740.0011 European War 1939/10599½: Telegram

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

1753. Department’s 1471, May 1, 9 p.m. From Former Naval Person to President Roosevelt.

Your friendly message assured me that no temporary reverses, however heavy, can shake your resolution to support us until we gain the final victory. I quite see your difficulties about paragraph 1 so far as visits are concerned but the consequences reflect themselves upon paragraph 2.
The conditions in your first sentence of this paragraph (paragraph 2) make it almost certain that we shall be forestalled. We ourselves are deeply impressed by those conditions, but on the other hand how are we to deal with German penetration by tourists and agents ready for some fine day when a German armed expedition will arrive finding all prepared beforehand? The terror which Germany exercises on the Governments of Portugal and Spain forces them to take no notice of infiltration in these islands lest worse befall them at home. You may be sure that they will try to synchronize any decisive move from Spain or Portugal with a stroke on the islands. We have taken no decision yet but I am sure you would not wish to prescribe our remaining passive, if we feel we have to act in advance of the conditions set forth in the first sentence of your paragraph 2.
Should we decide to move against these islands not only would we declare that they are occupied only for the purpose of British defense and not for permanent occupation and that we will restore the [Page 841] islands to Portuguese sovereignty at the close of the war if Portugal is restored as an independent nation, but we should be perfectly ready that the United States should stand guarantor for the execution of such an engagement. We are far from wishing to add to our territory, but only to preserve our life and perhaps yours.

[Here follows material on other subjects.] [Former Naval Person.]