841.24/1095: Telegram

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

6049. Personal for Assistant Secretary Acheson. Your 5637, 5789 and 579053 received. I carried out the instructions given me and took the subject matter up with the Prime Minister. He referred me to the Chancellor of the Exchequer who promised me that he would discuss the matter with Cabinet members and report back to me. I have just received a note from him, however, saying that after talking with his colleagues he had referred it back to Lord Halifax. The Secretary will explain the reason for this to you.

I wanted you to know that aside from the war emergency which has blocked consideration of everything else for the moment the bill conscripting women which created a sharp temporary break in the Labor Party but which was largely overcome in the final vote on this [Page 50] measure by the Government members of the Labor Party temporarily shook the Conservatives in the Government and gave them a new sense of dependency on the Conservative majority. The loss of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse54 added to a reluctance to take any action that might disturb the status quo. All this is temporary. I believe if we could have had the issue up 3 weeks ago we would have gotten it through promptly and I am certain that if we patiently hold our ground our position as outlined in the new draft of articles even will be accepted by the British within a reasonable period of time. There will be an effort, however, to try to postpone action on this demand on the wheat agreement and to ask that they be made a part of general economic discussions between the two Governments.

I would especially ask that you show this message only to the Secretary and Under Secretary.

  1. Ante, pp. 45, 46, and 47, respectively.
  2. British warships sunk by Japanese air attack at Singapore, December 10, 1941.