347 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London

Cablegram 33 WASHINGTON, 7 June 1940


Your telegram No. 19. [1]

What you say about desirability President making immediate declaration is quite true.

Such declaration would be in their best interests and ours and might even now stop Italian intervention. Both Lothian [2] and myself have put this to President, Secretary of State [3] and Sumner Welles [4] but President steadily refuses to do it. They all say in effect 'We know our own public opinion by long experience. You must let us proceed in our own way. Public opinion is moving rapidly but a premature step might wen set back the trend by many months by creating a hostile bloc in Congress whose opposition it would be impossible to overcome under the United States Constitution'.

Admittedly every week that America postpones entry into war makes situation more difficult to retrieve for them and for us.

They know this. I believe that they realise facts of present position and what future probably holds.

I believe, and I am sure the Administration believes, that the state of American public opinion will enable the President to bring them into the war on some future date. The President believes that time has not yet arrived when he could do this.

Entry of Italy will no doubt expedite matters although from our own point of view it makes serious deterioration in Allies' position. Situation of Allies today is bad in prospect but not bad in actuality. The worse Allied position becomes in actuality the sooner will America intervene as their own danger will become more stark and apparent to them.

The President evidently does not believe he can hasten their awakening faster than it is now happening.

Little as one may like the above statement I am convinced that it represents facts of present situation here. I have shown Lothian your cable and this reply with which he entirely agrees. [5]

1 Document 346.

2 U.K. Ambassador to the United States.

3 Cordell Hull.

4 U.S. Under-Secretary of State.

5 On 15 June 1940 Casey sent a copy of this cablegram to the Prime Minister, R. G. Menzies-It was prefaced by the note: 'In Bruce's cable of 14 June [Document 382] he quotes his cable to me of 6th June which I did not know had also been sent to you. My reply to Bruce on 7th June in telegram 0.33 is very nearly as true today as it was when sent.' (See Casey's cablegram 122 of 15 June on file AA: A1608, A41/1/5, ii.)

[AA: A3300, 47]