851.00/2406: Telegram

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

4691. Your 5040, October 22, 5 p.m. You may inform the Foreign Office that the President will make a public statement along the following lines as soon as word is received that the contemplated Allied declaration has been issued or at 12 noon, E. S. T. October 25 if the declaration has not then been issued in London.

“The practice of executing scores of innocent hostages in reprisal for isolated attacks on Germans in countries temporarily under the Nazi heel revolts a world already inured to suffering and brutality. Civilized peoples long ago adopted the basic principle that no man should be punished for the deed of another. Unable to apprehend the [Page 447] persons involved in these attacks the Nazis characteristically slaughter fifty or a hundred innocent persons. Those who would ‘collaborate’ with Hitler or try to appease him cannot ignore this ghastly warning.

The Nazis might have learned from the last war the impossibility of breaking men’s spirit by terrorism. Instead they attempt to develop their ‘lebensraum’ and ‘new order’ by depths of frightfulness which even they have never approached before. These are the acts of desperate men who know in their hearts that they cannot win. Frightfulness can never bring peace to Europe. It only sows the seeds of hatred which will one day bring fearful retribution.”