740.00112 European War 1939/6756

Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Referring to your telephone conversation of September Twelfth in which you expressed a desire for further advice in regard to a requested shipment of a cargo of kerosene to the French African Colonies, I have the honor to reply as follows:

It is my definite understanding that with the purpose of furthering America’s war effort, it is at the present time advantageous to America, and therefore desirable, to release for shipment limited quantities of material that is urgently needed by the inhabitants of the French Colonies in Africa, provided only that such shipments are not delivered to enemy powers.

The purpose of such shipments should be to retain or acquire the friendship of the inhabitants of French Africa.

I am not informed as to the quantity of kerosene that is urgently needed for the civil population, but I believe that Mr. Robert D. Murphy, Counselor of Embassy, who is now in Washington,52 has full information as to the quantity that is needed and that will be used under his supervision by the civil population.

In view of the above, it is my opinion, with which the President concurs, that a release should be granted without delay for the shipment to Casablanca of one tanker load of kerosene that is [Page 374] urgently needed by the civilian population of the French Colonies in Africa.

Respectfully yours,

William D. Leahy

Admiral, U. S. Navy
  1. Mr. Murphy had returned to the Department on August 30 for consultation.