859.00/988

The British Embassy to the Department of State 2

The only positive suggestion made by Mr. Kauffmann3 in his memorandum of December 7, 1942, is that if we and the Americans think it desirable that there should be a change in Denmark we should in good time get a message through to King Christian, informing him of our views. This is a suggestion which had occurred to us, and we will certainly bear it in mind. For your confidential information we have in the past conveyed messages to King Christian through secret channels, and we recently informed him of our opinion, in which the State Department concurs, that in the event of the Germans imposing unacceptable demands he should not abdicate but rather become a prisoner. This makes it clear that we are interested in his attitude and look to him to maintain Denmark’s independence as far as possible, but at present we do not think that the time is ripe for any more positive message. King Christian has given us to understand that he proposes to act in accordance with our advice should the Germans bring about a constitutional crisis. Our present information is that the Germans are not pressing the Danes particularly hard and that they are content for the time being at any rate with the present compromise. The Danish Government for their part, in spite of the recent appointment of Scavenius as Prime Minister, maintain considerable will and ability to resist German demands, and we are not convinced that there would at this stage be any advantage in an attempt on our part to upset the Government and to work for a state of affairs approximating more to that of other occupied countries. The time may come, however, when owing either to the general war situation or a change in German policy towards Denmark we may wish to call upon the Danes to change to a more active resistance. But in the present circumstances we do [Page 7]not think that a radical change would produce any noticeable advantage to the cause of the United Nations, and in any case we doubt if anything we could do would produce such a change.

  1. Left with the Department on April 8 by Mr. Donald Hall and Mr. John Wheeler-Bennett of the British Embassy.
  2. Henrik de Kauffmann, Danish Minister in the United States.