740.0011 European War 1939/31526

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

The Minister of Denmark called at his request. He said it meant a great deal to his people to receive encouragement just now and especially such encouragement as would be given by a brief statement that the President and Mr. Churchill might together or individually put out. He handed me a copy of a draft which he said he gave to the President yesterday (copy attached). I showed every interest in the situation and said that he had fully presented the idea to the President, that the matter is perfectly simple and calls for no conference between the President and myself, and that the President himself will decide whether or not to put it out and that if he does not do so, the matter will have to remain in abeyance until later when it could be revived on some suitable occasion.

The Minister was greatly appreciative of what I had said on this same subject during the past three days.

C[ordell] H[ull]

Draft Statement

The Danish people, long subjected to the Nazi yoke, have revolted against their oppressors in a way that has stirred the admiration of the Free World. The sympathy of all free men go forward to the Danish Nation and their gallant King, who, though made virtually a prisoner in his own country, continue to fill the hearts of his people with his defiant spirit, which the tyrants have been unable to break.

Since the occupation of Denmark on April 9, 1940, the Danes in the Free World, through their contributions to the Allied war effort, have voiced the suppressed feelings of their countrymen at home. Greenland has taken her place as a bastion in the Atlantic battle.

In December 1941, Mr. Churchill and I invited the Danish Minister in Washington, Mr. Henrik Kauffmann, to join the United Nations declaration (of January 1, 1942).12 In accepting, Mr. Kauffmann referred to the fact that the Danish Government in occupied Denmark were under German duress, and thus not free to sign the Declaration by the United Nations. Mr. Kauffmann proclaimed that the Danish Nation, “though subjugated, now more than ever, believes in the principles and purposes of the Atlantic Charter.13 Danes in the free world feel pledged to contribute the best of their efforts in the common struggle for victory over Hitlerism, adhering to the [Page 13]principles of the Declaration of January 1, 1942 as if the Declaration had been signed by a free Danish Government.”

All remnants of a Danish Government in Copenhagen have now ceased to exist. As trustees for Danish interests outside Denmark, the Danish Ministers in Washington and London and Danish official representatives elsewhere, working for the liberation of Denmark together with Free Danish organizations all over the world, may count upon our fullest support.

Our thoughts and our good wishes go to the people of Denmark in their struggle; they have clearly demonstrated to the world that they fully endorse the declaration of the Danish Minister in Washington on January 2, 1942. Every Dane, whether in his home country or abroad, who contributes to our common cause is an ally in name as well as in fact. We welcome Denmark’s time-honoured flag, “Dannebrog”, by the side of the banners of the United Nations.

  1. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, p. 25.
  2. Joint statement by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, ibid., 1941, vol. i, p. 367.