needs from their own resources. Legislation is now before the Congress to allow participation by the United States in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund. This legislation merits early consideration and approval.

In contrast to these devices, however, lend-lease is a positive weapon of waging war. The appropriation estimate herein submitted provides for its full use to bring the conflict with Japan to a quick and decisive end.

The details of the defense aid estimate are set forth in the letter of the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, transmitted herewith, in whose observations and recommendations I concur.

Respectfully yours,

HARRY S. TRUMAN

Note: The letter from the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, dated June 1, 1945, and also released, is printed with the message in House Document 224 (79th Cong., 1st sess.).

Harry S. Truman, Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the Defense Aid Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232620

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