The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy ( Knox )
My Dear Mr. Secretary: I acknowledge receipt of your letter of September 19 in which you invite my attention to the opinion of the Navy Department concerning the advisability of reaching a definite understanding with all of the American republics in regard to the Declaration made by the Uruguayan Government on June 18, 1917 and, if possible, to obtain their adherence to this declaration, in order that the naval forces of the United States may utilize the port facilities of these countries by simple notification of entry and without restriction as to the length of these visits.
The views which you express have received the careful and sympathetic consideration of this Department. In this connection you will recall that on June 21, 1941 the Government of Uruguay addressed to the other American republics a proposal that these republics should not consider as a belligerent any one of their number which, in the defense of right, should find itself in a state of war with nations of other continents. This proposal reaffirms statements made on this subject by the Uruguayan Government in 1917.
This Department did not fail to make known its wholehearted approval of the Uruguayan proposal in a memorandum handed to the [Page 38] Minister of Uruguay in Washington on July 1 and instructed its diplomatic representatives in other American republics to communicate this view to the Governments to which they were accredited and to express the desirability of a favorable response. A copy of this memorandum is enclosed herewith.20
In view of the foregoing, this Department has reached the conclusion that no useful purpose would be served by endeavoring to obtain from the other American republics their adherence to the Uruguayan Declaration of 1917. Furthermore, should the Navy Department desire to procure from the other countries the necessary port facilities it would be preferable to take this matter up with each country separately as has been done in the case of Ecuador and Peru.