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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

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]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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