File No. 711.5914/260a.

The Secretary of State to the Danish Minister

My dear Mr. Minister: I am having prepared a draft of a treaty transferring to the United States the sovereignty of the Danish West Indies, which I shall submit to you as a basis of negotiation. In the course of preparing this draft it has occurred to me that it would be very useful to have a definite statement of the character and extent of Danish obligations and rights in these islands as indicated in the attached formal note, so that if it were necessary, as was done in the Treaty of 1902, to make any statements in the new treaty in regard to public rights and obligations, the information would be before us in compact form. Such information would also be very useful for the Government in answering inquiries which undoubtedly will be made by the Senate as to the status of the financial and other obligations of the Danish Government in the West Indies. I hope that in making this request I am not imposing an unnecessary burden upon you at this time, when I know you are extraordinarily busy.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing

The Secretary of State to the Danish Minister

Sir: With reference to the proposed transfer of sovereignty of the Danish West Indies Islands to the United States, I have the honor [Page 599] to request that, if you perceive no objection, you notify me formally as to the following:

The character and extent of the public property of every kind and description now belonging to the Danish Government or the Governments of the Danish West Indies, together with all appurtenances thereto, in these islands, including all public, Government or Crown lands, public buildings, wharves, fortifications, barracks, franchises, concessions, grants, and other privileges.
The nature and extent of all grants, concessions, franchises and privileges which have been dispensed by the Danish Government or by the Governments of the Danish West Indies, in or in any way relating to these islands and which are now in existence.
The nature and extent of any Government obligations resulting from or connected with the matters mentioned in paragraphs (1) and (2).

The object of this request is to have a definite description of the rights and obligations of the Government of Denmark and the Governments of the Danish West Indies in these islands up to the date of the signature of the proposed treaty before us during the negotiations, in order that a proper statement in regard to them, if deemed advisable, may be inserted in the proposed treaty. I believe that a clear understanding of these matters will contribute to the expedition with which the treaty can be disposed of in this country, and to the removal of any possible cause of dispute which may arise out of public rights and obligations in these islands.

Accept [etc.]

Robert Lansing