710.Consultation(2)/1: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions in the American Republics 2

You are instructed to obtain an immediate interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and lay before him in the name of your Government the following considerations:

The French Government finds itself in the necessity of asking an armistice from Germany.3 Under these circumstances it is possible that there may come up for discussion in the negotiation of the terms of such armistice or in any subsequent peace terms the disposition of the colonies and the possessions of France in the Western Hemisphere.

As the Governments of the American Republics well realize it is the policy of the United States not to recognize as valid, nor to acquiesce in the transfer of, any territory within the Western Hemisphere now held by European powers to any other non-American power.4

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In a resolution unanimously adopted at the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics, at Panama, on October 3, 1939, the American Republics declared:

“That in case any geographic region of America subject to the jurisdiction of any non-American state should be obliged to change its sovereignty and there should result therefrom a danger to the security of the American Continent, a consultative meeting such as the one now being held will be convoked with the urgency that the case may require.”5

In the opinion of the Government of the United States the possibilities envisaged in the resolution adopted at Panama and above quoted demand urgent consultation on the part of all of the American Republics. The Government of the United States therefore inquires whether the Government of . . . . . . . . coincides in its opinion that an immediate consultation on the part of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics or of their representatives should now be held at the first possible moment.

In a further resolution5a adopted at the consultative meeting at Panama it was agreed that, should the American Republics then think it desirable, a further consultative meeting of the Foreign Ministers or of their representatives would be held in Habana on October 1 next. Since Habana was then selected as the seat of this further meeting for consultation, the Government of the United States inquires whether the Government of . . . . . . shares its view that Habana should be selected as the seat for the urgent consultative meeting now suggested.

Please make it clear that should the Government of . . . . . . . consider that some capital other than Habana be selected for reasons of convenience and should the majority of the other American Republics so believe, the Government of the United States will be happy to have the meeting held in any capital which the majority of the American Republics believe the most appropriate.

In conclusion, please request an indication from the Government of . . . . . . as to the earliest possible date upon which, in its judgment, such a meeting might be held.

  1. The only replies printed are those raising some special point of interest.
  2. On June 17, 1940, France asked armistice terms of Germany; on June 22, 1940, the Franco-German armistice was signed at Compiègne.
  3. For correspondence regarding the concern of the United States over the fate of the possessions of the Netherlands and France in the Western Hemisphere following the invasion of the home countries, see vol. ii, pp. 729 ff. and pp. 493 ff., respectively.
  4. Report of the Delegate of the United States of America to the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics Held at Panamá, September 23–October 3, 1939, p. 66.
  5. Ibid., p. 62.