More Red aid being sought by Roosevelt (10-21-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 21, 1941)

More Red aid being sought by Roosevelt

Speeding of war help regarded as vital to anti-Axis drive
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington, Oct. 21 –
President Roosevelt returned to the Capital today on an urgent mission to speed war aid to the Soviet Union which apparently is counted at this moment the most vital necessity in the anti-Axis drive.

The Far East is seething. Japan’s next moves are believed to depend largely on whether and how soon the German Army is able to give the Russians a smashing blow.

The Nazi legions are reported now within 20 minutes or less flying time of Moscow. Assistance for the Red Army which is being discussed here today scarcely could reach there in fewer than several weeks unless the President ordered airplanes now in service or those coming off assembly lines to fly to the aid of the Red Army.

Difficult problem

A step-up in aerial aid to the Russians at this time when there is tremendous pressure to reinforce our own defenses in the Far East would impose difficult decisions upon the men who are discussing Russian problems here today. Some military experts already indicate uneasiness because of commitments to the Soviet Union which, when superimposed upon pledges already made to Great Britain, apparently must reduce the supply of weapons available to our own forces.

Airplanes could be delivered via Alaska, they could be flown to Great Britain and thence to the Soviet Union; or they could cross the South Atlantic and Africa and enter the Soviet Union from the south. The Canadian government has allocated $9 million for four wilderness airports on the Alaska-Soviet Union route. They have been far enough advanced for use for some time. Some of the Canadian funds may have been provided by the United States government.

Conference scheduled

W. Averell Harriman, head of the special United States mission to Moscow, arrived in Washington last night after a surprise conference with tue President at Hyde Park, NY. He was under instructions to meet immediately with representatives of the State, War and Navy Departments.

Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Harriman will confer again today. Statement from one of them is expected thereafter adding to Mr. Harriman’s brief insistence at Hyde Park yesterday that he had great confidence in the Soviet Union’s ability to stave off the Nazi attack.

Any statement after their meeting might also be the occasion for a report in Mr. Harriman’s discussion of religious freedom with Soviet Union authorities.

Russian aid has been paid for so far by advances by this government outside the scope of Lend-Lease legislation. Both the Reconstruction Financial Corp. and the Treasury have advanced money either against strategic materials to be delivered by the Soviet Union or against gold deliveries, Mr. Roosevelt is postponing announcement whether the Russians will be given the privilege of arming themselves with Lend-Lease funds.

The $5,985,000,000 Lend-Lease bill now pending does not exclude the Soviet Union. It is presumed that there is delay in announcing whether Moscow will be given Lend-Lease aid because plans for such aid might somewhat delay action on the big war-aid measure. A Senate appropriations subcommittee approved it yesterday with “no change” in House recommendations. The full committee will consider it today.

$30 million advanced

The United States has advanced another $30 million to Russia, which will use the money to buy American war materials and send gold here in return, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. announced.

He also revealed that the Soviet Union has completed a gold delivery – 25 days ahead of schedule – against $10 million which this country advanced more than two months ago. The first advance was repaid in 65 days.

The new advance, made out of the U.S. Stabilization Fund, was turned over to a Soviet government representative Oct. 10 after an agreement with the Treasury promising delivery of $30 million worth of gold within 180 days.

Mr. Morgenthau said:

This is a purchase and not a loan.