The British Ambassador (Lothian) to the Secretary of State

No. 201

Sir: On instructions from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs I have the honour to inform you that since the German seizure of Denmark it had become necessary for His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom to reckon with the possibility of a sudden German descent upon Iceland. It was clear that in the face of an attack on Iceland, even on a very small scale, the Icelandic Government would be unable to prevent their country falling completely into German hands.

His Majesty’s Government accordingly decided to preclude this possibility, which would deprive Iceland of her independence, by themselves landing a force in Iceland; and that was done this morning.

They have explicitly assured the Icelandic Government that they are acting solely to ensure the security of Iceland against a German invasion, that the force will be withdrawn at the end of the war and that they will not interfere with the administration of the Island. They are also prepared to negotiate an agreement on trade matters which should bring material advantages to the inhabitants of Iceland.

I have the honour [etc.]