The Washington Conference 1941-1942
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The British Lord Privy Seal (Attlee) to Prime Minister Churchill (1)

Roosevelt Papers

[London,] December 25,1941.



No Cop[ies]

Taut No. 185. Following from Lord Privy Seal for Prime Minister.

Your Grey Number 78 (2) considered by War Cabinet this afternoon. We are in general agreement with draft declaration of common purpose but with following comments:

(i) It is not clear from draft what States are to sign. The concluding sentence in first draft (3) suggests possibility of subsequent signatures. This may be only to keep open a door for South American States. We think it difficult to find any satisfactory halfway house between a declaration signed

(a) by yourself and President, and

(b) by all allies.

We do not see how one can pick and choose in view of generality of declaration.

The Polish Prime Minister has strongly urged this afternoon that if there is to be any declaration(s), Poland as our first ally in this war should be a party to it. We believe other allied governments would hold same view(s), and we strongly favour a declaration signed by all allies. It was intended this would give necessary emphasis to fact that this war is being waged for freedom of small nations as well as great. We would hope allied governments would be given a chance of adhering to declaration before it is published, even if this means a day or two's delay.

(ii) Para (i) of first alternative came to us in following form "Court of Governments pledges itself to employ its full resources against Axis forces conquest and to continue such employment until these forces have been finally defeated." We assume this is a mistake for "each government pledges itself to employ its full resources against Axis forces of conquest".

We take it that endeavours in this, as in other draft is to find a form of working which without any explicit statement recognizes distinctive position of U.S.S.R. in respect of enemy power(s).

It may be that this device is only one whereby the signature(s) of all the allies can be obtained to one declaration. But it gives a certain obscurity to declaration.

(iii) Should it be decided to embody in final declaration a reference to Governments which signed the tripartite Pact this should take form of "the Governments which have signed and adhered to tripartite Pact of (Repeat) of 27th November 1940 and not on (Repeat) on 27 November 1940 since when there have been many adherences to Pact.(4)

(iv) We think declaration should include a pledge by each Government not to conclude a separate peace. We therefore favour first alternative draft.

(v) On terms of declaration, while we appreciate that Atlantic Charter is mentioned, we think that immediately following the words, which in effect recites many main points in Charter, will be criticised for omission of any reference to social security. We suggest this might be inserted as follows: "Righteous possibility of human freedom justice and social security not only in their own lands, etc." (5)

(1) The source text is the copy of this telegram that Churchill left with Roosevelt. See Roosevelt's memorandum of December 27 to Hull, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. I, p. 13. Back

(2) Not found in American files. Back

(3) The only draft which appears to have contained such a concluding sentence is the draft of December 14, ante, p. 12. The "second draft" was presumably the text of December 19, a p. m., ante, p. 39. For a draft of December 19,1 p. m., see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. I, p. 4. Back

(4) See Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945, series D, vol. XI, (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1960), pp. 204-209. Back

(5) This Insertion was apparently intended to be made in the third paragraph of the "first draft", i.e., the draft of December 14, ante, p. 12. Back

Foreign Relations of the United States
The Conferences at Washington, 1941-1942 and Casablanca, 1943
Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1968

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