Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Cumming)

Participants: Mr. Donald Hall, First Secretary, British Embassy;
Mr. David Bowes-Lyon, British PWE Mission;4
Mr. Turkelson;
Mr. Hugh S. Cumming, Jr., Assistant Chief, Division of European Affairs;
Mr. R. Borden Reams, Division of European Affairs.

Mr. Donald Hall, accompanied by Mr. Bowes-Lyon, called on me today by appointment to present Mr. Turkelson. Mr. Turkelson is a Dane employed by the PWE who is in the United States for a visit of about one month. His trip was arranged by PWE with, I understand, the approval of the Danish Council in London and Mr. de Kauffmann, Danish Minister in Washington.

Mr. Hall referred to the previous conversation which I had had with him about a fortnight ago during which I had informed him, on instructions of Assistant Secretary Berle, of our concern lest a telegram sent by the Danish Council in London to Danes in the United States and presumably in other parts of the world might indicate a divergence between British and American views regarding the propaganda and political warfare line to be taken toward Denmark. (During this previous conversation Mr. Hall had told me he felt sure that the Danish Council’s telegram did not represent British official views, which he was sure coincided, except possibly the minor points of detail, with the State Department’s views. He promised to take the matter up with the Foreign Office.)

Mr. Hall said that he had now received a reply to the inquiry which he had sent the Foreign Office and handed me a copy of the Foreign Office telegram which is attached hereto marked A.5

Mr. Bowes-Lyon had a copy of another telegram which he had received from the Foreign Office, a copy of which is attached hereto and marked B.5

After reading these telegrams I remarked that the line set forth in these messages differed considerably from the line taken in the telegram sent out by the Danish Council in London and that the new British line, except in certain minor points of emphasis, seemed to [Page 8]follow that previously agreed upon between the Department and the British Foreign Office in that it purposed to obtain cooperation on the part of Danes in Denmark by emphasizing the specific results obtained by underground activities in Denmark whereas the line taken by the Danish Council was critical of internal Danish effort.

Following the line previously indicated to me by Mr. Berle, I said that we were concerned over the attitude taken by the Danish Council as much because of its possible adverse effect on Danes living outside of Denmark as because of its effect on persons still within that country. I said that I assumed that the British Government had an interest in this equal to our own, since we both had military forces in temporary occupation of Danish territory—referring, of course, to the Faroes and to Greenland. Naturally we did not desire to see any split within the ranks of the Danes not under German domination and even little things might tend to create such a division.

Mr. Bowes-Lyon remarked that the Danish position was especially difficult because it had no government in exile to act as a focal point.

I said that precisely because of that fact I thought that it was in the interest of both the British Government and the American Government to attempt to supply some substitute for this missing focal point. I said that I thought that this might be brought about through (a) full coordination of views between Danes in Britain, (b) coordination between the Danes in Britain and the British Foreign Office; (c) full coordination between the Danes in the United States and those other Danes in the rest of the world who voluntarily look to Mr. de Kauffmann for guidance; (d) coordination between Mr. de Kauffmann and the State Department which we already had to the fullest extent; and (e) coordination between the British and American Governments with regard to their propaganda and political warfare objectives in Denmark. I said that if we had coordination in all of these fields, we would be doing a very friendly thing for the free Denmark which we all hoped would eventually be reestablished. My three visitors seemed to indicate their agreement.

The conversation then became general.

Confidential Note: Before leaving my office, Mr. Bowes-Lyon asked me if I saw the British PWE directive regarding Denmark. I told him that I only saw the summaries which we received from time to time through OWI.7 Mr. Bowes-Lyon said that he thought that I should see the full directives for Norway, Denmark, Holland and perhaps some other countries and said that he would arrange to have these sent to me commencing in a few days for my strictly confidential information. I thanked him and said that I would be very glad to have them.

  1. Political Warfare Executive Mission.
  2. Not attached to file copy of this memorandum.
  3. Not attached to file copy of this memorandum.
  4. Office of War Information.