Roosevelt Papers

The Coordinator of Information (Donovan) to the President

My Dear Mr. President: I submit the following for your consideration:

Assuming that it is only a question of time when the French Fleet will be turned over to the Germans, and with this turning over,

that the Germans would be strengthened not only in the Mediterranean but in the Atlantic, and
there would be a greater weakening of both ourselves and the British in the Pacific,

then should there be considered now the possibility—adhering to the principle of surprise attack—of having combined action of British and American forces against such elements of the French Fleet as would constitute advantageous targets?

There may be political, military and naval arguments against this, but I suggest its consideration only because there will be few opportunities in the coming months for offensive action by us, and such offensive action is necessary both from a morale and strategic standpoint.

Of course, if the assumption made is false, no consideration is merited.