30 Mr F. B. Clapp, Australian Representative on the British Purchasing Commission in the United States, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram NY 2869 NEW YORK, 4 August 1941, 9.41 p.m.

For Mr. Menzies from Clapp.

Regret to advise that great deal of difficulty being experienced in procurement of munitions and supplies under Lend Lease, and exasperating delays will inevitably occur, which will be difficult to understand your end. Reasons for delay as follows:-

1. Delays occur almost entirely in U.S.A. Administration Departments owing to the fact that under Lend Lease procurement majority of British requirements have been suddenly transferred for purchasing to already overloaded U.S. Army, Navy and Treasury Purchasing Departments, with result that bottl[eneck] [1] has developed. The British Purchasing Commission require organisation of approximately 3,000 people to handle British purchases on cash basis.

2. For certain classifications of our requirements, U.S.

appropriations have been exhausted and balance of appropriations rapidly becoming depleted. U.S. regulations only permit limited transfer of appropriations as between Departments and no further appropriations can be made until new bill is passed through Congress probably early in September.

3. Due to the fact that U.S. is still on peacetime footing, efficiency of Purchasing Organisation is poor as the, are hampered with red tape, and working hours are considerably less than those of British Purchasing Commission Organisation.

4. All decisions regarding Lend Lease policies are made by the President [2] which again adds to delays. Have had whole matter up with Purvis [3] and Baillieu [4] who advise that everything possible being done to rectify, and now that initial teething troubles are known, they are hopeful of steady improvement.

Understand British position is also most unsatisfactory.

Everything possible being done by this office to accelerate placement of orders and it would materially strengthen our position if you would despatch a cable, couched in strongest possible terms, advising us how serious the position is becoming in Australia, and how urgently supplies are required. This cable would be passed through proper channels to Hopkins [5] and the President and should help to bring home to them that drastic steps must immediately be taken to relieve this very critical situation.

Please pass contents of this cable to Essington Lewis [6] who at the moment particularly concerned.

1 Words in square brackets have been corrected from the Washington copy on file AA : A3300, 103.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 Chairman of the British Supply Council in the United States.

4 Director-General of the British Purchasing Commission in the United States.

5 Adviser to Roosevelt.

6 Director-General of Munitions.

[AA : A3195, 1941, 1.14275]