307 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 103 WASHINGTON, 29 May 1940

Following on my No. 100. [1]

Please read following in light of my No. 88 [2] which is still basically correct.

It needs very great restraint not to get impatient or worse with situation here but I am convinced that our best interests are served by no critical public statements.

The viewpoint of large numbers of people here is that American vested interests in continuance of democratic institutions demand immediate American participation in war against Germany but although large in numbers such views are undoubtedly still in minority amongst population. There is no doubt that majority of Congress is against participation and even against open Governmental assistance to Allies with arms and money.

The person whom I called upon yesterday [3] said to me that if legislative measures had to be brought before Congress relating to Governmental assistance to Allies it would provoke three weeks acid debate that would do more harm than good and might reverse present public opinion trend.

Present trend is more favourable to Allied cause all the time and there is very favourable background that would make active participation possible provided something happened that trod hard and specifically on America's toes.

Public opinion is the real Government of this country. The divorcing of the Executive cabinet from the legislature means that President cannot face Congress up to an issue under threat of a general election. Majority of Congress is opposed to participation and have committed themselves publicly to such views in course of pre election campaign in last two months and only thing that will change this attitude is swing of public opinion. There is only one person who has any chance of swinging public opinion quickly and that is the President and he does not believe he could do so unless some specific incident occurs.

The fact that the public have recently woken up with alarm to the relative defencelessness of the U.S.A. is being made use of by the Isolationist element to urge either that in any case the U.S.A.

could not help the Allies before it was too late or that the U.S.A. must not weaken its own defences by trying to help others.

Those who believe in intervention are doing their best to rouse the country to the danger which would face the U.S.A. in the event of a German victory and the public has certainly been impressed by the danger they would be faced with should the British fleet for any reason cease to exist. [4]

1 Document 300.

2 Document 251.

3 Franklin D. Roosevelt, U.S. President. See Document 300.

4 A note in F. K. Officer's handwriting at the end of this cablegram said that it had been repeated as no. 26 to S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London.

[AA: A3300, 18]