Kennedy: The British are a lost cause

Joseph Kennedy

Joseph Kennedy, the United States Ambassador to London in 1940, and father of future
President J. F. Kennedy, was notoriously gloomy about British prospects in the war. However Roosevelt was taking soundings from many quarters and a U.S. military mission to Britain took an entirely different view.

Secretary of State, Washington DC

From United States Ambassador, Joseph Kennedy

Dateline: London, 27 September

For the President and the Secretary

The night raids are continuing to do, I think, substantial damage, and the day raids of the last three days have dealt most serious blows to Bristol, Southampton, and Liverpool. Production is definitely falling, regardless of what reports you may be getting, and with transportation smashed up the way it is, the present production output will continue to fall.

My own feeling is that… [the British] are in a bad way. Bombers have got through in the daytime on the last three days, and on four occasions today substantial numbers of German planes have flown over London and have done some daylight bombing.

I cannot impress upon you strongly enough my complete lack of confidence in the entire [British] conduct of this war. I was delighted to see that the President said he was not going to enter the war because to enter this war, imagining for a minute that the English have anything to offer in the line of leadership or productive capacity in industry that could be of the slightest value to us, would be a complete misapprehension.

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