The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: With my memorandum of April 12 concerning certain projects proposed by the Archduke Otto I returned to you a long letter which he had written to you,65 in the course of which he referred to another matter which has now arisen; namely, a plan that his brother, Charles Louis, should return from Lisbon, and that the younger brother, Rudolf, should then proceed to Lisbon to carry on the activities in which Charles Louis had been engaged.

Charles Louis has in fact returned to this country, and the Department now has before it for consideration a request for an exit permit for the Archduke Rudolf, who wishes to proceed to Lisbon early in June.

I think there are good reasons why permission should not be given for this travel. The presence of the Archduke Charles Louis became generally known in Lisbon, where Mr. Wodianer, the Hungarian Minister, with whom he was in contact, is now active in an informal group of former Hungarian diplomats, stationed at Lisbon, Madrid, Bern, Stockholm, and Istanbul, in opposition to the present puppet government at Budapest and in plans for strengthening resistance within Hungary. Both the British Government and ourselves have extended some facilities of communication for these former officials, and the British and Soviet Governments are informed of their activities and plans. We have, as you know, a definite agreement with the British and Soviet Governments, which we have loyally kept and which I consider of great importance, to keep each other informed of all our transactions regarding the enemy states. The Archdukes are very definitely political and conspicuous personalities, and the departure of any of them from this country for Lisbon at the present time would surely give rise to wide speculation. I think you will agree [Page 876] that the involvement of this Government in questions concerned with the Archduke Otto’s political aspirations is something very carefully to be avoided because of the political implications, both in this country and abroad.

I fear moreover that the Archdukes have not observed sufficient secrecy concerning the facilities of communication which have been afforded, and think that the impending military events66 would justify our withdrawing the privileges of secret and cipher traffic between the Archdukes in Lisbon and Washington which were extended some months ago.

I would therefore suggest that we terminate their communications through the special channels with which you are familiar, and, unless we are prepared to apprise the British and Soviet Governments of the nature of the Archduke Rudolf’s proposed activity, that we take negative action on his application for an exit permit, since his travel abroad at this juncture would certainly be interpreted as being undertaken with the approval, or even on the initiative, of this Government.

Faithfully yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Letter dated April 4, p. 860.
  2. Reference is to Allied landing in France in June.