The Lend-Lease Act was passed by the United States Congress on March 11, 1941. It authorized President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) to “sell, transfer title to or otherwise dispose of” military supplies, arms and ammunition to any foreign country whose defense the president considered vital to America’s national security. This program facilitated American help to Britain and other allied nations in World War II without violating the then-official American position of neutrality.
While Britain needed the help, it was bankrupt and unable to pay for these munitions. Roosevelt thus devised a way to help Britain through a temporary “lease” of resources. In total, the US contributed nearly 50 billion dollars’ worth of munitions (the equivalent of $760 billion today) during the war. Also, Calcutta and Assam became the bases for American and Allied operations against Japan in what was referred to as the “China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre.”
In this issue, we put the spotlight on Indian contributions in the China-Burma-India theatre to give you the story of Indian involvement in America’s Lend-Lease program in Eastern India.