29 McDougall to Bruce Letter WASHINGTON, 26 August 1942

On August 24th, I dined at the White House at Mrs. Roosevelt's request and had the great pleasure of sitting next to the President at a 'family' dinner. Harry Hopkins and his new wife and several young people associated with Mrs. Roosevelt's activities made up the party. The President was in good form and talked with great animation. I did not attempt to press our ideas too hard but talked to him about the war of ideas and the need for ammunition for that war in the shape of concrete schemes to give real meaning to the Atlantic Charter and to the phrase Freedom from Want. He seemed to like that line of country and could not have been nicer.

After dinner we saw a film and then the President retired to work.

He is certainly a most remarkable man and his immense vivacity is extraordinarily attractive. I am very grateful to Mrs. Roosevelt for arranging this opportunity.

Tonight we had a dinner consisting of the Vice President, Milo Perkins, Harold Butler, Barbara Ward (a remarkable young Englishwoman-Assistant Editor of the Economist and Hon. Secretary of Cardinal Hinsley's [1] 'Sword of the Spirit' movement [2]), Riefler [3] and myself. We discussed reconstruction and the need for early action. I am to see Mr. Wallace again tomorrow.

I have now reached the stage when I shall ask tomorrow for a second appointment with Mr. Sumner Welles.

As a result of my talks over the weekend with Harry Hawkins and other State Department officials, I have put together a much revised edition of the paper I sent you in my last letter. [4] I hope you will like this; if you do, I suggest you might give a copy to Cripps. [5] I hope, in a few days, to be able to let you know how the Vice President and Mr. Sumner Welles feel about immediate action along the lines indicated in the memorandum and especially about early action in regard to food and agriculture. I have not seen Sir Owen Dixon again; he has gone to Detroit for some days.

The case for the most immediate action along the lines indicated in the memorandum seems to be overwhelmingly strong. It is difficult to see what disadvantages it would have. It would be for the U.S. and U.K. Governments to determine when to launch the actual publicity but, unless we get to work now, we shall not be in an effective position to act whenever the time is considered to be ripe.

I expect you are having much to think about now that the Prime Minister has returned. I hope you continue to get some golf. I've not touched a club as yet. [6]

F. L. MCDOUGALL

1 Archbishop of Westminister.

2 This movement, founded by Cardinal Hinsley, aimed to restore a Christian basis to public and private life as a means of achieving lasting peace. It was inspired by a letter signed by the Archbishops of Westminster, Canterbury and York, and the Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council, setting out a ten-point peace plan which they urged govts to adopt (see the Times, at December 1940, p. 5) 2 Professor in the School of Economics and Politics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. Riefler went to London in September 1942 to act as economic adviser (with the rank of Minister) to the U.S. Ambassador.

4 Documents cited in this letter are on file AA:M104, 10.

5 See Document 42.

6 McDougall added the following postscript to this letter:

'I have just heard that General Eisenhower of the U.S. Army in the U.K. is greatly interested in political warfare. He talked to MacLeish about the need for action. I suggest you should see him and, if you think well of the idea, give him a copy of the enclosed memorandum. Eisenhower's brother is one of the senior officials in the Office of War Information. If the General is actually keen on the prosecution of the war of ideas he might be a most useful ally in London.'

[AA:M104, 10]