740.00119 European War 1939/2394a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

2405–[2407]. Department’s 2406 and 2407 constitute Sections Two and Three of this message. The Department believes that it would be useful at the present moment for the three principal Allies to agree upon the terms of a statement to be directed to Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria for the purpose of turning present events in those countries to Allied advantage. Such a statement would be designed to encourage the small Axis satellites to withdraw from the war against the Allies and, so far as possible, turn their forces against the Germans.

In conformity with the agreed policy whereby the three principal Allies consult and keep each other informed in such matters, the Department, after consultation with the American military authorities, thinks that a text somewhat as follows might serve as a suitable draft:

2406. “Through the fateful policy of their recent leaders, the people of Hungary are suffering the humiliation of German occupation. [Page 586] Rumania is trembling under the Nazi threat while continuing to fight the Nazi war. Bulgaria is under the Nazi sway.

“In order to point out the road to freedom for these unhappy victims of Hitler’s evil devices and again to give them warning at this late hour, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States have agreed that:

  • “1. The small Axis nations, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria, despite their realization of the inevitability of a crushing Nazi defeat and their desire to get out of the war, are by their present policies and attitudes contributing materially to the strength of the German war machine.
  • “2. These nations still have it within their power, by withdrawing from the war and ceasing their collaboration with Germany and by resisting the hated invader by every possible means, to shorten the European struggle, diminish their own ultimate sacrifices and contribute to the Allied victory.
  • “3. The prospects of these countries for future existence as independent states, the right freely to choose their own governments, the preservation of their rightful territories, and the avoidance of military devastation cannot be enhanced, but only diminished, by their continued collaboration with Nazi Germany.
  • “4. There is no question but that the longer these nations continue their participation in the war and their collaboration with Germany the more disastrous will be the consequences to them and the more rigorous will be the terms which will be imposed upon them.
  • “5. The responsibility of Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria for their participation in the war at the side of Nazi Germany places upon them the necessity of deciding now, while yet there is time for them to contribute to the inevitable Allied victory, whether they wish to persist in their present misguided and inglorious course.”

2407. Please communicate the foregoing to the Foreign Office and inform the Department of its reaction and of any substantial modifications suggested.

We think the matter could be more expeditiously handled if the British would undertake to communicate the statement to the countries concerned.

The Department is telegraphing to Moscow30 on this matter, suggesting that Harriman acquaint you with the Soviet views.

  1. Telegrams 731 and 732, March 29, 2 p.m., and 3 p.m., respectively; not printed.