893.0146/731: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Bullitt)

1402. Personal for the Ambassador from the President.

“With reference to your telegram 2739, November 13, 6 p.m.66 and previous telegrams on the same subject, I believe that because of the changes in the general situation since you first took up this question with the French Government, it would be wiser to abandon any idea of a lease or contract. Please suggest consequently to Daladier that the matter be handled by a mere exchange of confidential letters between him and yourself. The first letter might be from you inquiring whether the French Government would agree that the United States, for training purposes and in connection with peace time maneuvers, might be enabled to utilize the atoll and lagoon for naval vessels and for planes. Daladier’s reply might state that the French Government is willing to give the permission requested, with the understanding that such permission in no way affected French sovereignty over the island and its territorial waters. The third and final letter would be your confirmation of this understanding that French sovereignty would not be affected. Telegraph me what the result of your suggestion in this sense may be.”

  1. This and other telegrams, not printed, from Ambassador Bullitt referred to the long delay in receiving instructions on this matter and urged prompt action.