The British Prime Minister ( Churchill ) to President Roosevelt 62
London , 23 October 1943—8:05 p.m.
472. From Former Naval Person. My immediately preceding telegram.63
Following are extracts from telegram I have sent to Eden. (Begins). Your number 48.
- Para 5: Turkey. If we force Turkey to enter the war she will insist on air support, etc., which could not be provided without detriment to main operations in Italy. If however Turkey enters on her own initiative, perhaps moving through a phase of non-belligerency, we should not have the same obligation and yet great advantages might be reaped. Obviously timing is vital and dependent upon what is the aggressive strength of the enemy in Bulgaria and Thrace. The prize would be to get into the Black Sea with supplies for Russia, warships and other forces. This is what I call giving Russia the right hand. Such a movement by Turkey is not impossible, especially if the Germans should begin to cut their losses in the Balkans and withdraw towards the Danube and the Sava.
- Finland and Sweden. It would be a great advantage to bring Sweden into the war. We do not think the Germans have the strength to undertake a heavy invasion of Sweden. We should gain a new [Page 622] country and small but good army. Our gains in Norway would be far-reaching. Valuable facilities would be afforded to Russian Air Forces. For ourselves, we can do far better bombing of Germany from East Anglia where we are mounted on a vast scale than from Sweden where everything would have to be improvised and imported by air. Our range from England over Germany is just as good as from Sweden. In fact with present British facilities plus those we hope to acquire North of Rome there is no part of Germany we cannot reach with great weight.
- Personally I would like to see Turkey come in on her own and also Sweden. I do not think either of them would be overrun, and every new enemy helps Hitler’s ruin. I suggest however that the first step is to find out what we and the Russians want and what will help both of us most in both quarters, and then as a second step go into ways and means immediately thereafter. Try this, and let me know. (Ends)
- Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.↩
- In his telegram No. 471, October 23, Churchill said: “I send you in my immediately following extracts from a telegram I have sent to Eden who asked for guidance about the Russian wish to bring Turkey and Sweden immediately into the war. I wonder what you think on these subjects?” No record has been found of a reply by Roosevelt.↩