Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. R. Borden Reams of the Division of European Affairs

Participants: Mr. Donald Hall, First Secretary, British Embassy;
Mr. Hugh S. Cumming, Jr., Assistant Chief, Division of European Affairs;
Mr. R. Borden Reams, Division of European Affairs.

Mr. Donald Hall, First Secretary, British Embassy, telephoned to Mr. Cumming late on the afternoon of September 16, 1943 to state that he had received an urgent communication from the British Foreign Office in regard to the statement proposed by Mr. de Kauffmann for issuance by the President and Mr. Churchill. Mr. Hall arrived in Mr. Cumming’s office at 5 p.m. and presented the attached aide-mémoire 20 with which is attached a redraft19 by the British Foreign Office of the Danish Minister’s statement.

Mr. Hall was informed that our redraft is already before the President. A British redraft was then read and Mr. Cumming remarked that our redraft was actually more conservative than the British. He pointed out that we had entirely omitted paragraph 3 and we had rewritten the last sentence of the draft to remove any implication that Denmark had become one of the United Nations. Mr. Cumming then gave Mr. Hall a copy of our redraft. Mr. Hall was visibly surprised and stated that he could now say that the covering telegram from the British Foreign Office had indicated the belief that we would [Page 16]wish to go much farther than the British. The draft prepared by the British was the utmost to which they could agree without further serious consideration of the matter. Mr. Hall felt that our draft is preferable to the British and stated that he would so report to his Government.

The British draft was then examined in detail. It was explained to Mr. Hall that we had originally thought of including the Faroe Islands in the last sentence of paragraph 2 but had decided that it would be better not to do so. The difference between the use of Greenland by agreement and the use of the Faroes by occupation was stressed. In addition, a passing reference was made to the fact that an Independence Party had come into being in the Faroe Islands and that since this fact was known to the Danish people, there might be some propaganda embarrassment in referring specifically to them.

Paragraph 3 had been deleted by us in its entirety. There is a certain confusion about the nature of the invitation extended to Mr. de Kauffmann to adhere to the United Nations declaration. Mention of his adherence might also create difficulties with other organizations.

In paragraph 4 of the British draft we had made no specific mention of the Danish Council in London and believed that no mention should be made of any specific Danish organization. We had confined ourselves to specific mention of persons enjoying an official representative status and had made a general reference to Danish organizations all over the world.

In the last paragraph we had entirely redrafted the last sentence. It was considered advisable to retain some mention of the Danish flag but we believed that it was preferable to associate the flag with the Danish people rather than with the United Nations. The sentence as redrafted in the Department also urged upon the Danes the necessity for continued resistance and by implication asked them to avoid future collaboration with the Germans.

The discussion then turned to the aide-mémoire presented by Mr. Hall and it was agreed that everything but the last paragraph had been taken care of by the revised drafts. Mr. Cumming stated that he felt it was inappropriate for the British Government to request that Mr. de Kauffmann should consult with the Danish Council in London. The surest way to avoid trouble would be to keep consultation between the Danes on a strictly official basis. Mr. Hall stressed the importance to the British of the Danish Council, stating that it was active in Danish shipping matters, was in close touch with Denmark and was much more effective than the Danish Minister in London. Mr. Cumming reiterated that we had no desire to interfere with any use that the British Government might wish to make of the Danish Council but that we did feel that it was inappropriate to endeavor to make an official body out of a purely private organization. It was pointed [Page 17]out to Mr. Hall that under certain circumstances a similar body might with great propriety be created in the United States. After all, there were Danish shipping problems in this country, there were many more Danes here than there were in England and we had a special interest in Greenland. Mr. Cumming went on to point out that our situation vis-à-vis Denmark differed materially from the British. We maintain diplomatic ties with the country and in addition to having a Danish Minister in Washington we had an American accredited to the Danish King. Mr. Hall recognized the validity of these arguments and promised to present them to his Government. Mr. Cumming stressed that all his remarks on this subject were tentative, since it would obviously be necessary for him to discuss the matter with other persons in the Department.

  1. Infra.
  2. Not printed.