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

397. The Danish Minister has just transmitted to the Department the following secret message from Copenhagen regarding the desire of the Freedom Council and leaders of the Social Democratic, Conservative, Liberal and Farmers parties that the American, British and Soviet Governments recognize Denmark as an ally:

[Here follows text of the message from the Danish Freedom Council and the Political Parties contained in the Danish Minister’s note of January 17, supra.]

While the Department considers that, by virtue of their actions since the invasion of Denmark,3 the Danes are deserving of some form of recognition and further that such recognition would have a salutary effect on Danish morale and will to resist, it feels that at this time a public statement by the American, British and Soviet Governments acknowledging Denmark as an ally might lead to retaliation by the Germans affecting the personal safety of King Christian and of other members of the Royal Family. In view of his position as the symbol of Danish resistance, and the need for his presence as a unifying influence in the liberation period, the Department feels that no action should be taken by us which might endanger the well being of the King. Accordingly, the Department suggests that instead of a public statement of recognition, the American and British Foreign Ministers4 transmit through secret channels to the Freedom Council and the political party leaders a message informing them of the receipt of their communication and explaining why it is not considered to be desirable to issue a statement recognizing Denmark as an ally. The message might also assure the Freedom Council of our appreciation of the contribution to the common cause being made by the Danish resistance movement. In this connection reference might be made to recent statements by American and British officials acknowledging this aid, such as Mr. Hull’s statement on July 125 and Mr. Churchill’s message of January 1.6

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It might, of course, be helpful if the Soviet Foreign Minister7 could also subscribe to the proposed message. However, in the light of recent indications of the Soviet attitude toward Denmark, they might not be willing to participate. We would welcome the views of the Foreign Office on this point as well as on our general reaction to the message from the Freedom Council and the political party leaders.

Repeated to Moscow for its information only as Department’s 112.

  1. For documentation regarding the invasion of Denmark by Germany in April 1940, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. i, pp. 136 ff.
  2. The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Anthony Eden.
  3. For statement by the Secretary of State on July 12, 1944, regarding the; opposition in Denmark to German rule, see Department of State Bulletin, July 16, 1944, p. 60. For documentation regarding the discussions concerning a proposed joint statement by the United States, United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union as to the support of the United Nations by the Danish people, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, pp. 524 ff.
  4. For text of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s New Year’s Day Message to the Danish Resistance Groups, January 1, 1945, see The War Speeches of The Rt Hon Winston S. Churchill, compiled by Charles Eade (Cassell & Company, London, 1952), vol. iii, p. 338.
  5. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.