811.34544/14/12: Telegram

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

2001. Personal for the Secretary of State. I have just seen Halifax65 and he said that Sir Stafford Cripps66 felt he was getting along very well in Russia; that he had seen Stalin and liked him; that Stalin had told him they had no further demands in the Balkans; that they are not helping Germany any more than is necessary; that they anticipate that Germany intends to take them on next spring, in the meantime, of course, having polished off the British. Halifax said that from all their information, although Cripps did not get this from Stalin, the Italians and Germans were unaware of the Russian move against Rumania. The Russians asked England to help keep the Turks calm. By that, Halifax thinks the Russians mean to try to get [Page 56]the British to persuade Turks to be reasonable in their attitude in the Dardanelles, but I judge from Halifax’s side remarks that this would not get very serious consideration. The trade agreement negotiations, Cripps feels, are proceeding very well.

As to the French situation, Halifax said, of course they are terribly upset about the battle yesterday and he says it is not unlikely that France might even go so far as to declare war. At any rate he is quite sure that they will break off diplomatic relations although up to 6 o’clock tonight they have heard nothing on this. They are still waiting on word from Lothian as to what your attitude is on the Martinique situation which he was instructed to take up with you.67 Regarding the French at Alexandria; that seems to be all settled, the agreement being that (a) fuel oil is to be discharged (b) ships to be made incapable of fighting (c) that the disposal of the ships’ companies is to be a matter of further negotiations, but French advise them they will repatriate all the crews. Their fleets are watching the Richelieu and the Jean Bart which are on the west coast of Africa, but they are expecting to have a battle with them. That accounts for most of all of the ships except those at Toulon where the British are not likely to take them on because they understand the shore batteries are too strong. Out of this terrible mix-up with the French have arisen terrific problems of trade, currency, ships, et cetera.

Halifax showed me a message that Churchill was sending to Lothian to take up with President which again takes up the question of destroyers. I think that Churchill was making too much of a demand on the President and I pointed out that the President had all the information in regard to destroyers and that he would settle it in his own way in his own time and that to try to give him the “hurry up” or to point out again the dangers to America was not likely to influence him much. I think they may change it when you finally get it. His original memorandum to the President also said that the Irish situation was very bad and that he suspected that De Valera68 and his crowd were going over to the Germans. Halifax admitted to me that this was too pessimistic and I said again I thought if Churchill were going to send a message he had better send the facts as they were and not make them better or worse than they were in order to try and influence the President. I said I had known the President for quite a while and had never found him subject to a “rush aggression”.

Halifax said that Churchill had asked all departments which had got any information secret or otherwise from Germany to tabulate it and try and approximate the date of invasion. They have arrived [Page 57]at either the 8th or 9th of July or the 15th. I realize that this is a day out of the sky, but I am passing it on to show you that the Prime Minister of England thought it worthwhile to have a study made of all available information.

  1. Viscount Halifax, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. British Ambassador in the Soviet Union.
  3. See vol. ii, pp. 505 ff.
  4. Eamon de Valera, Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs, Ireland.