Roosevelt Papers: Telegram

The British Deputy Prime Minister ( Attlee ) and the British Foreign Secretary ( Eden ) to Prime Minister Churchill 1


Alcove No. 334. For the Prime Minister from Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary.

Your Pencil 159.2

We very much hope that you will not press the War Cabinet to give the decision you asked for by Monday.
At a full discussion this afternoon the War Cabinet felt very strong objection to the course proposed on grounds of principle. Moreover, the only disadvantage of the Diplomatic approach is that it would give some warning. We think that this cannot be rated very high from the military point of view and is outweighed by the objection of principle the course proposed.
We also feel very doubtful whether action in the next few weeks is:—
Practicable without impairment of other vital operations, e.g., Husky or the Battle of the Atlantic, or
Presents any great advantage over the same course of action taken a few weeks or months later.
We therefore ask that a decision should be postponed until the matter can be discussed with you after your return.
Meanwhile, the military authorities are pushing ahead on all preparatory work which can be carried out without prejudice to other operations.
  1. The views set forth in this telegram appear to be the basis for the statements made by Churchill during the meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill on May 24, 1943, regarding the attitude of the British Cabinet on the matter of the Azores Islands; for the record of that meeting, see ante, p. 190. The source text, designated as copy No. 15, was apparently passed to Roosevelt during the Conference.

    A subsequent exchange of messages between Churchill and the British War Cabinet on this same subject during the last days of the Conference is discussed in Eden, pp. 454455.

  2. Supra.