740.0011 European War 1939/10485½: Telegram

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

1471. Your 1599, April 23 and 1668, April 29.6 For Former Naval Person [from President Roosevelt].

1. In relation to paragraph 14 of yours of April 23 we received strong protest from Portuguese Government in regard to a proposed friendly visit to Azores and Cape Verde Islands at this time. In view of this we deferred proposed visit. We then received recommendation from American Ambassador in Spain6a that friendly visit planned to Canaries or to Spain be carried out but that no fuel should be taken on locally in the Islands or in Spain. In view of this situation the proposed naval visits were cancelled.

The new naval patrol now going into operation will extend to westerly side of both the Azores and Cape Verde Islands but planes will not be flown over the Islands themselves. Our patrol is already [Page 840] on way to take positions assigned and I think liaison work between the two naval services is being established satisfactorily.

2. It is, of course, of utmost importance, in my judgment, that you send no expedition to either place unless Portugal is attacked or you get definite word of an immediate German attack on the Islands. Furthermore, I know you will not mind my saying that in the event of a British expeditionary force you make it very clear to the American people that in case of Azores it is for purpose of British defense and not for permanent occupation. In other words, that Britain will restore Islands to Portuguese sovereignty at close of war if Portugal is restored as an independent nation. The reason I suggest this is that as you know, most of Azores are in Western Hemisphere under my longitudinal map reading.

[Here follows material on other subjects.] Roosevelt.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Alexander W. Weddell.