Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

The Minister of Portugal called at his request and handed me the attached note from his Government, together with the English translation.14 I said to the Minister that I would not undertake to say a single word orally in reply to the note but that I would give it my early attention.

The Minister really told me nothing new except to emphasize the fear that his Government felt that the utterances of the President might be availed of by Germany as an excuse for seizing the Azores and the Cape Verdes for herself, or what would be a terrific blow for his country, to seize and occupy Portugal. I replied that, of course, Hitler always finds an excuse or a pretext for anything that he finds it profitable or desirable to do for himself or from his own standpoint, and that that has so far governed his rather sudden seizure and occupation of some 15 countries in Europe after solemnly disclaiming any purpose of invasion and asserting only a policy of neutrality until he gets good and ready to pounce upon his intended victim, which he then proceeds to do without delay; that Hitler is moving across the Mediterranean on a march of unlimited world conquest; that this has been demonstrated in every conceivable way by his acts and utterances; that every nation not yet captured may well look in the direction of Hitler primarily for danger rather than in any other direction secondarily; that, of course, I can understand the viewpoint which the Ambassador says his note expresses; and I reiterated that this country is speaking and acting solely from the standpoint of the application of the doctrine of self-defense for this hemisphere and hence for the United States.

C[ordell] H[ull]
  1. Supra.