President Roosevelt to the British Prime Minister ( Churchill )72

549. For the Former Naval Person. Referring back to your message of February 23rd, No. 589, and in reply to your 686,73 my telegram No. 457 of February 7th on this subject contained the following statements: “I am absolutely unwilling to police France and possibly Italy and the Balkans as well”.

I am worried lest you also did not receive my letter to you of February 29th and I was really waiting to hear from you in response to that letter of mine.

I am worried because I fear you did not get it and that that was the reason for your silence until the other day.

A good part of the letter does not refer to the subject but I am now quoting it to you in full lest it did not reach you:

[Here follows a verbatim text of the letter of February 29, printed on page 188.]

As a result of this exchange back in February and March, I believed until recently that at least tentative plans would be made for occupation of northwestern Germany by American forces.

I am just as strongly for this point of view as I was before, and your special problems can be perfectly easily handled on the naval side even if American forces are in northwest Germany.

In view of my clearly stated inability to police the south and southwestern areas now occupied by the Germans, I really think it is necessary that General Eisenhower shall even now make such plans as are practical to use American forces of occupation in northwestern Europe during the occupation period. Such plans as it is practicable for Eisenhower to prepare in advance would help to meet the contingency of your not being able to provide forces of occupation in all of the surrendered and liberated areas not occupied by the Soviets and of my inability to police the southern areas—France, Italy, etc.

There is ample time for this unless Germany suddenly collapses because, as you and I know, the present timetable proves the point.

Under my plan all of your needs can and will be taken care of in the northwest area, but I hope you will realize that I am in such a position that I cannot go along with the British General Staff plan. The reasons are political, as you well know, though, as a result, they enter necessarily into the military.

Over here new political situations crop up every day but so far, by constant attention, I am keeping my head above water.

Roosevelt
  1. Copy of telegram obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.Y.
  2. Dated May 31, p. 224.