Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

The President’s Special Representative (Harriman) to President Roosevelt 1


Number LCR # 1. December 7, 1942.

Personal and For the Eyes of the President Only from Harriman. I have had three talks with the Prime Minister on the subject you [Page 497] asked me to discuss with him.2 I have been thoroughly beaten up but he finally understands that Anthony3 can not be viewed as a member of the War Cabinet divorced for the moment from the Foreign Office and he agrees to drop him out. He still wants one or two of the Joint Staff Secretariat like Colonel Jacob. He says he needs a couple of private secretaries to conduct his business and 24 hour shifts of cipher men some of whom can be provided locally. Also he wants his Map Room. He doesn’t want Oliver4 but is considering Leathers on account of the importance of his field in any plans. I explained to him emphatically your opposition to preliminary talks with Marshall in London. He is worried however about there being no agreement in advance between us on plans satisfactory to our friend and he has some ideas he wants to thrash out. He awaits an answer from you to his last cable of December third. In the last analysis I am quite sure he will accept your final wishes. I believe if you will instruct me,5 I can get him to conform with good grace and feeling. Specifically, am I right in assuming that you have no serious objection to his bringing a private secretary or two, Col Jacob, a cypher staff, and Leathers or someone else in the Field of Supply. How do you feel about the Map Room? I will get from him a complete list of whom he proposes and cable you. After he has received an answer from you to his cable, he says he will discuss his plans further with me. He understands I am cabling you along the lines of the above. Khartoum appears to answer your specifications and taking everything into consideration seems the most practical oasis.

  1. Transmitted via War Department channels.
  2. Harriman accompanied the Lyttelton Mission (see footnote 6 to Roosevelt’s message No. 222. November 25, 1942, to Churchill, ante, p. 489) to Washington in November 1942 and returned with the Mission to London at the end of the same month. In information given to the Historical Office on May 22, 1964, the then Under Secretary of State Harriman recalled the instructions given him by Roosevelt on the eve of his return to London. Roosevelt asked Harriman to discuss with Churchill the need for keeping the representation to the projected conference limited to the framework of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in order to avoid the necessity of including the Secretary of State.
  3. Anthony Eden.
  4. Sir Oliver Lyttelton.
  5. In information given to the Historical Office on May 22, 1964, Harriman stated that he received no further instructions from Roosevelt on this matter and assumed that the issue had been resolved in the subsequent correspondence between Roosevelt and Churchill.