SECRETARY OF STATE, CORDELL HULL, EXPLAINED THE U.S. ATTITUDE TOWARD FRENCH POSSESSIONS IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
June 2, 1941
[Department of State Bulletin, June 14, 1941.]
The text of a letter from the Secretary of State to Senator James M. Mead, of New York, dated June 2, 1941, follows:
I have received your letter of May 21, 1941, setting forth the desirability, from a national defense standpoint, of the acquisition by the United States of French possessions in the Western Hemisphere and suggesting that this Government may undertake negotiations with the Government at Vichy for the establishment of defense bases in the French Islands of the Antilles, St. Pierre-Miquelon, as well as on the French territory in French Guiana.
The Department is giving full and careful consideration to all aspects of the problem presented by those French territories in this Hemisphere and its possible implications as regards national security and defence. As you are no doubt aware, the policy of this Government as regards the French West Indies, which includes all territories subject to the jurisdiction of the High Commissioner for French Territories in the Western Hemisphere, is governed by an agreement entered into at the Habana Conference in 1940 by all of the American Republics, including the United States, as well as by the arrangement entered into between the High Commissioner and Admiral Greenslade, U.S.N., and later confirmed by both Governments. This arrangement provides certain guarantees regarding the movement of French vessels in American waters and commits the French Government to prior notification regarding any shipments of gold. It also permits the establishment of a daily patrol by vessel and by plane of the Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and a Naval observer is at present stationed at Fort de France, Martinique, to check its observance.
This Government is also releasing on a monthly basis a restricted amount from French funds blocked in this country to permit the Islands to make purchases in this country of foodstuffs and essential supplies to maintain the economic structure of the Islands and French Guiana. It has been agreed that supplies purchased through the use of these funds shall be limited to products urgently required on the Islands themselves and shall not be for re-export to French North Africa or Metropolitan France.
Should evidence develop so that further action by this Government in the interests of national defense be required, you may be assured that any action contemplated will accord with the agreement reached with the other American Republics at the Habana Conference.