740.0011 European War 1939/18568

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The British Ambassador called to see me this evening.

The Ambassador read to me from a memorandum, which he said he had left with Harry Hopkins39 this morning for transmission to the President, which contained the views of the British Cabinet with regard to the proposed allied declaration.

It was pointed out that Luxembourg had been omitted from the list of countries. I said that of course Luxembourg should be included and had undoubtedly been omitted by oversight.

It was further stated that India should be included; that the Viceroy had agreed and was now merely awaiting the technical authority which had to be given by the Viceroy’s council.

The Cabinet further expressed particular regret that in the first paragraph the phrase “social security” had been omitted in that part of the text which deals with life, liberty, religious freedom, et cetera.

The Ambassador then referred with great emphasis to the insistence of the British Cabinet that the “Free French Committee” be included in the list. The British Cabinet maintained that inasmuch as the Free French had adhered to the Atlantic Charter, had fought with the British from the outset of the war, and had placed at the disposal of the British Government all of the French colonies where they exercised jurisdiction, the United States Government had no right to veto the inclusion of the Free French Committee.

I stated to the Ambassador that my views with regard to this matter had been set forth to him in full detail in our conversation of December 2740 and that I understood the Secretary of State had likewise [Page 22] expressed his general opinions with regard to the Free French during the last forty-eight hours.41 Further than that I said the President, in his memorandum to the Secretary of State containing his own suggestions for modifying the text of the proposed declaration, had made it clear that in his judgment the Free French should not be included.

The Ambassador argued at some considerable length with regard to the need for including the Free French Committee in some way. He urged that this Government give further thought to the matter. I stated that undoubtedly, in view of the communication which the Ambassador had given Harry Hopkins this morning, the President would have the matter fully in mind.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Special Assistant to the President.
  2. For memorandum of conversation, see Foreign Relations 1941, vol. ii p. 204.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. ii, pp. 557558.