The Secretary of State to the Portuguese Minister ( Bianchi )
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge your communication of May 30, 1941 transmitting the observations of the Government of Portugal with respect to the references to the Portuguese Islands in the Atlantic made by the President in his address of May 27, 1941.
I have carefully studied the observations of the Portuguese Government, and have noted the declarations reaffirming its position of neutrality and its determination to defend its neutrality and sovereign rights against any attack.[Page 847]
For its part, the Government of the United States can state categorically that it harbors no aggressive intentions against the sovereignty or territorial integrity of any other country. The Government and people of the United States have sought to live in peace and friendship with all other nations, and have consistently supported the principle of non-aggression and non-intervention in the relations between states. This Government time and again has reiterated its support of this principle.
Our policy today is based upon the inalienable right of self-defense. The Government of the United States can not but view with increasing anxiety the constantly expanding acts of aggression on the part of a certain belligerent power, which now threaten the peace and safety of the countries of this hemisphere.
In referring to the Islands in the Atlantic it was the intention of the President to point out the dangers to this hemisphere which would result if these Islands were to come under the control or occupation of forces pursuing a policy of world conquest and domination. The strategic importance of these Islands, because of their geographical location, was stressed by the President solely in terms of their potential value from the point of view of attack against this hemisphere.