DECEMBER 24, 1942
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I keep getting letters asking me about Lend Lease aid to different countries. It seems to be the general impression that Lend-Lease is a gift and not a reciprocal arrangement, whereas we really do get certain things at the present time from Great Britain, and these things are as important to us as are the things we send to Great Britain.
For instance, the other day I heard Lend-Lease Administrator, Mr. E.R. Stettinius, over the Atlantic Coast Network, and I wish he had been talking to the whole United States. Therefore, I am going to tell you in my own words some of the statements which he made.
We are receiving from the British now, anti-aircraft guns, barrage balloons, airplane detector devices, all of which have been perfected through British war experience and are valuable to us in guarding our vital zones. But, perhaps, the most important category of reciprocal aid that which our American troops overseas have received, not only from Great Britain but from other United Nations as well.
They are provided with services and materials ranging from repair facilities, transportation and housing to food, uniforms and ordnance. I even discovered when I was in Great Britain, that the buildings which were used for distribution centers and for American Red Cross clubs, are turned over to us and furnished under the Lend-Lease agreement.
Some of the people who are always looking for something behind the news, have suggested we are paying twice for the food which Great Britain buys from us under Lend Lease and which she may provide us with on the other side of the ocean. This, of course, is not true and I particularly like one of the paragraphs in Mr. Stettinius' answer to a question, which Mrs. Esther Tufty asked on this subject:
He said: "We are learning that it does not matter who uses a given supply or a particular weapon, so long as it is used in a way that does the most damage to the enemy. This is why American pilots fly Spitfires over the English Channel (where the Spitfires are the best plane to do the fighting) and why British pilots fly American Kittyhawks over the Libyan Desert (where Kittyhawks are the best plane for the job.)"