Editorial Note

No official record of the conversation at this meeting has been found. It appears that the principal subject of discussion was the proposed joint declaration of Allied unity. Roosevelt apparently emphasized the desirability of inserting in this document a reference to religious freedom, as suggested in the memorandum prepared by Hopkins earlier on the same day, (post, p. 368). According to Sherwood (p. 449) Litvinov thought that the Soviet Government would object to this although it might accept the phrase “freedom of conscience”. In the memorandum which Roosevelt sent to Hull on the afternoon of the same day the President indicated that he thought Litvinov could be induced to accept “religious freedom”; see post, p. 369.

At the Cabinet meeting on January 2, 1942, Roosevelt emphasized the importance of the preamble in the joint declaration. The note on this discussion in Stimson’s diary concludes as follows:

“He [Roosevelt] told of his successful struggle to get the consent of Russia to the insertion of the words about religious freedom. The words at first stood ‘freedom of religion’. Litvinov objected to that but when Roosevelt turned it around to ‘religious freedom’ he consented.”