Date range
Open the calendar popup.
Open the calendar popup.

61 McDougall to Bruce

Letter WASHINGTON, 16 October 1942

Yesterday I got your telegram [1] again telling me to postpone my departure if this is necessary owing to the delay in Orr's [2] arrival. There is no news about Orr save the telegram I had from Alfred Stirling saying that the U.S. Embassy London anticipated that he would arrive on Sunday or Monday. [3]

This suggests that I may be able to take the first clipper leaving after the 25th or 26th. Orr's delayed arrival is a great nuisance.

However we are getting everything ready for a series of meetings.

[4] The draft of our statement [5] has had one joint revision. I gave Roland Wilson a copy to convey to you. We are also getting the necessary appendices completed. I am postponing any further meetings until Orr's arrival. I have guessed that Orr will bring a certain point of view which may include the results of talks with you and possibly with some U.K. authorities.

I hope we can have our meeting on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and get the Statement completed by Saturday.

I should like to see Mr Wallace with it before leaving.

On Tuesday (Oct 13th) I had a most satisfactory hour with Mr Welles. He started by saying that he had been unhappily conscious of a gap in the State Department's preparations on reconstruction because the Department of Agriculture had not found time to do a real job on Food and Agriculture. He had now been told that this gap was being well filled by our joint group's work and that pleased him very much. We then talked about other aspects. He said that the State Department had made more progress on the political and constitutional side than the economic but that he anticipated that by the middle of December the committees on all aspects of reconstruction would have reported and that it would then be possible to go to the President and propose methods of consultation with other nations.

I stressed the need for rapid action and suggested that we might not have more than 18 months in which to formulate joint schemes, obtain the approval of Governments, and sell the ideas to the peoples of U.S.A., the U.K., the Dominions, and put them across the air to Europe. Welles said he agreed. He had read and had much liked my 'Progress in the War of Ideas' memo [6] and shared the view that political warfare might play an important part provided it was supplied with proper munitions.

He said however that the U.S. Govt must know its own mind before engaging in discussions with other nations including the U.K. I suggested that there would be advantages in informal discussions before the i's were dotted or the t's crossed in U.S. schemes. It was harder to modify completed proposals than those which were in a less advanced stage. I think Welles tended to agree.

I said that there was some conflict of view in Washington about the functions of the Relief Administration. Some thought it should be a short term body, others that it should grow to become the principal United Nations body for reconstruction. I said that one factor influenced my mind, namely that while the Director-General of Relief would need the qualities of a high power business executive, the principal man on reconstruction would need the qualities of a statesman. Welles indicated that his own mind tended towards confining the Relief Administration to Relief and that such longer term functions as it had to engage in should at the close of the relief period be handed over to more permanent bodies. Acheson and I expect Leith Ross take the other view.

Incidentally Acheson mentioned Paul Appleby as a possible Director-General of Relief The end of my talk with Mr Welles was most cordial. He said he hoped we should get to a United Nations basis early in 1943 and hoped I should be back in Washington then.

I suggested that he should send you his Boston speech, he said he would. [7] It contains some very good passages.

Today I saw Hansen [8] and we talked about a method of progress for a United Nations ... [9] The idea is illustrated in a sketch I have made and enclose. [10]

The Technical Commissions would be appointed by the Policy Committee on the recommendation of the Chairman. The Chairman and his Secretariat would be responsible for coordinating the work of the Technical Commissions and for keeping touch with all United Nations Governments.

We have had four days of continuous heavy rain and the Potomac is a raging flood. The newspapers talk of an all-high flood record.

I had a couple of talks with Roland Wilson. He is certainly intelligent. You will be glad that I brought McCarthy into the Food and Agriculture talks. He seemed quite keen.

I am a bit disturbed over the American attitude about India, it's the worst block to Anglo-American understanding at present. [11]

I look forward to discussing some of the points better not written about.


1 Not found.

2 Professor of Agriculture, University of Aberdeen, and an expert on health and nutrition.

3 Not found.

4 See Documents 74 and 78.

5 Published as an attachment to Document 78.

6 Published as an attachment to Document 42.

7 Welles dispatched a copy of this speech to Bruce with a covering note on 14 October (see file AA:M104, 10).

8 Professor of Political Economy, Harvard University, and economic adviser to the U.S. Govt.

9 Word indecipherable. It may have read 'front'.

10 On the file cited in note 7.

11 See Document 40.

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

Category: International relations

Topic: History