Memorandum by the Chief of Naval Operations (Leahy)
Memorandum for the President 61
The Tuamotu Group offers suitable bases from which Japanese long range submarines could operate against the Canal Zone, the west coast of Central and South America, and even U. S. West Coast shipping; Fakarava being an excellent base in the Tuamotu Group from which U. S. submarines, patrol planes, and light forces could operate to prevent Japan from basing submarines in this general area, and would be a flanking position against attacks on the west coast of South America and against trade lines from Japan to the Straits of Magellan.
Should there be a world war with Germany, Italy and Japan against Great Britain and France, and the United States neutral, Japan would undoubtedly absorb the exposed British and French possessions in [Page 529] the Pacific, especially where no opposition is offered. If the United States owned or controlled Fakarava, this would provide a deterrent against Japanese aggression in this part of the Eastern Pacific.
- Transmitted by President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State on June 22.↩