740.00119 European War 1939/2669

The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: The Department has been informed by the British Embassy that the British Government considers it important that Allied propaganda to the satellite states should now be reinforced, and, with special reference to Hungary and Bulgaria, in order to attain the maximum military advantage in strengthening resistance to Germany, should henceforth omit reference to the term unconditional surrender, while of course avoiding abandonment of the general principle.

You will recall in this connection my letter of April 4, and your memorandum65 in reply thereto, in which you directed that the general principle of unconditional surrender be retained, though exception might be made in its application in specific cases.

In making this proposal, the British Embassy has pointed out that the Soviet Government had not applied the principle to Finland, and the same could be said for Rumania, if the Rumanians should come to terms along the lines proposed for their surrender. It is supposed that the propaganda agencies will take these considerations into account in preparing their directives. As for Hungary and Bulgaria, the Department thinks that advantages can in fact be gained from energetic action at this time in propaganda operations, and I should [Page 607] therefore be grateful if you would indicate whether you would approve our taking parallel action with the British and the Russians in authorizing a degree of latitude for propaganda purposes, having it clearly understood that the exception is authorized to enable the propaganda services to omit reference to the term, though of course there would be no public recantation of the principle as applicable to these countries.66

Faithfully yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Memorandum dated April 5, p. 592.
  2. Notation on the file copy by President Roosevelt: “CH OK FDR”.