National Archives 2012-03-13

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Arrived at National Archives at 12.20 PM. The first few hours have been preoccupied with document photography, but now it is necessary to resume active note-taking since files have been encountered (ordered on a speculative basis) which have interesting material but are not satisfactory candidates for photography.

CAB 117/244

This is part of a series of files under CAB 117 dealing with information which the Cabinet reconstruction committee sought about similar efforts elsewhere to plan reconstruction. This file contains information about US planning, supplied through the British Embassy in Washington (Lord Halifax was then ambassador). There is a major memorandum in here (running to about 15 pages) dealing with the (US) National Resource Planning Board, a New Deal agency intended to have a coordinating function which was abolished by Congress in 1943 by means of an appropriation bill which specifically excluded the possibility of the President continuing the agency under war emergency powers. Various congressmen and senators, including Tydings, opposed the Board, claiming it was wasteful and had no outputs other than pamphlets. Hayden (of Arizona) supported it because of its role in identifying possibilities for exploiting natural resources and thus promoting development in the Western states. Another memorandum (apparently written on the strength of a planned leak by a State Department official) raises the possibility of trade war if the UK attempts to pursue an export-focused policy at the US' expense. (This I shall photograph.) There is a draft of what eventually became the GI Bill. There is a memorandum from the KC consulate--internationalism in Kansas!--which I am photographing. There is a National Resources Planning Board pamphlet (very short) with the Keynesian title "Post-war Agenda: Full employment, Security, Building America" (dated November 1942). Also, brief for a charter of what eventually became the UN World Food Programme; memoranda on agriculture (reconstruction) in Eastern Europe, and China; speech by Sumner Welles on the opening of a new Norwegian Legation in DC (Norway was then under occupation), hinting at US acquiescence in the need for a new multilateral international body with full US participation.