711.59A/9: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul at Reykjavik (Kuniholm)

1. Your despatch no. 56, December 24.9 Please orally inform the Foreign Minister that you have reported the substance of your conversation to your Government and have been instructed to say that we readily appreciate and sympathize with the apprehension which his Government feels with respect to the future of the Icelandic people in the rapidly changing world situation, and he may be assured that we will continue to give the most serious attention to the effect upon the relationship between the United States and Iceland of the now unpredictable course of events. We feel sure, however, that upon [Page 684] reflection lie will understand that, owing to the existing international situation, it seems necessary that we retain a freedom of action that will enable us the more effectively to meet any situation affecting our interests that may arise.

For your guidance: It will be clear to you from the foregoing that while we can not close our eyes to the fact that the war may touch Iceland in such a way as to require a definite decision with respect to what action this Government might feel it advisable to take relative to Iceland, we wish to be in a position to face that decision, if it should be forced on us, free from prior commitments. Accordingly, you are requested neither to encourage nor discourage an approach by the Icelandic Government with respect to this question but to continue to report fully any expressions of public or private opinion that may come to your attention.

  1. Not printed. In this despatch the Consul at Reykjavik reported a conversation with the Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs (Stefansson) in which the latter discussed informally the possible protection of Iceland by the United States along the lines already presented at Washington as recorded in the memorandum of conversation by the Secretary of State, September 5, printed supra.