740.0011 European War 1939/24125
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State
The British Ambassador called at his request. After some preliminary exchanges of information of a general nature the question [Page 727]of the proper construction and practical application of the political provisions, especially, of the Atlantic Charter came up. I repeated to the Ambassador my ideas of its proper construction and practical application. These provided for its universal application to all nations and peoples—to all peoples whatsoever their condition and whatsoever shade of independence and freedom that they might aspire to. The Ambassador replied that some of the high officials of his Government were in the act of preparing an interpretation and application of the Atlantic Charter as it would relate to the British Empire. I said that while it was not my business except in a general sense, in my judgment the application of the Charter should be made universal, as I had already described it to the Ambassador, and that the British Empire would probably run into constant difficulties if it should seek to have the Atlantic Charter applied in separate compartments, so to speak. The Ambassador said he considered that a very impressive view and that he would at once bring it to the attention of Lord Cranborne, who is in charge of the proposed undertaking to draft regulations relative to the application and meaning of the Charter.