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Messages between Hull and Winant

16 Jul 1941

ww2dbase----- Telegram -----
From: John G. Winant, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Sent: Wednesday, 16 Jul 1941
To: Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State

LONDON, July 16, 1941-noon.
[Received July 16-7: 19 a. m.]

3012. For the President and the Acting Secretary. Delivered your 2600, July 14th, to the Prime Minister personally. I know he feels as you do on this subject. At the same time he is asking Mr. Eden to get a complete statement covering all situations which will be forwarded to you. He was delighted to hear that Harry is conning. So am I.

WINANT


----- Telegram [Extract] -----
From: John G. Winant, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Sent: Friday, 1 Aug 1941
To: Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State

London, August l, 1941-midnight.
[Received August1-10: 14 p.m.]

3366. For the President. Re your message 2600, July 14, directed to the Former Naval Person and with reference to my message 3308 - of July 30. In the next to the last paragraph you asked for an over all statement "making it clear that no post war peace commitments as to territories, populations or economies have been given" and stating that you could back his statement in very strong terms, but adding that there is "no hurry about this". For your information, both Mr. Eden's and the Prime Minister's promised statements have not as yet been forthcoming. I believe with little difficulty you could arrange the language of the statement to be made by the Prime Minister perhaps indicating to him the substance of your supporting statement.

WINANT


----- Telegram -----
From: John G. Winant, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Sent: Tuesday, 5 Aug 1941
To: Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State

LONDON, August 5, 1941-10 p. m.
[Received August 5 5:22 p. m.]

3428. Personal for the Secretary. Mr. Eden sent for me this afternoon to say that there had been some leakage or very clever guesswork as to the Prime Minister's present move. It first came out on the German radio at 8:15 last night as a report from Lisbon. Press correspondents here have been putting several factors together today to arrive at the same conclusion.

Before he left the Prime Minister had prepared a statement to be given out for publication only in the event of a leakage. Eden foresees the possibility that something may have to be made public tomorrow and if so the Government does not want to say anything without our prior approval. The Government hopes to avoid having to make a statement but if it must be done, Eden thinks it would be best to make it to the House of Commons tomorrow, where the Prime Minister's absence with Attlee as deputy is bound to be noted and may give rise to questions. This would furnish the occasion for making the statement. The text of the Prime Minister's own draft of a statement mentioned above is as follows:

"The Prime Minister accepted an invitation to meet President Roosevelt for a discussion of the general course of the war, the methods of United States' aid to Britain and matters of common interest.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by the First Sea Lord, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and the Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

The meeting is taking place on board ship somewhere in the Atlantic.

No further statement can be made at this stage as to the matters discussed at the meeting or the date of the Prime Minister's return to this country."

If it is necessary to issue the above statement the President might want to have a statement made to the people of the United States.

Eden said that a reply as to our concurrence or other views would be most useful if he might have it before 4 o'clock London time tomorrow afternoon.

If there is no reply he would tell the House that he had nothing to say at the time.

WINANT


----- Telegram -----
From: Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State
Sent: Wednesday, 6 Aug 1941
To: John G. Winant, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom

WASHINGTON, August 6, 1941-3 a m.

2984. Personal for the Ambassador. Following is the President's reply to your No. 3428, August 5, 10 p. m.:

"Think highly inadvisable make any statement at this time. In my judgement all that need be said is that Prime Minister is on short vacation. References to accompanying officers especially bad. Any statement now is direct invitation to Germans to attack him and his party going and returning. When in doubt say nothing. Roosevelt."

HULL


----- Telegram -----
From: Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State
Sent: Monday, 25 Aug 1941
To: John G. Winant, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom

WASHINGTON, August 25,1941-5-7 p. m.

3375, 3376 and 3377. The press in London and here seems uncertain about the meaning of the words "with due respect for their existing obligations" in the fourth point of the Roosevelt-Churchill joint statement of August 14. One interpretation is that these words mean that the Ottawa agreements and the American tariff are to remain untouched.

It is obvious that this uncertainty and such an interpretation should not be permitted to stand. Indeed, unless the right sort of official interpretation is immediately given wide publicity, the whole purpose, especially of this portion of the joint statement itself may be defeated. Actual and potential victims of the Axis powers will not take hope and do their utmost to resist aggression by joining forces with the United States the United Kingdom and other like-minded nations if they gain the impression that the basic fourth point of the joint declaration is in reality an empty promise by reason of the insertion of the words quoted above.

They must be assured and be kept assured that the fourth point holds out to all people a real prospect that defeat of the Axis will mean a post-war world in which all countries will not only have equal access to raw materials which they need but also, and far more important, that they will be permitted freer access to world markets, including the great markets of the British Empire and the United States, on a basis which will enable them to acquire the necessary purchasing power for needed raw materials and other things they need to import.

The following explanation would, it is believed, meet the requirements of the situation:

"In view of inquiries as to the meaning of the words 'with due respect for their existing obligations' in the fourth point of the Roosevelt-Churchill statement of August 14, it is desirable that the purpose of those words be made clear. Scrupulous regard for international obligations is the cornerstone of the foreign policies of the United States and United Kingdom Governments. They have seen with grave concern the lawless disregard of obligations by certain other governments which has created the present state of international anarchy. The words quoted above show that the two Governments, in carrying out any new policy or in revising old ones, will at all times give scrupulous regard to all international obligations so long as they remain in force.

