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74 McDougall to Burton

Letter (extract) LONDON, 12 November 1942


You refer to my visit to America [1] and I presume you mean in
1941. Well 1942 was still more interesting. After the Wheat
Council was over and I had attended a meeting of the Economic and
Financial Committees of the League at Princeton, N.J., I started
to renew the 1941 contacts. Henry Wallace, the Vice-President, and
Sumner Welles were most cordial. Welles, who has a reputation for
being glacial, was quite extraordinarily pleasant. He asked me to
see Berle and Acheson and others to glean the lines of the State
Department post-war thinking and then to see him again.

I have drafted a long letter from S.M.B. to the P.M. giving a
fairly full account of my impressions [2] and I have no doubt this
will come your way. The thinking of the Administration is pretty
bold. They seem to envisage a World Authority with political,
security, economic and social functions. Membership to be
automatic, no resignations or failure to contribute to be
possible; on the economic side the main idea is to secure an
expansive world economy. The devices for this to be a series of
linked international authorities-an International Bank (or perhaps
the Keynesian Clearing Union, which is a neater device than Harry
White's (of the U.S. Treasury) International Bank)-an
International Investment Corporation-a Raw Materials Authority-a
Transport body-a General Council to coordinate the work of
separate Commodity Controls such as the Wheat Council-a
Development Authority about which I had many talks with Hansen.

[3] American official ideas are not crystal clear but the trend is
towards bold thinking. The failure to start informal talks with
U.K. is due (a) to the feeling that unless they have cleared their
own minds, the British will put one over them [and] (b) Cordell
Hull's advice to refrain from any public talk about post-war until
the war was going well. (Bad advice which led to the loss of seats
at the elections [4] I fancy.)
After I had gained a general impression, I rather indignantly told
the State Department that there was no preparatory work about Food
and Agriculture. They said this was due to a failure by the U.S.

Department of Agriculture to put up a preliminary paper. I was
asked to collaborate in getting this gap filled. We therefore
formed an unofficial group-Appleby, the Under Secretary of
Agriculture; Tolley, Director of the Bureau of Agricultural
Economics; Wheeler, Director of the Office of Foreign Agricultural
Relations; Baldwin, Administrator of Farm Security; M. L. Wilson,
Director of Extension Services; several of their officers; Harry
Hawkins and Bob Carr, of the State Department; people to represent
Milo Perkins, the Office of War Information, Dr Parran, the U.S.

Surgeon-General, and two scientists from the Committee on Food and
Nutrition. We also had Prof. Hansen, Cairns [5], Twentyman (of the
U.K. Food Mission). Sir John Orr [6] arrived in time for the final
stage and I brought McCarthy into some of the discussions. The
Vice-President took a considerable interest and spoke at a
preliminary dinner we held.

The upshot was a memorandum with several appendices. This is
unofficial, of course, but will be carefully considered in the
State Department and may become the basis for Administration views
on the subject. I brought back one incomplete copy and have had it
duplicated. I am sending you a copy. [7] S.M.B. is forwarding one
to the P.M.

I am now satisfied that Wallace, Welles, Berle and Acheson desire
to give Food and Agriculture high priority in the American plans
for reconstruction. They are very different and even somewhat
mutually antagonistic but they agree on this point. I saw a lot of
Wallace and liked him a lot. He hates a Tory and finds it
difficult to believe that anyone from Whitehall can be anything
but a Tory. He introduced me to Mr Justice Jackson as 'A World New
Dealer'. It's a bit difficult to visualize Wallace dressed up to
look like a President but he is a man to reckon with. I was very
much impressed by Justice Jackson and liked Douglas. Frankfurter
[8] was much [sic] cordial but while I liked him, he made rather a
lighter impression than the other two. I saw a little of Jacob
Viner [9], a lot of Hansen and also of Riefler [10], who is now
over here.

I hurried back to get into the U.K.-Dominion talks. [11] Keynes
was most able and tolerant, the Treasury folk very much a phalanx
to support Keynes. It is possible that Keynes is one of the very
few great Englishmen but it's a pity that his intellectual
arrogance is so thinly veiled. He goes down very badly in

I found Wilson [12] easy to get on with and his offsider Fletcher
[13] is a good chap. The Canadians and Wilson made useful

In Washington and in London I have been urging the need to use
plans for relief and for reconstruction as our main armament in
political warfare. I sent you a paper about this which you may not
have received. [14] The V.P., Welles and I believe Hull, were
interested and the V.P. took it to F.D.R. [15] The Office of War
Information were very keen, especially MacLeish and Sherwood. I
did not see Elmer Davis.

It seems certain that there will be a great increase in the tempo
of work on the three R's-Relief-Rehabilitation-Reconstruction.

You'll get a pretty good idea of my way of thinking from the
enclosed paper.

I hope Wilson will have time on his way back to get his own first
hand impressions of Washington thinking.

You make a mistake if you underrate S.M.B. He has I think no
political ambitions but he does a sterling job for Australia, and
he has the advantage for London of looking like a Tory but not
being one. He has made great contribution during the war and will
work for the sort of peace you and I desire. The idea current
among some Australians that he is 'angelice' [sic] is hopelessly


1 Burton's letter has not been found.

2 See Document 78.

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

4 At the U.S. Congressional elections on 3 November the Republican
Party gained a considerable number of seats in the Senate and
House of Representatives, although the Democrats retained a
majority in both houses.

5 Andrew Cairns, Secretary of the international Wheat Council.

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

7 Published as an attachment to Document 78.

8 Jackson, Douglas and Frankfurter were all Associate Justices of
the U.S. Supreme Court.

9 Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, and adviser to
the U.S. Treasury.

10 Professor in the School of Economics and Politics, Institute
for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. Riefler had gone to
London to act as economic adviser to the U.S. Ambassador.

11 See Document 104.

12 i.e. Dr Roland Wilson.

13 Assistant Treaties Officer, Trade and Customs Dept. Jacob
Fletcher had gone to the United States with E. J. McCarthy in
August 1941 to take part in trade negotiations.

14 Published as an attachment to Document 42. The copy sent to
Burton is on file AA:A989, 43/735/658.

15 i.e. President Roosevelt.

[AA:A989, 43/735/658]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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