The Under Secretary of State (Welles) to the Australian Minister (Casey)

My Dear Mr. Minister: I immediately transmitted to the President the personal and confidential message from Mr. Menzies which was left at the Department by Mr. Keith Officer on May 26, 1940. The President has asked me to send to you for transmission to Mr. Menzies his personal and confidential reply to that message. The President’s reply12 is quoted below.

“I was glad to receive on May 26th your personal message, which I have read with interest and considered with care.

“I fully realize that the Allies are facing a critical situation in Europe, and I of course understand and appreciate the motives which prompted you to send me this message. I do not think that there are many people in the United States, and certainly none in the Executive Branch of our Government, who fail to appreciate the implications and dangers to the whole world of the triumph of those forces against which your country is struggling, and I want you to know that, subject to the necessary limitations of the position of this country, the production facilities of the United States are available in their entirety to the Allies.

“With regard to your specific suggestion concerning the need of planes by the Allied Governments, I may say that a large number of planes have been ordered in this country by those Governments, and sizable quantities have already been delivered. We do not expect that the armaments program of the United States will interfere in any way with the speedy delivery of planes for the Allied Governments. When I sent a message to Congress on May 16th dealing with the necessity for increasing the armaments of the United States, you may have noted that I made the following statement:

“‘For the permanent record, I ask the Congress not to take any action which would in any way hamper or delay the delivery of American-made planes to foreign nations which have ordered them, or seek to purchase more planes. That, from the point of view of our own national defense, would be extremely shortsighted.’

“I deeply appreciate and cordially reciprocate your friendly references to me and to the United States.”

Believe me [etc.]

Sumner Welles
  1. President Roosevelt addressed a similar message to the Prime Minister of New Zealand in reply to the latter’s appeal for aid for the United Kingdom.