File No. 711.5914/38a

The Secretary of State to Minister Egan

No. 254

Sir: During a recent visit to the Department of the Danish Minister, I referred to the question of probable acquisition, by the Government of the United States, of the Danish West Indies, and inquired whether, in his opinion, he deemed it feasible at this time. He replied that, owing to the opening of the Panama Canal, he had no doubt that his Government considered the islands of more value now, than in the past, on account of the increase of trade which would naturally follow, and would hesitate to part with any commercial advantages which the retention of the islands gave to Denmark.

I called his attention to the fact that if the islands were acquired it would be largely for military purposes and indicated to him that it would no doubt be possible to reach some arrangement by which the Danish Government, in the event that they would be willing to part with the islands, could arrange for certain commercial privileges and advantages. He remarked that if this could be done, he could see no good reason why the Danish Government would not be willing to dispose of the islands.

Your telegram No. 185, of October 8, 1915, four p.m. has been received and I will be glad if you will give the question of the sale of the islands your close attention and secure, if possible, some tentative offer from the Danish Government, as it is necessary to have some proposal from it upon which to base any suggestions which the President might care to make to Congress.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing