Ohio History Journal

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edited by

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Cincinnati Through English

Spectacles: A British Diplomat's

Confidential View in 1945





In the months immediately following the Second World War, British consuls sta-

tioned throughout the United States forwarded to the London Foreign Office a sub-

stantial number of telegrams, memoranda, and dispatches regarding the climate of

American opinion toward England. What Winston Churchill had called "the Grand

Alliance" seemed, in the judgment of many of these diplomats, to be an increasingly

tenuous liaison.l The post-war world contained new and often divisive circumstances

in contradistinction to the unity produced by a common cause in the period of hos-

tilities. Some of the consuls cautioned against allowing satisfaction with the Allied

victory to obscure the implications and significance of another reality: the likelihood

that British dependence upon the United States would become progressively greater

in the years ahead. All seemed to agree that promoting goodwill with the Americans

should be one of the highest priorities of His Majesty's Government. Indeed, the

London Foreign Office had undertaken a comprehensive effort to propagandize

Americans during the period immediately preceding World War II,2 and had con-

tinued that effort under somewhat different guises during the larger part of that

conflict.3 The future need for amicable Anglo-American relations was certainly

apparent to Foreign Office officials in 1945 and they accorded the closest scrutiny

to recommendations by British consuls in the United States regarding how that end

might best be achieved.4 One of the most engaging of these communications was a

dispatch which London received on November 5, 1945 from Arthur H. Tandy, the

British consul at Cincinnati. So impressed by this dispatch was the Foreign Office



1. These documents, arranged by calendar years, are among both the Foreign Office general

correspondence files (F.O. 371) and its consular files (F.O. 115) located at the London Public

Record Office.

2. See Thomas E. Hachey, "Winning Friends and Influencing Policy: British Strategy to Woo

America in 1937," Wisconsin Magazine of History, LV (Winter 1971-1972), 120-129.

3. See F. 0. 371/30652-30727; 34086-34091; 38501-38676; 44535-44550 which contain a

substantial number of documents attesting to this effort between the years 1942 and 1945.

4. In addition to the Foreign Office minutes contained in volumes like F.O. 371/44615, see

also the Foreign Office private collections (F.O. 800) and Foreign Office Confidential Print

(F.O. 401-490) for further evidence of this sentiment.


Mr. Hachey is Associate Professor of History, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.