740.0011 European War 1939/34876/10: Telegram

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

1603. My view of the situation this morning. The condition of Britain’s preparedness equals [sic] her ability to fight the kind of war Hitler wages still appears to be appallingly weak. I am of the opinion that outside of some air defence the real defence of England will be with courage and not with arms. No matter what action the United States takes towards this war it is only fair to say that short of a miracle this country after, and if and when, France stops fighting will hold on in the hope that the United States will come in. Churchill said quite definitely to me he expects the United States will be in right after the election; that when the people in the United States see the towns and cities of England, after which so many American cities and towns have been named, bombed and destroyed they will line up and want war. The people here are kept buoyed up by the inference in the papers and the publication of clippings from the New York Times, Herald Tribune and political speeches. This morning an American correspondent of an English paper mentions that all it needs is an “incident” to bring the United States in. If that were all that were needed desperate people will do desperate things. The point of all this is the fact that the preparedness for carrying on a war here is pitiful, this in spite of the fact that production and war effort are now for the first time going ahead in excellent fashion. We should know this in the light of any action we in America might see fit to take. A course of action that involves us in any respect that presupposes the Allies have much to fight with except courage is, as far as England goes, I think fallacious. The United States would have nothing to work with with these two countries in their present condition. Unless France and England are dealing or will deal Germany really crippling blows at her industrial production and seriously affect her strength in the air and in tanks as a result of these battles, the United States will have plenty to worry about in their own country. The cry should be prepare for anything right there, right now.