740.00119 European War/2434

Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State

I think this31 should be handled differently. It would be a mistake, in my judgment, to abandon or make an exception in the case of the words “unconditional surrender”. As a matter of fact, whom do we mean those words to apply to? Evidently our enemies.

In August, 1941, at the time of the Atlantic Charter,32 and in January, 1943, at the time of Casablanca, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania and Finland were the Axis satellites. But they were not our enemies in the same sense that Germany and Italy were. These four little satellite states were enemies under the duress of Germany and Italy.

I think it is a mistake to make exceptions. Italy surrendered unconditionally but was at the same time given many privileges. This [Page 589] should be so in the event of the surrender of Bulgaria or Rumania or Hungary or Finland. Lee surrendered unconditionally to Grant but immediately Grant told him that his officers should take their horses home for the Spring plowing. That is the spirit I want to see abroad—but it does not apply to Germany. Germany understands only one kind of language.

F[ranklin] D. R[oosevelt]
  1. See memorandum of March 25 to President Roosevelt, p. 584.
  2. Joint statement by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, p. 367.