The fourth point in the statement by the President and Mr. Churchill is a forthright declaration of intention by the British and American

Governments to do everything in their power, now and in the post-war period, by means of the reduction of trade barriers and the reduction or elimination of preferences and discriminations, 'to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity."'

You should take this matter up with the Prime Minister immediately and say that we contemplate issuing the above statement here and express the hope that a similar statement will be issued by the British Government. ;

The President has seen and approved this telegram.

HULL


----- Telegram -----
From: John G. Winant, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Sent: Friday, 29 Aug 1941
To: Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State

London, August 29, 1941-2 p. m.
[Received August 29-9: 25 a. m.]

3962. Reference to the Department's 3375, August 25, 5 p.m., 3376 August 25, 6 p.m., 3377 August 25, 7 p.m. I have discussed statement quoted in 3376 August 25, 6 p.m. with both Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden. The Prime Minister asked for time to consult with other members of the Cabinet before giving me a final answer. I told him that of course we understood his obligation to do that. He himself seemed to favor making the statement and is certainly in sympathy with the underlying principles on which it is based.

WINANT


----- Telegram -----
From: John G. Winant, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Sent: Monday, 1 Sep 1941
To: Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State

LONDON, September 1, 1941-midnight.
[Received September 2-12:45 a.m.]

4013. For the Secretary and Assistant Secretary Acheson. In the last 3 or 4 days I have had several talks with Lord Halifax. He has been so genuinely interested in trying to find ways and means to work out an economic policy that conforms with the ideas and principles that you both talked over with him, and so honest and painstaking in trying to get an acceptance of that policy in his talks with the Prime Minister and Mr. Eden and others, that I thought you should know it.

There have been four subjects that have created considerable discussion lately in the economic field.

1. The agreement on lend-lease exports which I hope to report to you on tomorrow.

2. The provisional draft of the lend-lease agreement.

3. The discussions on the wheat agreement which have been stimulated by the agricultural mission.

4. The reference to the meaning of the words "with due respect for their existing obligations" in the fourth point of the Roosevelt-Churchill joint statement of August 14.

It is on the fourth point as set forth in your messages Nos. 3375, 3376 and 3377 of August 25 that I wish to make the subject matter of this message, but I wanted you to know that all of -these items have been talked over singularly Stand collectively by Government economists, civil servants and Ministers, with exception of the last point which the Prime Minister has taken up with the Conservatives in his Cabinet only. Any inconsistencies in these four items that might have been assumed or may exist have been a part of these discussions. I felt that for the moment at least it was our task here to do an educational job. We have done what we could to have minds meet on a basis of fried so interchange

I feel that personally both the Prime Minister and Mr. Eden support the purpose of your statement as contained in your 3376. They each feel however that the language used in your statement would necessitate a consultation with the Dominion Governments without any certainty of acceptance by the Dominion Governments, and in my opinion are even more troubled by the possibility of an open break in the Parliament within the ranks of the Conservatives, which they believe would be unfortunate in the present war effort.

The wording of article 4 as it stands is acceptable to all parties concerned.

Mr. Churchill has suggested that in place of the phrase in the Department's statement "by means of the reduction of trade barriers and the reduction or elimination of preferences and discriminations" the following language should be substituted "by means of the reduction of trade barriers and the reduction and elimination of harmful restrictions as part of a general scheme".

You will remember that sometime after accepting the office of Prime Minister Mr. Churchill also accepted the headship of the Conservative Party. This party holds a large majority in the Parliament and is composed of many shades of opinion within its ranks. Some are strong supporters of Empire preference policies.

I feel myself that a public debate in the Parliament on a post-war issue involving the United States at this time would be unwise. There has been a growing restlessness in England in the last few days. After Churchill's last speech there was a good deal of comment that he had said a great deal about Russia; that Russia was doing most of the fighting.

I think it may come from a realization that without the help of the United States, England is forced to remain on the defensive and unable to take the offensive so far as Europe is concerned. A lot of people here would like to get on with the war and they are beginning to feel that we are slow about coming in. We don't mind telling each other what we think on that subject, but few of us like others to tell us. A debate in the Parliament which might be critical of the United States could not lift opinion at home. If the language in this statement is not satisfactory, I would suggest postponing a decision on the issue until some later date since it would inevitably lead to an open difference of opinion in the Parliament.

WINANT


----- Telegram -----
From: Cordell Hull, US Secretary of State
Sent: Tuesday, 9 Sep 1941
To: John G. Winant, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom

WASHINGTON, September 9, 1941 noon. 3B74. Your 4013, September 1, midnight. While we share your view that public debate in Parliament on a post-war issue involving the United States at this time would be unwise and we will not, therefore, now press our proposal for the issuance of any statement on the subject dealt with in our telegram under reference, we do not think that this occasion should be allowed to pass without impressing upon British leaders the great importance which this Government attaches to the question of commercial policy involved.

You should, therefore, take the occasion, and every suitable occasion that may present itself in the future, to impress upon British leaders our view that the prosperity and peace of the post-war world will depend upon the reduction of trade barriers and the reduction or elimination of preferences and discriminations, and that full Anglo-American cooperation in the attainment of these all-important aims depends upon the whole-hearted support by the British Government of the commercial policy just indicated.

Your 4038, September 2, midnight (1) The memorandum referred to (2) was given to the British Embassy here prior to Lord Halifax's departure for London. There would be no objection to your using it in discussions with Eden.

HULL

ww2dbase

Source: Various telegrams; courtesy of the Yale Law School Avalon Project
Added By: Janice Kim





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