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Memorandum of Conversation by Mr. Harry L. Hopkins, Special Assistant to
President Roosevelt regarding a meeting with Anthony Eden March 27, 1943
March 27, 1943.
Subject: Eden Visit--Conference with the President, Anthony Eden, Cordell Hull,
Sumner Welles, Viscount Halifax, Mr. Wm. Strang
Hull raised the question of the 60 or 70 thousand Jews that are in Bulgaria and
are threatened with extermination unless we could get them out and, very
urgently, pressed Eden for an answer to the problem. Eden replied that the
whole problem of the Jews in Europe is very difficult and that we should move
very cautiously about offering to take all Jews out of a country like Bulgaria.
If we do that, then the Jews of the world will be wanting us to make similar
offers in Poland and Germany. Hitler might well take us up on any such offer
and there, simply are not enough ships and means of transportation in the world
to handle them.
Eden said that the British were ready to take about 60 thousand more Jews to
Palestine but the problem of transportation, even from Bulgaria to Palestine is
extremely difficult. Furthermore, any such mass movement as that would
be very dangerous to security because the Germans would be sure to attempt to
put a number of their agents in the group. They have been pretty successful
with this technique, both in getting their agents into North and South
Eden said that the forthcoming conferences in Bermuda on the whole refugee
problem must come to grips with this difficult situation.
Eden said he hoped that on our side we would not make too expansive promises
which could not be delivered because of lack of shipping.
There was a general discussion about the organization of the United Nations
after the war. The President and Welles were very emphatic that the United
States could not be a member of any independent regional body such as a
European Council; they felt that all theUnited Nations should be members of one
body for the purposes of recommending policy; that this body should be
world-wide in scope.
2. That there would be under this body regional councils with similar advisory
powers made up of the nations geographically located in the regions; but,
finally, that, the real decisions should be made by the United States, Great
Britain, Russia and China, who would be the powers for many years to come that
would have to police the world.
The President was very insistent with Eden that China should be a member, altho
it was clear to me that Eden still was not convinced of the wisdom of the
procedure. The President feels that China, in any serious conflict of policy
with Russia, would undoubtedly line up on our side.
I said that Churchill's speech in which he advocated a purely European Council
of Nations, had a very unfortunate effect over here. Eden said he was sure
Churchill had not meant to exclude the United States and that he rather felt
that Churchill spoke on the spur of the moment and that he, Eden, agreed that
the United Nations should be organized on a global basis.
The whole idea of the trusteeship of mandated islands, etc. was discussed and
the President and Eden seemed to be much closer together than they were at the
beginning of their conferences on this policy.
The President made it clear that he did not want a commitment made in advance
that all those colonies in the Far East should go back to the countries which
owned or controlled them prior to the war. He specifically mentioned Timor,
Portugal, Indo-China and France. He suggested that all the specific problems
which Mr. Eden had raised in his visit here be referred to the State Department
and they asked to start exploratory discussions with the British or with any
other country in regard to all of them.
I said I thought it would have a, very bad effect, both in England and the
United States, if the world got the impression that the United States and
England were, together, planning the future of the world without consulting
anyone else. Eden agreed to this and said the British were conducting direct
conferences on matters that concerned them and Russia and lie assumed we would
do the same thing.
H[ARRY] L. H[OPKINS]
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