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

Cablegram 132 WASHINGTON, [21 June 1940] [1]

My telegram 117. [2]

Opinion here continues to be divided. There is a strong movement, especially in usually isolationist middle west, for all aid to Allies short of actual participation in war. [A hard] fighting isolationist party especially in Senate supporting stronger national defence and opposing supplies to Allies of materials from Government sources on grounds that it may impair defence of United States. In between is a large body of bewildered opinion much of which would respond [to a strong lead] if only it were forthcoming. Rather widespread preoccupation with what are regarded as vital interests of United States and needs of local defence is discouraging interventionists and encouraging isolationists.

It is too early to anticipate effect of new appointments of Republicans Knox [3] and Stimson [4] to President's Cabinet. It win certainly strengthen it but whether President will as a result take stronger line remains to be seen. Some observers fear that Republican Party which has promptly disowned both men may adopt strong anti-war, anti-Allied aid, all for national defence policy in endeavour to catch isolationist votes. This would be reversal increasing tendency support aid for Allies exhibited by Willkie [5] and even though hesitatingly by Vandenburg [6] and a return to strict isolationist attitude maintained by Taft and more or less by Dewey. [7]

CASEY

1 Insertions in square brackets have been taken from the Washington file copy on AA: A3300, 18.

2 Document 366.

3 U.S. Secretary of the Navy.

4 U.S. Secretary of War.

5 Willkie and Dewey were candidates for the Republican nomination for the 1940 U.S. Presidential election.

6 Vandenberg and Taft were U.S. Senators.

7 This cablegram was repeated as no. 41 to S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London.

[AA: A981, ITALY 60B]