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LONDON, August 5, 1941-10 p. m.
[Received August 5 5:22 p. m.]
3428. Personal for the Secretary. Mr. Eden sent for me this afternoon to say that there had been some leakage or very clever guesswork as to the Prime Minister's present move. It first came out on the German radio at 8:15 last night as a report from Lisbon. Press correspondents here have been putting several factors together today to arrive at the same conclusion.
Before he left the Prime Minister had prepared a statement to be given out for publication only in the event of a leakage. Eden foresees the possibility that something may have to be made public tomorrow and if so the Government does not want to say anything without our prior approval. The Government hopes to avoid having to make a statement but if it must be done, Eden thinks it would be best to make it to the House of Commons tomorrow, where the Prime Minister's absence with Attlee (1) as deputy is bound to be noted and may give rise to questions. This would furnish the occasion for making the statement. The text of the Prime Minister's own draft of a statement mentioned above is as follows:
"The Prime Minister accepted an invitation to meet President Roosevelt for a discussion of the general course of the war, the methods of United States' aid to Britain and matters of common interest.
The Prime Minister is accompanied by the First Sea Lord, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and the Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
The meeting is taking place on board ship somewhere in the Atlantic.
No further statement can be made at this stage as to the matters discussed at the meeting or the date of the Prime Minister's return to this country."
If it is necessary to issue the above statement the President might want to have a statement made to the people of the United States.
Eden said that a reply as to our concurrence or other views would be most useful if he might have it before 4 o'clock London time tomorrow afternoon.
If there is no reply he would tell the House that he had nothing to say at the time.