President Roosevelt to the British Prime Minister (Churchill)42

No. 373. For the Former Naval Person from the President. On the front page of the Washington Post, dated Saturday morning, October 2, there appeared a story headlined as follows: “Stalin Said To Have Rejected London as Meeting Place.”

[Page 539]

The article stated in substance that Russia had politely rejected a proposal made by me personally to change the location of the three-power conference from Moscow to London because the health of the Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, made the longer journey undesirable. In order to appear in this edition of the newspaper, the story had to be released actually many hours before I had personally received Stalin’s reply stating that he did not care to change the location.

This article, written by Frederick Kuh and copyrighted by the Chicago Sun, appeared under a London date line. Since the Chicago Sun is a highly reputable paper and friendly to this administration it seems reasonable to conclude that the date line was not faked and so the story did in fact originate in London. To my mind the mere fact that this story got into the newspapers in the first place indicates a dangerous leak somewhere, and furthermore, indicates a bad mistake on the part of some censor for passing the story for publication as he must have in this case.

Don’t you think perhaps it would be beneficial to us both if this leak could be run down and so avoid another one in the future when there is more at stake.43

  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N. Y.
  2. Mr. Churchill replied to the President the next day in his telegram No. 436 (not printed), which read in part: “3. Your number 373. I will have an immediate enquiry made into the possible leakage.”