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H.R. 1776, A Bill further to promote the defense of the United States, January 10, 1941

Proposed to supply aid to the Allies, the Lend-Lease program provided war materiel to cash-strapped nations like Great Britain. Supporters hoped it would “hold the line” until the United States was better prepared and keep the war from U.S. shores. The bill was assigned the number “H.R. 1776,” linking it with the American Revolution.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

H.R. 1776 H.R. 1776 H.R. 1776 H.R. 1776

The Lend-Lease Act

In 1941 Congress passed a bill allowing the president to provide assistance to nations whose defense was considered vital to the security of the United States. Known as the Lend-Lease Act, it became the principal means for providing U.S. aid to key Americans allies, especially Great Britain, during World War II. The act permitted the president to “loan” war materiel such as ammunition, tanks, and airplanes to allies without expectation of repayment. Though the United States would not declare war until December 8, 1941, the Lend-Lease Act effectively ended U.S. neutrality.

[This bill] will make Uncle Sam the best and biggest Santa Claus the world has ever seen. . . . [it is] the worst kind of blank-check appropriation.

Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, The New York Times, January 26, 1941