740.0011 European War 1939/2952: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Kennedy) to the Secretary of State

1211. For the President and Secretary of State. I just left Churchill33 at 1:00 o’clock. He is sending you a message tomorrow morning saying he considers with the entrance of Italy, the chances of the Allies winning is slight. He said the German push is showing great power and although the French are holding tonight they are definitely worried. They are asking for more British troops at once, but Churchill is unwilling to send more from England at this time because he is convinced within a month England will be vigorously attacked. The reason for the message to you is that he needs help badly. I asked him what the United States could do to help that would not leave the United States holding the bag for a war in which the Allies expected to be beaten. It seems to me that if we had to [Page 30]fight to protect our lives we would do better fighting in our own backyard. I said you know our strength. What could we do if we wanted to help you all we can. You do not need money or credit now. The bulk of our Navy is in the Pacific and we have not enough airplanes for our own use and our Army is not up to requirements. So if this is going to be a quick war all over in a few months what could we do. He said it was his intention to ask for the loan of 30 or 40 of our old destroyers34 and also whatever airplanes we could spare right now.

He said regardless of what Germany does to England and France, England will never give up as long as he remains a power in public life even if England is burnt to the ground. Why, said he, the Government will move to Canada and take the fleet and fight on. I think this is something I should follow up. If the Germans carry on there will be some conversation on what England will eventually do. Churchill called in the First Lord of the Admiralty Sinclair and Eden35 and although they are tough and mean to fight they are very low tonight.

  1. Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister.
  2. See pp. 49 ff.
  3. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for War.