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259 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 131[A] LONDON, 20 August 1943, 7.38 p.m.


My telegram 130A. [1] Following is text of note sent to Prime Minister.


(1) It is of transcending importance that during the forthcoming meeting between the Prime Minister and the President, agreement on policy with regard to Post War security should be reached and immediate action to implement such policy should be taken.

(2) The broad bases of such policy should be those outlined by the Prime Minister at the Embassy lunch in Washington on the 22nd May.


(3) The policy suggested by the Prime Minister is one of great vision, covers all the fundamentals, is free from unnecessary detail such as would provoke controversy and, if jointly announced by the Prime Minister, the President, and Stalin, would have an electrifying effect upon the world.

(4) In view of recent developments time, however, may be short.

Unless agreement is reached while the war continues in Europe there is grave doubt, in my view, whether the opportunity may not be lost.

(5) My reasons for this view are- (a) United States of America. Reacting to the removal of the danger in Europe and at the same time fortified by the continuance of full co-operation by the British Empire in the Far East, America will tend to lose interest in Europe, the hand of the isolationists in their advocacy of non-intervention in Europe will be strengthened, the people will begin to relax and the administration will be increasingly handicapped by the approach of the Presidental election (this view is borne out by the attitude of the Americans, particularly Sumner Welles and Stimson, at the Embassy lunch on May 22nd).

(b) Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. After the war Russia is determined to make herself secure. This she will do either respectably or disreputably. If there has been no agreement on the [b]road [3] bases of Post War security, she will take action to make herself dominant in East and South East Europe, e.g. East Poland, Bessarabia, bases in Roumania, Sovietisation of the Balkans.

Such action, which neither the United Kingdom nor the United States of America will be in a position to prevent, will be ruthlessly pursued and will create a position in Europe even worse than that which existed prior to the war and will destroy all hopes of the Post War world we are visualising.

I believe, however, Russia wants to be respectable and maintain her position in the comity of nations to which she was restored by the Anglo-Soviet treaty. [4] That treaty ended the fear and inferiority complex that governed Russia for 20 years. There are signs that these complexes are reasserting themselves. Early action to prevent this is essential. The best form such action could take would be an approach to the Russians for cooperation in Post War security in which the position and importance of Russia were fully recognised.

1 Dispatched 20 August. On file AA:M100, August 1943. It advised Curtin that matters to be considered at the Quebec Conference had not been discussed by the U.K. War Cabinet, but that Bruce had sent a personal note to Churchill detailing his thoughts as to the issues to be discussed.

2 A record of this meeting is held by the Historical Section, Foreign Affairs Dept. Churchill had proposed the establishment of a Supreme World Council of the great powers, with three subordinate Regional Councils for Europe, the Americas and the Pacific.

3 Corrected from Bruce's copy on the file cited in note 1.

4 The Anglo-Russian alliance, concluded on 12 July 1941, provided for mutual assistance and support in the war against Germany.

[AA:A989, 43/735/762/3]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History