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22 McDougall to Bruce

Letter WASHINGTON, 13 August [1942]


I wrote to you on Monday Aug 10th [1] following my first talk with Sumner Welles. Since then I have been seeing people all day and each evening.

On Wednesday I had 1 1/2 hours with Mr Wallace. For the first time I found him very easy to talk with and he showed the keenest interest in the Food approach and saw at once its significance for political warfare. He wants to see if it is possible to go right ahead but considers that this mainly depends upon whether we can get the State Department to take the right line.

He gave me his views of leading personalities here and said that the key people at the State Department for these purposes were Sumner Welles, Berle and Acheson. There is no doubt about where Wallace stands and I obtained a much better impression of him as a man and as a statesman than ever before. He is intensely interested in the commodity problem-war and post-war. He told me that Jesse Jones had been conspiring to get synthetic rubber protected after the war and in consequence had written an article for the New York Magazine on Rubber. I am briefly summarizing his article in the attached note. [2]

Wallace asked me to see the people in the Office of War Information about the political warfare aspects of the Food approach. I have thus far seen MacLeish the second man and two others. Elmer Davis the chief I may see shortly.

Wallace was also keenly interested in the Security aspects of buffer stocks or as he prefers to say 'ever-normal granaries'.

I am to dine with Berle one of the Assnt Secretaries of State on Monday Aug 17th.

Acheson I have not yet seen. Harold Butler is making a good impression. I've only had a few words but we lunch on the 17th.

Boudreau [3] I saw today. He is extremely keen. He asked to be warmly remembered to you. There is no doubt that the people here that I have seen are definitely pleased about my coming over. The attitude is rather like this. There is much confusion and a good deal of jockeying for position between Departments. A keen outsider comes into the picture and may be able to get action by bringing people together on an extra-departmental basis.

As regards the general atmosphere there is a considerable feeling that the American people badly need a positive conception of the purposes for which they are fighting. There is a considerable volume of criticism of the Executive on various grounds, sufficient to cause some anxiety about the results of the November elections. Wallace and many others think the President should come right out with a fuller and more concrete declaration about our joint purposes. Others counsel great caution.

Wallace asked Herridge [4] of Canada to talk to me and I am enclosing a separate note about the line Herridge took.

I don't feel that I am yet in a position to sum up my present impressions.

Have you considered writing to Mr Curtin regarding our general line and the American interest in the subject.

I am also anxious to be advised by you as to whether I am to write to External Affairs at Canberra about the American reactions to our lines of country.


1 This letter (which was in fact dated 11 August) is on file AA:M104, 10.

2 Attachments referred to in this letter are on the file cited in note 1.

3 Dr Frank G. Boudreau was Executive Director of the Milbank Memorial Fund and had had a distinguished career in the fields of public health and nutrition, including service with the League of Nations and U.S. Govt agencies.

4 A barrister who had been Canadian Minister to the United States from 1931 to 1935.

[AA:M104, 10]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History