852.00/2265k: Telegram

The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt, at Sea

3. I have discussed this morning with Admiral Standley56 the continued seriousness of the situation in Spain particularly insofar as the protection of American nationals is concerned. The reports which we are receiving indicate that the situation is if anything becoming much worse and it seems like a fifty-fifty chance as to which side may come out on top and furthermore with an equal chance that a completely chaotic condition may arise in Spain which may continue for some time. One of the most serious factors in this situation lies in the fact that the Government has distributed large quantities of arms and ammunition into the hands of irresponsible members of Left Wing Political organizations. In view of this fact and in view of the fact that the Oklahoma and the Quincy according to Admiral Standley can not be kept in European waters any indefinite period we feel that serious consideration should be given to the possibility and advisability of making preparation for the ordering of other American war vessels into Spanish waters. Admiral Standley informs me that he could have ready by next Wednesday one heavy cruiser and four destroyers with two more destroyers to follow later. These vessels if despatched could be held over there until conditions have become more settled.

It is my feeling that we should not only in the interest of the situation in Spain but also in the interest of allaying public sentiment here begin preparations for the ordering of these vessels to Spanish waters and to make that announcement immediately available to the public. In the event that conditions in Spain quiet down within the next few days and the ordering of these vessels to Spanish waters becomes unnecessary the arrangements could easily be cancelled. I would [Page 636]appreciate your informing me whether you feel that such a step is advisable and would meet with your approval.

Hull
  1. Adm. William H. Standley, Chief of Naval Operations.