740.00110 European War 1939/285

Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

I have your memorandum in regard to informal discussions with the Greek Orthodox Church6 and I wish you would talk the matter over with the Secretary, bearing in mind the following thoughts: Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church is not wholly centralized under a single head, even though the Patriarch at Istanbul is recognized as the Senior. As I understand it, the other Patriarchs are, in effect, in control within their own jurisdictions.

I wish you would, therefore, consider the following possibility: To appoint Lincoln MacVeagh7 on a special mission to visit the Patriarch at Istanbul and possibly also the other three Patriarchs, in order to confer with them on the general subject of peace, much as Myron Taylor8 has been conferring in Rome.

At the same time we might send another Envoy to accomplish the same purpose in the Mohammedan world, conferring (with the full approval of the President of Turkey, of course) with the Mohammedan leader in Turkey proper and the leaders possibly in Saudi-Arabia. After a survey of these it might be advisable to extend such a visit to Egypt and Iraq and Iran—all of them independent countries.

F[rankun] D. R[oosevelt]
  1. Supra.
  2. Minister in Greece.
  3. Personal representative of the President on special mission at the Vatican. For correspondence on the mission, see pp. 123 ff.