711.00111 Ship Travel/6: Telegram
President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State
[Received October 6—3:20 a.m.]
Your black 46 containing Section 314 just received. If the findings of certain facts be read as a whole as I think they should be it seems to me to be clear that Americans sailing on belligerent ships may jeopardize peace or endanger lives or affect commercial interests or security of the United States, in other words if in this specific case Americans continue to patronize Italian ships there may very easily occur some untoward episode either to or by an individual American or through some commercial transaction which violates the spirit of the arms or munitions proclamation. In other words if Americans travel on Italian ships there is that much more danger [Page 801] of some episode, whereas if the proclamation under Section 6 is issued Americans will do that traveling only at their own risk. Italy can find no affront in this as it carries out what is believed to be the intent and the spirit of the law. The clinching argument is that if Ethiopia had a single submarine in the Mediterranean we would not hesitate a moment. But submarines are not the sole causes of danger to American lives and interests.