033.4211 King, W. L. Mackenzie/70

The Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs ( Hickerson ) to the Secretary of State

Memorandum

SMr. Secretary I was told in confidence by a member of the Canadian Legation late yesterday afternoon that the circumstances in connection with Mr. King’s announcement that he would come to Washington next week were as follows:

Almost immediately after the announcement that Mr. Churchill was here, Mr. Mackenzie King learned that the Opposition was preparing to question him in the House of Commons as to what part, if any, Canada would play in the conversations. He thereupon telegraphed urgently to Mr. Churchill expressing the hope that Mr. Churchill would be able to visit Ottawa to confer with him. Mr. Churchill replied (I gather that the Canadian Legation did some prodding to expedite a reply) to the effect that he would not be able to visit Ottawa but that he had discussed Mr. King’s telegram with the President and that he and the President would be glad if Mr. King could come to Washington next week to confer with them.

You will note that the invitation to Mr. King was extended by Mr. Churchill in the name of the President and himself.1 It seems to me that it would be desirable for you to send a message or alternatively for you to get the President’s approval of a message in his own name to Mr. King along the lines of the enclosed alternative drafts.2 My own preference is for the telegram signed by you.

J[ohn] D. H[ickerson]
  1. According to Pickersgill, p. 502, Prime Minister Mackenzie King received a telegram from Churchill on May 12, 1943, suggesting the visit to Washington.
  2. The draft message from Hull read as follows:

    “The President and I are delighted that you can come to Washington next week and we are looking forward with real pleasure to seeing you and talking to you. Cordial regards.”

    The draft message from Roosevelt embodied substantially the same language. For text of the message as actually sent by Roosevelt, see post, p. 333.