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29 McDougall to Bruce Letter WASHINGTON, 26 August 1942

On August 24th, I dined at the White House at Mrs. Roosevelt's
request and had the great pleasure of sitting next to the
President at a 'family' dinner. Harry Hopkins and his new wife and
several young people associated with Mrs. Roosevelt's activities
made up the party. The President was in good form and talked with
great animation. I did not attempt to press our ideas too hard but
talked to him about the war of ideas and the need for ammunition
for that war in the shape of concrete schemes to give real meaning
to the Atlantic Charter and to the phrase Freedom from Want. He
seemed to like that line of country and could not have been nicer.

After dinner we saw a film and then the President retired to work.

He is certainly a most remarkable man and his immense vivacity is
extraordinarily attractive. I am very grateful to Mrs. Roosevelt
for arranging this opportunity.

Tonight we had a dinner consisting of the Vice President, Milo
Perkins, Harold Butler, Barbara Ward (a remarkable young
Englishwoman-Assistant Editor of the Economist and Hon. Secretary
of Cardinal Hinsley's [1] 'Sword of the Spirit' movement [2]),
Riefler [3] and myself. We discussed reconstruction and the need
for early action. I am to see Mr. Wallace again tomorrow.

I have now reached the stage when I shall ask tomorrow for a
second appointment with Mr. Sumner Welles.

As a result of my talks over the weekend with Harry Hawkins and
other State Department officials, I have put together a much
revised edition of the paper I sent you in my last letter. [4] I
hope you will like this; if you do, I suggest you might give a
copy to Cripps. [5] I hope, in a few days, to be able to let you
know how the Vice President and Mr. Sumner Welles feel about
immediate action along the lines indicated in the memorandum and
especially about early action in regard to food and agriculture. I
have not seen Sir Owen Dixon again; he has gone to Detroit for
some days.

The case for the most immediate action along the lines indicated
in the memorandum seems to be overwhelmingly strong. It is
difficult to see what disadvantages it would have. It would be for
the U.S. and U.K. Governments to determine when to launch the
actual publicity but, unless we get to work now, we shall not be
in an effective position to act whenever the time is considered to
be ripe.

I expect you are having much to think about now that the Prime
Minister has returned. I hope you continue to get some golf. I've
not touched a club as yet. [6]


1 Archbishop of Westminister.

2 This movement, founded by Cardinal Hinsley, aimed to restore a
Christian basis to public and private life as a means of achieving
lasting peace. It was inspired by a letter signed by the
Archbishops of Westminster, Canterbury and York, and the Moderator
of the Free Church Federal Council, setting out a ten-point peace
plan which they urged govts to adopt (see the Times, at December
1940, p. 5)
2 Professor in the School of Economics and Politics, Institute for
Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. Riefler went to London in
September 1942 to act as economic adviser (with the rank of
Minister) to the U.S. Ambassador.

4 Documents cited in this letter are on file AA:M104, 10.

5 See Document 42.

6 McDougall added the following postscript to this letter:

'I have just heard that General Eisenhower of the U.S. Army in the
U.K. is greatly interested in political warfare. He talked to
MacLeish about the need for action. I suggest you should see him
and, if you think well of the idea, give him a copy of the
enclosed memorandum. Eisenhower's brother is one of the senior
officials in the Office of War Information. If the General is
actually keen on the prosecution of the war of ideas he might be a
most useful ally in London.'

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