740.00112A EW/6–845: Telegram

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

5804. For ES.43 At special meeting Standing Committee, June 6, American representatives persuaded Brit not to discuss deletion program at Black List Committee meeting. FO44 was informed we could not attend meeting if item was on agenda because of secrecy classification. Despite previous agreement to June 23 as outside publication date, Brit were reluctant to postpone publication beyond June 16 unless there was possibility of meeting substantial agreement with Proclaimed List Committee on London revised lists. Standing Committee had decided last week that unless we informed them to this effect early this week question of disagreement should be referred to Black List Committee this week so that unilateral publication could take place June 16 if necessary. Brit finally agreed to extend publication date to June 23 as originally reported Embs 5435, May 30,45 but it is certain that in absence of directive from top Govt levels they will not defer publication beyond this date (ref question your 4518, June 6). Oliver should, therefore, arrive by weekend as suggested telephone conversation.

Thorough discussion at Standing Committee meeting revealed Brit position substantially as follows: Brit experiencing public pressure for removal wartime controls which is expected to increase in near future. Controls have been specifically raised in Brit political campaign. If Statutory List is to remain cases must be strong as weak ones are likely to imperil whole program. Brit feel hard-core cases could be defended for time agreed and intermediate cases for a short [Page 844] time. They believe, however, that some immediate deletions of unimportant and minor cases are needed not only to safeguard program, but as also “payment on account” (to quote Board of Trade) to British public to convince them that steps are being taken towards liquidation of lists as forecast in Selborne’s speech in Parliament last Sept. It is difficult to assess approximate percentage Brit would be willing to accept (your 4518) as they do not wish to operate on percentage or numerical basis. They feel names either do or do not qualify under criteria and mentioned that 5% seemed a reasonable margin for error and differences of opinion on specific cases. We feel that Brit might agree to 15% cited by Dept if it could be reasonably shown in time remaining that London working party and missions were in error to this extent. However, on basis review of lists, we doubt there would be this many cases. Finally, Brit appear aggravated by and unable to understand Proclaimed List Committee’s close scrutiny of Eastern Hemisphere lists and numerous objections when Washington has been given relatively, if not entirely free hand in Western Hemisphere deletion program.

CFB feels that in view of Dept’s written acceptance (albeit reluctant and with misgivings) of detailed categories of class A minor offenders with Foot, there is little chance in time remaining of altering substantially lists agreed in London for Class A deletion. It seems desirable for tactical reasons that Class A deletions be accepted, for the most part, by Dept to prevent divergence and probable ineffectiveness of lists (our 5688, June 546). In time between Class A and Class B deletions, discussions could be held with Brit regarding detailed criteria (not yet defined) for deletions Class B or qualifications for hard-core. If sufficiently liberal criteria agreed upon for Class C retention or restrictive for Class B deletion, Dept’s objective for retaining relatively larger intermediate and hard-core lists than currently projected by Brit could be attained.


[Commencing about mid-June, and periodically thereafter, the Department of State made representations, in consultation with the local British missions in the capitals concerned, to the Governments or appropriate authorities in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Rumania, and Yugoslavia, requesting observance of the Proclaimed and Statutory Lists.

At the same time, as indicated in documentation above, discussions were being carried on in Moscow looking toward the same end with respect to the Government of the Soviet Union.

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Responses from these countries indicated assurances of full cooperation on the part of Denmark, Finland, Greece, and Norway, apparent observance on the part of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, and little or no observance on the part of Poland and Rumania.

The discussion with the Soviet Union lapsed, with no apparent results.]

  1. Division of Economic Security Controls.
  2. British Foreign Office. Lord Selborne, Minister of Economic Warfare, had resigned on May 25; his responsibilities were transferred to the Foreign Office on May 28. On June 1, the Foreign Office took over what remained of the MEW staff and established the Economic Warfare Department under G. H. Villiers. (W. N. Medlicott, The Economic Blockade, in History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Civil Series, edited by W. K. Hancock, vol. ii (London, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1959), pp.627–628.)
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.