The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Halifax)


Dear Lord Halifax: Michael Wright will tell you of our talk yesterday. I am sure you know that it is a source of deep personal regret to me that any differences between our two countries should have arisen during my first few days in office. I am sending you a [Page 272] copy of a personal private message which I sent Anthony last night in reply to his message to me. It expresses my concern and I have endeavored to stress therein the importance I attach to maintaining the closest and most friendly personal relationship.

I am sure you know how much I value your friendship; as long as we can talk things out freely and frankly with each other at all times, there can be no serious differences between us.

With assurances of my respect and esteem,

Sincerely yours,

E. R. Stettinius, Jr.

The Secretary of State to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Eden)

“Your personal message was read to me this afternoon and I wish to let you know without delay that it is a source of deep regret to me that so soon after taking office a difference should have arisen between us. I have always worked so closely with you and my British friends, both as Lend-Lease Administrator before coming into the State Department and more particularly since I have been here. We must keep up the close and intimate association which has always been so helpful in getting over even points of difficult discussion in dealing with our respective countries’ interests. I count upon, as one of my greatest supports in the tasks ahead, your close friendship. I know, and you must feel, that anything which we put up to each other for cooperative working out can be solved to the entire satisfaction of both our responsibilities. Let us resolve that we will see that everything of any importance comes right up to the two of us for approval.

If the reaffirmation of our policy with regard to Italy has caused you embarrassment I am truly sorry. The feeling is such in this country, however, and the inquiries from all quarters so pressing, following your public statement in the House of Commons, that we had no other choice than to make clear our position. I am sure that had there been prior consultation we could have worked the matter out together as we have done in the past and, I feel sure, we will be able to do in the future. Michael Wright has told me of the debate on Greece which has been set for Friday and which you anticipate will cause the Prime Minister and you some embarrassment. We are working up a friendly statement to be given out tomorrow which I sincerely hope will be helpful.”1

  1. This message was sent to the Embassy in London in the Department’s telegram No. 10226, dated December 6, 1944, for delivery to Eden; and a copy was sent to the President on December 10 (865.01/12–44). The text of the “friendly statement” made by Stettinius at his press conference on December 7 is printed post, p. 433.