740.0011 European War 1939/34874/10: Telegram

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

1571. For the Secretary and Under Secretary. My 1524, June 6. Your 1120, June 7. I have carefully considered the plan outlined in your 1120 and it is impossible for me in London to judge what is the best action to take from the American point of view in America. My only knowledge of what is going on in the United States is taken from press clippings from America, mostly clipped from the New York Times and Herald Tribune and speeches of Senator Pepper; therefore you know what is best. Let me reiterate, however, that the feeling of the people of Great Britain towards the United States is going to be a matter of major importance, not only in this crisis but for many years to come. Regardless of what appears on the surface there is a very definite anti-American feeling in this country based primarily on the fact that the majority of the English people feel America should be in this fight with the Allies and in spite of the fact that the President’s popularity is much greater than that of the United States itself, nevertheless many people in high places constantly say among themselves all they get from America is conversation. If things go badly for Great Britain everyone here is going to look around for somebody to blame. As it stands today they have the Baldwin and Chamberlain governments, but the attack on them is going to pale into insignificance when they have some one like the United States to blame. We can say we are sorry but it cannot be helped. I recognize that also, but nevertheless the fact remains [Page 35]that we are well on our way to becoming the “patsys” when Great Britain looks for somebody to blame. Over there it may not seem important as to whether the people in Great Britain will blame the United States either at the conclusion of this crisis or for years to come, but it appears to be a most serious matter. I can visualize their possible eventual acceptance of a German victory, but they will never forgive us for not having come to their aid. I therefore feel that this matter requires much more serious attention and thought than the mere statement by the British Purchasing Commission which I have seen issued this morning and does not at all answer the situation. Perhaps they are going to issue further statements. The position of the United States should be put right here; selling them “old material” is not solving the problem by any manner of means. The British are going to forget that they did not prepare and that the entry of the United States into the war would be only to hold the bag, but nonetheless the United States will receive severe criticism for years to come, and to me this is entirely unjustified. I hope for your further serious consideration of this matter.

Kennedy