740.0011 European War 1939/8979a
The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt
My Dear Mr. President: With reference to the letter from the British Ambassador to you of March 10,44 enclosing a message from Mr. Churchill45 on the situation in the Near East and suggesting certain approaches by our diplomatic missions in Ankara, Moscow, and Belgrade to the governments of those respective countries, I have closely canvassed the Near Eastern situation during the recent fast-developing weeks and have come to the following conclusions as far as concerns the attitude of this Government in the premises.
As you know, we have sent several messages personally from you to the Chiefs of State of the Balkan countries and Turkey, and also from this Department to the Chiefs of Government in those same countries, making clear our attitude of aid to Britain and the application of all the vast resources and production of this country to the assistance of Britain and those countries defending themselves against the attack of the forces of conquest. I am satisfied that we here, and our representatives in that area have done everything that could possibly be done to bolster up the resistance of the Balkan governments to penetration and occupation by the German forces. I, myself, and through my associates here, have been in constant touch with the representatives of the Balkan nations in this capital and have sought their advice and counsel as to any steps we might take to be helpful to them in this situation. I have been told by those representatives here, and I believe this to be true, that the only further step which can be of real help in these developments would be the promise on the part of the British Government to lend material military aid with air force and ground forces to the Yugoslav and the Turkish Governments in the event they find it necessary to resist the entrance or passage of German troops.
I have even taken the occasion of the visit of the British Ambassador on Monday afternoon46 to transmit to him this final suggestion.
As I said before, I feel that we have done everything this Government [Page 954] can possibly do in the present circumstances, but I shall not fail to continue to study the situation with a view to making any further recommendations as developments arise.