Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State
The British Ambassador and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden called at their request.…
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The British Ambassador said he was much interested in the draft on dependent peoples, which I had given to the President. He then inquired whether he could in strict confidence show this draft to the ministers of the British dominions. I agreed, adding with emphasis that this draft is not a final proposal or one on which any agreement is expected to be based, but only a draft, to which thought and attention might be given at this stage with the understanding that the President may have further views when the final recommendations are to be drawn up. The Ambassador and Mr. Eden said that they thoroughly understood this.
I again brought up the question of working out agreements for full and equal cooperation of our two Governments in conducting the political affairs behind the lines when and where our joint military forces occupy any enemy territory, et cetera. I said this would include Italy. The Ambassador and Mr. Eden said they would be glad to discuss all phases of this problem, but I gained the impression that the British really want to take the lead in conducting political affairs in Italy.
I then discussed at some length the question of making earnest and friendly representation to the Soviet Government by both Great Britain and the United States to the end that the Russian Government broaden its perspective and show some interest in the post-war world by working more closely with Great Britain, China and this country. I added that many people in this country are stating that Russia is saying almost nothing about her future plans and purposes and that, in fact, Russia will at the end of the war do as she pleases, take what she pleases and confer with nobody. The same people in this country add that this Government is spending between two and three hundred billions of dollars in supplying Russia and Great Britain with immense military supplies and that unless Russia shows some appreciation and speaks out in a spirit of teamwork and cooperation more fully both now and especially after the war, it will be difficult if hostilities should continue for some time to prevail on the American people to continue to furnish supplies to Russia, for example, with the understanding that they would get no recognition and that after the war, Russia would do what she pleases and take what she pleases. [Page 41] Mr. Eden said that Russia in the meantime was killing Germans, to which I replied that, of course, we all knew this, but that those people who are dissatisfied with the failure of Russia to show any interest or concern about future joint efforts to promote peace and economic rehabilitation based on liberal commercial policies, find that nothing would be gained except that Russia and Great Britain will have succeeded in eliminating Germany. I made it clear that these were but illustrations of the efforts of troublemakers to stir up friction in the future and that while I felt that such efforts would not succeed to incite friction among the Allied governments, these activities might well in the end impede the prosecution of the war, assuming that it may be somewhat long drawn out, since domestic privations and distresses would result in a state of mind among those thus suffering, to follow agitators and critics in the most absurd directions. I closed by saying that it is most vital, assuming that the war is protracted, that the governments of Britain, Russia, China and the United States should tighten up their policies in regard to preventing criticisms of each other by their respective citizens, especially those coming under governmental attention and control. Mr. Eden and the Ambassador readily agreed to the importance of this new precaution.