The British Prime Minister (Churchill) to President Roosevelt54

No. XXXC 48, April 11, 1942.55 To President personal No. 67, Have just received following from Cripps:

I have tonight received long letter from Congress President stating that Congress is unable to accept proposals. Rejection on widest grounds and not solely on defense issue although it indicates that while Congress would agree that Commander-in-Chief should have freedom to control conduct of the war and connected activities as Commander-in-Chief and war member proposed formula left functions of defense member unduly restricted. Main ground of rejection is however that in the view of Congress there should be immediately a national government and that without constitutional changes there should be “definite assurances in conventions which would indicate that new government would function as a free government and members of which would act as members of a Cabinet in a constitutional government.” Letter also states that picture of proposed immediate arrangements is not essentially different from old ones “the whole object which we have in view that is to create a new psychological approach to the people to make them feel that their own national freedom had come, that they were defending their new won freedom, would be completely frustrated when they saw this old picture again which is such that Congress cannot fit into it.”

There is clearly no hope of agreement and I shall start home on Sunday.

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He is broadcasting at 2030 I. S. T. today Saturday. I feel absolutely satisfied we have done our utmost and have sent Cripps the following telegram:

You have done everything in human power and your tenacity, perseverance and resourcefulness have proved how great was the British desire to reach a settlement. You must not feel unduly discouraged or disappointed by the results. The effect throughout Britain and in the United States has been wholly beneficial. The fact that the break comes on the broadest issues and not on tangled formulas about defense is a great advantage. I am very glad you are coming home at once, where a most cordial welcome awaits you. Even though your hopes have not been fulfilled, you have rendered a very important service to the common cause and the foundations have been laid for the future progress of the peoples of India.

From Former Naval Person56 No. 67.

  1. Copy obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N. Y.
  2. Cablegram from London received at the War Department Message Center, April 10, 1942, 9:28 p.m.
  3. Code name for Prime Minister Winston Churchill.