740.0011 EW/4–2845: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State 69

9. Eden has just handed me a top secret memorandum reading as follows:

“Shortly before leaving for Washington Sir Alexander Cadogan70 wrote to Mr. Winant pointing out the great political advantages which [Page 445] would result if United States troops could press forward into Czechoslovakia and liberate Prague. The letter asked whether the United States Government agreed with this view, it is understood that the Ambassador passed on this enquiry to the State Department71 but has had no reply.

His Majesty’s Ambassador to the Czechoslovak Government has informed His Majesty’s Government that the Czechoslovak Ministers are of course delighted at the arrival of United States troops at their borders and say that the Czechoslovak Communists are correspondingly depressed.

In our view the liberation of Prague and as much as possible of the territory of western Czechoslovakia by United States troops might make the whole difference to the post war situation in Czechoslovakia and might well influence that in nearby countries. On the other hand, if the western Allies play no significant part in Czechoslovakia’s liberation that country may go the way of Yugoslavia.72

General Eisenhower has informed the Prime Minister that his main effort is against the southern redoubt.73 The Prime Minister is, however, unaware whether General Eisenhower has been apprized of the significance of Prague.

The British Chiefs of Staff have been asked to draw the attention of the United States Chiefs of Staff to this matter.”

My reaction to the foregoing suggestion from the political standpoint is favorable. You may wish to discuss the matter with the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, as regards the military and political aspects of the question.

E. R. Stettinius
  1. The Secretary of State headed the United States delegation to the United Nations Conference at San Francisco, April 25–June 26, 1945.
  2. British Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. This letter of April 16 is not printed, but its substance is contained in telegram 4122, April 22, 1 p.m., from London, p. 441.
  4. For documentation regarding the concern of the United States with internal conditions in Yugoslavia and the recognition of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, see vol. v, pp. 1208 ff.
  5. The National Redoubt was an area in western Austria and southern Bavaria thought to have been heavily fortified by the Germans; see Pogue, The Supreme Command, p. 435.