The Washington Conference 1941-1942
Previous Document Washington Conference 1941-42 Next Document

The President to the Secretary of State

Hopkins Papers

WASHINGTON, December 27, 1941.(1)


The Prime Minister showed me the War Cabinet recommendations relative to the draft of a Joint Declaration.(2) I have reread the draft (3) and I have these comments to make:

1. I think every effort should be made to get religious freedom into this document. I believe Litvinoff can be induced to agree to this.

2. I think the language on page 2, paragraph 1 is difficult for the Russians.(4) Some such language as this might handle it:

"Each government pledges itself to employ its full resources against those Axis forces of conquest with which it is at war. Each government pledges itself to continue such employment until these forces have been finally defeated."

I have been trying to think of a way to obviate the necessity of two different documents.(5)

3. I believe the list of countries in paragraph 1 should include all of the nations at war, including the South American Republics. It seems to me a distinct advantage to have as long a list of small countries as possible in this Declaration.

4. I believe that China and the U.S.S.R. should be lifted from an alphabetical listing and included as are the United States and the British Empire on the theory that they are fighting in their own countries

I have a feeling the U.S.S.R. would not be pleased to see their name following some of the countries which are realistically making a minor contribution.

5. I presume it is up to the British to decide whether or not India should be included, but I don't understand why they don't include it. Perhaps you could prod them a little.

6. I feel that the Free French should not be included in this document.

I am anxious that the most careful thought be given to the language in this Declaration, which will supplement the Atlantic statement, particularly in reference to the real purposes for which we fight.

As soon as you and Halifax have reached a meeting of minds on a Joint Declaration, I think we should have a prompt conference between yourself, Halifax, the Prime Minister and me.(6)


(1) This memorandum was sent to the Department of State on the afternoon of December AT, i.e., after Roosevelt's lunch with Litvinov; see ante, p. 112. Back

(2) The war Cabinet's recommendations are printed ante, p. 364. Back

(3) From textual evidence it is clear that the draft which Roosevelt had in mind was the draft of December 19, 6 p. m., ante, p. 39. Back

(4) The paragraph under reference is the paragraph numbered (1) in the draft declaration, ante, pp. 39-40. Back

(5) The other document under reference is the draft agreement for a Supreme War Council December 19, 6 p m., ante, p. 40. In response to this expression of the President's wishes, the Department of State immediately prepared a new document combining both proposals. Hull took this "amalgamated draft" to the White House meeting at 6 p. m. (ante p. 124), but since it was then decided to proceed with the Joint declaration of Allied unity by itself, there was no further consideration of the "amalgamated draft". The text of this draft is printed in Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. I, p. 16. Back

(6) For the discussion with Halifax, which took place later the same afternoon, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. I, p. 15. Immediately after this discussion Hull and Halifax went to the White House for the meeting with Roosevelt and Churchill, ante, p. 124. For a memorandum by Welles of a related conversation with Halifax on the morning of December 27, see Foreign Relations, 1941 vol. II, p. 201. Back

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

Previous Document Washington Conference 1941-42 Next Document

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.