Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

The Consul General for Iceland, Mr. Thor, came in to see me today, at his request. Mr. Cumming7 was present.

Mr. Thor asked two questions. The first was whether the United States would not include Iceland in the Western Hemisphere and put it under the protection of the Monroe Doctrine.

I said that this question could not be answered casually, since it involved very grave considerations. The political Western Hemisphere did not turn altogether on the theoretical meridian of division; historically, the Monroe Doctrine had been fairly close to the American continent; I could not give assurance, though I should be glad to study it.

He then asked whether perhaps Iceland could not be included in a customs union, pointing out that now their trade with the United States constituted the bulk of the means by which they could live.

I said that that also raised some very grave questions. I pointed out that we had had every friendship for Iceland, as was evidenced by the fact that the Export-Import Bank had made them a loan of a million dollars. At present, however, Iceland was occupied by foreign troops and I was not clear what policy our government would adopt towards it.

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A. A. Berle, Jr.
  1. Hugh S. Cumming, Jr., of the Division of European Affairs.