Page 110 PAPER XXVII "The United States cannot permit the occupation by Germany of strategic outposts in the Atlantic to be used as air or naval bases for eventual attack against the Western Hemisphere." Message to the Congress, relating to the dispatch of naval forces to Iceland, July 7, 1941 To the Congress of the United States: I am transmitting herewith for the information of the Congress a message I received from the Prime Minister of Iceland on July 1, and the reply I addressed on the same day to the Prime Minister of Iceland in response to this message. In accordance with the understanding so reached, forces of the United States Navy have today arrived in Iceland in order to supplement, and eventually to replace, the British forces which have until now been stationed in Iceland in order to insure the adequate defense of that country. As I stated in my message to the Congress of September 3 last regarding the acquisition of certain naval and air bases from Great Britain in exchange for certain overage destroyers, considerations of safety from overseas attack are fundamental. The United States cannot permit the occupation by Germany of strategic outposts in the Atlantic to be used as air or naval bases for eventual attack against the Western Hemisphere. We have no desire to see any change in the present sovereignty of those regions. Assurance that such outposts in our defense frontier remain in friendly hands is the very foundation of our national security and of the national security of every one of the independent nations of the New World. For the same reason substantial forces of the United States have now been sent to the bases acquired last year from Great Britain in Trinidad and in British Guiana in the south in order to forestall any pincers movement undertaken by Germany against the Western Hemisphere. It is essential that Germany should not be able successfully to employ such tactics through sudden seizure of strategic points in the South Atlantic and in the North Atlantic. The occupation of Iceland by Germany would constitute a serious threat in three dimensions: The threat against Greenland and the northern portion of the North American Continent, including the islands which lie off it. The threat against all shipping in the North Atlantic. The threat against the steady flow of munitions to Britain-which is a matter of broad policy clearly approved by the Congress. It is, therefore imperative that the approaches between the Americas and those strategic outposts, the safety of which this country Page 111 regards as essential to its national security and which it must therefore defend, shall remain open and free from all hostile activity or threat thereof. As Commander in Chief I have consequently issued orders to the Navy that all necessary steps be taken to insure the safety of communications in the approaches between Iceland and the United States, as well as on the seas between the United States and all other strategic outposts. This Government will insure the adequate defense of Iceland with full recognition of the independence of Iceland as a sovereign state. In my message to the Prime Minister of Iceland I have given the people of Iceland the assurance that the American forces sent there would in no way interfere with the internal and domestic affairs of that country, and that immediately upon the termination of the present international emergency all American forces will be at once withdrawn, leaving the people of Iceland and their Government in full and sovereign control of their own territory. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT. THE WHITE HOUSE, July 7, 1941. ---------------------------- Accompanying documents will be found in the Congressional Record of July 7, 1941.