Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)
Lord Halifax came in to see me, at his request. He said he came in to renew acquaintance, which he did for approximately an hour. The [Page 546] discussion was wide and discursive and related to views on how the war will come out, and so forth.
I took advantage of this opportunity to say that Mr. Albert [Alfred] Strelsin had been asking for passports on behalf of the Committee to urge a Jewish army. I said that he had first asked that the United States press the British to accept a delegation and that we had refused to do that. I said that we had steered him to the British Embassy to talk to Sir John Dill; Strelsin came back and reported that he had done that and that Dill had advised that he and two or three other people go to London and discuss the matter and its technical phases. They had then put in for passports. I said I wished to know whether the British Embassy had objections to his going. We were distinctly not pressing the British Government in the matter, but merely inquiring.
Lord Halifax inquired what I thought.
I said that we were worried about the agitation and that the best thing that could be said for allowing these men to go would be that it might conceivably quiet down the agitation here, through a quiet discussion on the technical level in London. I said that this apparently had been the view of Sir John Dill, though I had only the report which Strelsin had given me on that score.
Lord Halifax said that he thought that conceivably sending these people might do some good, especially if they were sensible fellows. He would talk to Colonel Montgomery, in Dill’s absence, about the matter. After he had talked to Montgomery he would let me know whether to put the Committee directly in touch with him. I said that I would handle it along those lines.