427 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister (in London)

Cablegram 50 WASHINGTON, 24 April [1941], 11 p.m.

I have lately suggested following to British Ambassador. [1]

The United States has expressed, through the President [2], in unmistakable terms, its interest in the survival of the British countries and in the defeat of our enemies.

Both the President and Churchill have expressed on more than one occasion-but on separate occasions and unilaterally-the conviction that the continued existence of our respective countries is of mutual and vital interest.

I suggest for consideration that at some early date these separate statements of mutual interest should be brought together in previously agreed parallel statements by Churchill and by the President to the general effect that the mutuality of interest in the defeat of Hitlerism makes a compelling case for wholehearted mutual co-operation between the United States and the British Commonwealth 'each in their respective spheres'.

Analogy might be employed that British Commonwealth and United States are as essential to each other as one blade of pair of scissors is to the other.

The wartime bait to America is British sea Power. The wartime bait to Britain is American productive capacity. The mutual wartime and postwar responsibility of both countries is that they are sole trustees for decency and democracy in world.

Dependent on appropriate time and circumstances I suggest also for consideration that, after appropriate consultation with Dominion Governments, Churchill might make spontaneous public offer to United States of either sites for American naval and air bases or the joint use of existing bases in any part of the British Empire or Commonwealth. If such an offer were to be accepted, even in small degree, it would result in closer integration. Even if nothing practical came out of such an offer, it could not fail to be taken as a most generous and large-minded proposal on our part.

Whether or not above should be linked up with Lend Lease is matter of judgement. Many sympathetic Americans believe that some big gesture by British countries would be useful finally to wash out dollar sign.

The bases in West Indies appealed profoundly to the American Public. Security is watchword in United States at present. The lack of adequate bases available to the United States at any distance from their home shores is most marked and will be more so in future years when the large American naval building programme has broadly doubled the tonnage of the United States Navy.

Clearly, the timing and method of presentation of above, if acceptable, Would need considerable thought and care, particularly to avoid any suggestion that we are seeking publicly to capitalize on a matter that might be said to have been inherent in the recent naval staff talks. [3]

1 Lord Halifax.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 This cablegram was repeated to Canberra as savingram 8.

[AA: A3300, 96]