740.0011 European War 1939/7695a: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Chiefs of Mission in the American Republics

Personal. I am most anxious that the Governments of the American republics be fully informed regarding developments in the foreign policy of the United States, particularly as it affects the European situation. The different steps in that policy are, of course, designed to further those standards of international conduct which have been approved by the American republics at their gatherings in recent years.

Please, therefore, take an early opportunity of calling upon the Foreign Minister of the country to which you are accredited for the purpose of describing to him on my behalf the objectives and the details of the “Bill to Aid the Defense of the Democracies” as set forth in Radio Bulletin No. 8 of January 10, 1941. You should, at the same time, emphasize to the Foreign Minister the appraisal of the international situation contained in my statement of January 15 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee1 (see Radio Bulletin No. 12 of January 15).

I shall be most interested in your report concerning this interview.


[Within the next 60 days the Department learned the official reactions of the 20 other American Republics. There was no unfavorable note among the replies. The Costa Rican Foreign Minister cited a Spanish proverb as follows: “When there is a fire in the neighborhood, it is not at all helpful to pour water on your own home, but it is better to run to the fire and throw water on your neighbor’s house.” (740.0011 European War, 1939/7745) The Ecuadoran Minister for Foreign Affairs suggested that from the Latin American viewpoint, the Lend-Lease Bill might be improved by adding to the title or in the text, the words “hemisphere or continental defense” to the phrase “for the [Page 134] defense of the United States”. Boaz Long, the American Minister, explained that “for the defense of the United States and other purposes” was probably intended to cover the Minister’s suggestion. (740.0011 European War, 1939/7776)]

  1. Department of State Bulletin, January 18, 1941, p. 85.