740.0011 (European War 1939)/1–242

Memorandum by Mr. Carlton Savage, Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State (Long)

This morning the Joint Declaration came from the White House to Mr. Welles, signed by the President, Prime Minister Churchill, Ambassador Litvinoff, and Foreign Minister Soong. Mr. Welles turned the document over to Mr. Berle.

Mr. Berle called me in to discuss procedure. It was decided that the representatives of the nine American Republics should be asked to sign together at 11:30; that the representatives of the other nations should come to his office around that time.

Mr. Berle and I were present during the affixing of the signatures. The time of signing by the representative of each country was as follows: Australia, 11:07; Czechoslovakia, 11:10; Belgium, 11:33; Cuba, 11:40; Costa Rica, 11:42; Dominican Republic, 11:44; Haiti, 11:45; Honduras, 11:46; Nicaragua, 11:48; Guatemala, 11:49; El Salvador, 11:50; India, 11:55; New Zealand, 11:56; Greece, 12:00; Luxembourg, 12:05; Norway, 12:07; Yugoslavia, 12:08; Poland, 12:15; Netherlands, 12:20; Panama, 12:35; South Africa, 12:50; Canada, 2:05.

The Czechoslovak Minister said it was the most important document he had ever signed. He was so nervous that he could not sign for some minutes after he entered the room. The Panamanian Minister got up from a sick bed to sign for his Government. The Greek and Yugoslav Ministers expressed themselves as being very eager to sign this important Declaration. The representative from India remarked that he signed for four hundred million people, more than any other, except perhaps the representative of China. When it became evident that the Canadian Minister would be the last to sign because he had [Page 29] not received authorization from his Government we contacted the Legation. After some time the Minister received telephone authorization from Ottawa and came immediately to the Department.

After the document was signed a copy was sent to the White House at 2:15. The original we had photostated immediately. The original was photographed by representatives of AP, Acme, International, Harris and Ewing, Underwood and Underwood, Chicago Sun, Paramount, and Pathé.

I talked with the Secretary about five o’clock about a proposed press release regarding the Joint Declaration, wherein it was referred to as an alliance. I suggested that that term be not used as the President had not gone so far in a description of it. The press release was changed accordingly and issued tonight.53

Carlton Savage
  1. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, January 3, 1942, p. 4.