File No. 811.2222/3208

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Page) to the Secretary of State


8440. The British authorities are greatly disturbed at the prospect of losing three-quarters of the eligible British subjects remaining in the United States under the terms of the proposed military agreement which, while providing in theory that all such men within the agreed age limits of 20 to 40 will become liable for service, give them in fact a three-to-one chance of exemption in that they will be subject to the selective draft under United States law.

They have brought this question up with me, informally but very urgently, stating that you have replied to their solicitations through the British Embassy in Washington, that difficulties of military administration make it impossible for the United States to accept the proposal that such men will immediately after the delay of 60 days be called upon for service in the United States Army. They ask me exactly what these difficulties are, and I beg for detailed information on this point to explain your position.

At the same time I venture to suggest compliance with the British request unless the administrative difficulties are indeed insuperable, since I understand you have no objection in principle to the proposal and the matter is regarded here as of great importance.

In addition, it seems possible that the effect in the United States might be unfortunate should fit British subjects escape the service they would have to perform in their own country while American citizens among whom they live are taken.