740.0011 Stettinius Mission/46g: Telegram

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

3194. Esdel23 No. 45. For the Under Secretary. If you are not already familiar with it, you may wish to request Riefler to furnish you a copy of the discouraging British reply24 to our proposal concerning limited relief programs in the occupied countries.

Since your departure Senators Taft and Gillette25 have inquired concerning what action has been taken by the Department to give effect to Senate Resolution 100. On April 17 the House, by unanimous vote, adopted a similar resolution.

In view of the continued pressure Department considers it highly desirable that some proposal be submitted to the German Government [Page 261] Admitting that military operations might conceivably interfere with its implementation if the German Government should agree to the proposal, the Department is unable to subscribe to British view that to make an effort of this nature would lay us open to charges of insincerity. Liberation of the victims of Nazi tyranny would naturally be the best possible answer to the groups pressing for immediate relief but if pending a successful issue to the invasion we fail to try to obtain the German Government’s agreement to some relief measures, we lay ourselves open to the charge that we are unsympathetic to the need in the occupied countries and that we are thwarting the wishes of our people as expressed through their elected representatives.

Moreover, the energetic steps taken by the President’s War Refugee Board to relieve the Jews in Germany and German-occupied territories26 are highlighting to the Government’s embarrassment its failure to take any steps toward the relief of other victims of Nazi oppression.

It is hoped that you will find an opportunity further to discuss this matter with the British Government.27

  1. Designation for a special series of telegrams from the Department to Under Secretary Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., who was on a mission to London April 7–29 For report on this Mission, see vol. iii, pp. 1 ff.
  2. See supra.
  3. Senators Robert A. Taft of Ohio and Guy M. Gillette of Iowa.
  4. For documentation on this subject, see vol. i, pp. 981 ff., passim.
  5. In telegram 3387, Deles 30, from London, April 25, the Under Secretary reported that he had discussed the question of relief to occupied Europe with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. “I pointed out the recent congressional resolutions urging release of [relief off] occupied countries and desirability, politically, in the United States, of opening negotiations with Germany. Eden stated it was impossible for the British Government to agree, that it was useless even to discuss the matter with the War Cabinet and that they were perfectly willing to accept any blame or responsibility. I pressed him vigorously to reopen the matter but he insisted it was necessary for the British to decline for operational and security reasons.” (740.0011 Stettinius Mission/59)