The Department of State to the British Embassy 27


Early in September 1943 and immediately after the assumption by the German military of full powers in Denmark and the consequent disappearance of any semblance of Danish governmental authority other than the presence of the King, the Danish Minister in Washington presented to the President a proposal for a joint declaration by the President and the Prime Minister of Great Britain in regard to Denmark.

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The United States Government and the British Government have given sympathetic consideration to the Danish Minister’s proposal which was designed to serve the double purpose of showing appreciation for the notable resistance of the Danish people to German rule and of discouraging in advance any renewal of collaboration with the Germans through the formation of a new Danish Government.

The wording of the statement as originally proposed by the Danish Minister was not entirely satisfactory to the United States Government and the British Government and accordingly the Department of State and the British Foreign Office separately prepared redrafts which were identical in substance except for two points. The first of these differences—specific mention of the Faroes, in addition to Greenland—was easily resolved. The second point of difference arises out of the insistence of the British Government on specific mention of the Danish Council in London.

The United States Government is not unaware of the assistance which the Danish Council in London has given the British Government in connection with Danish shipping and other matters and understands therefore the desire of the British Government to give the Council some public mark of approbation. The United States Government does not believe, however, that a specific mention of any non-official Danish organization would be appropriate in a statement to be issued jointly by the American and British Governments. The American Government’s views with regard to this matter are as follows:

Denmark’s situation differs materially from that of any other occupied country. The King remains not only as a symbol of Danish resistance but as the actual head of his country and people. Neither the United States nor the United Kingdom have broken relations with Denmark. Both governments accord recognition to the Danish Ministers in London and Washington who were accredited by the King of Denmark before the occupation of Denmark by German Forces. Moreover the United States Government continues to accredit a Minister to the King of Denmark. In the view of the United States Government, therefore, the recognition given by the American Government to the duly accredited Danish Minister in Washington precludes the extension by the United States Government of the degree of recognition to unofficial Danish bodies inherent in specific official mention thereof. Any other course of action might well cause undesirable reactions both within and without Denmark and would to an extent be in derogation of the recognition already given the Danish Ministers as the accredited representatives of their sovereign.

  1. Handed to the British Minister of State (Law) by the Acting Secretary of State (Berle) on October 1.