Roosevelt and Hopkins, an Intimate History

By Robert E. Sherwood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
No. 10 Downing Street

Around Christmas, 1940, Roosevelt was mulling over the numerous implications of the letter he had received from Churchill, particularly in relation to the strategic importance of Ireland and the part that the United States might play in negotiations with De Valera. The names of such eminent Irish-Americans as Joseph P. Kennedy and William J. Donovan were mentioned as possible emissaries. Roosevelt said,

"You know—a lot of this could be settled if Churchill and I could just sit down together for awhile."

"What's stopping you?" Hopkins asked.

"Well—it couldn't be arranged right now. They have no Ambassador here—we have none over there."

The gleam of high adventure came into Hopkins' sharp eyes. "How about me going over, Mr. President?"

Roosevelt turned that suggestion down cold. He pointed to all the work he had ahead of him—a State of the Union Message, a gigantic budget, the Third Inaugural, the Lend-Lease fight.

"I'll be of no use to you in that fight," said Hopkins. "They'd never pay any attention to my views, except to vote the other way. But—if I had been in England and seen it with my own eyes, then I might be of some help."

Still Roosevelt refused to hear of such a proposal. However, Hopkins now had an idea that seemed to him eminently sound, and certainly intensely exciting, and he would not let go of it. He enlisted the aid of Missy LeHand and of Justice Felix Frankfurter who seldom offered any advice to Roosevelt after his elevation to the Supreme Court, but who was listened to when he did speak.

Roosevelt remained obdurate and, after days of intensive effort. Hopkins was about ready to give up. We were working at the time on

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