811.24546/27: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

5254. In answer to your 4943, November 3, 11 p.m.,15 I am forwarding you the following note which I requested Mr. Eden to give me November 2 and which I received this morning.

“On the 16th October you were good enough to inform me that the United States War Department had been studying the question of Pacific air bases and had concluded that the immediate establishment of an air route between Honolulu and the Philippine Islands suitable for the movement of heavy bombardment land type aircraft was imperative to national defense. Your Excellency explained that since some of these bases would lie in territories for which His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand and the Netherlands and Free French authorities were responsible, the cooperation of all these authorities was necessary for the realization [of?] that project. You added that once agreement was reached in principle the United States desired permission to communicate with local officials for the purpose of making surveys separately or jointly with the British her army [sic] authorities concerned or for the entry of the necessary [construction?] parties on selected sites for the establishment of such suitable aerodromes as might be jointly decided upon. You further state that the United States War Department would like the Governments concerned to construct bases in their respective territories in accordance with the requirements of the American aircraft, but it would be willing to provide technical and financial assistance when necessary to carry out the immediate construction.

I have now the honor to inform you that in order to meet the present war emergency His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom warmly welcome this proposal in general and are prepared for their part to cooperate fully with the United States to provide facilities required for this common purpose.
As regards the particular points raised by your Excellency, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom will undertake, as regards the territories for which they are responsible, the necessary further surveys and the work of construction so far as possible from their own resources. But they welcome the offer of technical and financial assistance and where their own resources do not permit would agree to construction being undertaken with United States resources. They further agree that the United States [War Department] should communicate with the local authorities in respect of survey work required and the entry of construction parties where necessary, those authorities being, so far as His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom are concerned in respect of the territories mentioned in your message, the Governor of Fiji and the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific though, as the United States Government will be [Page 581]aware, the two Dominican Governments have certain responsibilities for defense in some of the territories which are administered politically by the United Kingdom Government.
I note that the United States Government are in direct communication with His Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand of this matter and that the Commonwealth Governments have already informed the United States Government of their readiness to cooperate in so far as the scheme affects them.
I now learn from the New Zealand Government that they too have intimated to the United States Government through their Consul General at Wellington their full concurrence in the project and their willingness to do anything within their power to further this.”
  1. Not printed.