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

Mr. Richard Law23 called to see me on September 27, 1943 and during the course of our conversation the questions arising out of recent developments in Denmark came up for discussion. I took the occasion to make a detailed exposition of our views on this subject with particular reference to the discussion between the British and American Governments in connection with the proposed issuance of a joint declaration regarding Danish conditions. I pointed out that the British apparently felt that we wished to push de Kauffmann into a position of preeminence among the Danes outside of Denmark. This was definitely not true. We had no such desire and to the best of my knowledge de Kauffmann himself had made no active efforts to establish himself as the head of the free Danes. We were under obligation to him because of the Greenland agreement24 which had been essential to the utilization of that colony by our armed forces. There were a large number of Danes in the United States and many of them were serving in our armed forces. Danish shipping was being utilized to a considerable extent by the United States. It was our feeling that relations with Danish representatives should so far as possible be internal matters and that such relations should be confined to people with a definite official representative status.

I went on to state that it was quite obvious that the British felt that we were afraid that they were endeavoring to make the Danish Council the focal point for all free Danes. It should be understood that we fully appreciated the value to the British of the Danish Council. They had done extremely good work and we had no desire to interfere in any way with that work. However, it was our contention that this was a purely private body and that it could not be held to be in any way representative of the Danish people. Mr. Law interposed at this [Page 19] point to state that it was their feeling that Christmas Moeller had some sort of a mandate from the Danish people but that he himself was not certain of this. I replied that Moeller’s position within Denmark was subject to many misconceptions. He had originally been in control of the Conservative Party but had broken with his party in 1938 on a question of internal policy and actually at the time of the occupation of Denmark by the Germans led only a portion of this minority party. He had been brought into the first Coalition Cabinet as Minister of Commerce. This Government had been formed for the avowed purpose of giving to the Germans a minimum amount of collaboration but to maintain good relations with the German authorities as far as possible. Moeller had subscribed to these principles in theory. From time to time he made a number of public utterances which were highly indiscreet in that they were extremely critical of the Germans. These utterances finally led to extreme German pressure which resulted in his resignation from the Government and from public life. …

  1. Minister of State in the British Foreign Office.
  2. Agreement between the United States and Denmark regarding the defense of Greenland, signed April 9, 1941; for text, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series No. 204, or 55 Stat. (pt. 2) 1245. For correspondence, see Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. ii, pp. 35 ff.