851B.20/269

The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: On May 5th the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent an identical letter11 to the Secretaries of State, War and Navy regarding the present situation in Martinique in which they recommended:

(a)
That no positive action be taken at the present time and that the present policy of the United States be continued for the time being.
(b)
That United States forces not be employed for an intervention under existing conditions.
(c)
That when conditions warrant, French forces be permitted to intervene in an effort to take over control of the Islands, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

In furtherance of the above recommendations, the United States Chiefs of Staff now propose the following plan:

(a)
That a French force composed of one cruiser from West Africa and two destroyers now repairing in the United States and ready early in June, make the first landing in Guadeloupe. This landing would be the simpler of the two, and would probably have a good effect on the general population in Martinique. Admiral Robert might scuttle his ships as a result thereof, but he would probably not do so until direct threat was made against Martinique itself.
(b)
That immediately following this landing, a merchant ship with food supplies be sent there in order to stabilize local conditions as soon as practicable.
(c)
That upon completion of the Guadeloupe landing, the situation be publicized to Martinique.
(d)
That after the landing at Guadeloupe and with the experience thus gained, appropriate plans be then made concerning Martinique. It will probably not be desirable to land at Martinique until the Montcalm and Richelieu are available.

The United States Chiefs of Staff submit the above plan for your approval. If you concur, it will then be referred to Admiral Fénard12 for his concurrence and implementation.

In connection with the foregoing plan, the Navy Department will arrange that a medium-sized merchant vessel be loaded with food supplies and made available to the Commander, Caribbean Sea Frontier at San Juan, ready to go to either Martinique or Guadeloupe if conditions in the future render this advisable.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that it would be desirable that the Navy Department arrange for some publicity to Martinique and Guadeloupe, using the following specific items, provided this meets with the concurrence of the State Department:

(a)
In reply to Admiral Robert’s statement that all possibility of a French proposition on his part has been shut out by the recalling of [Page 241]the Consul General, point out that a means of communication with Washington through the Vice Consul at Ft. De France does exist.
(b)
Reasons why the allegiance of Martinique to Vichy should be disrupted.
(c)
Every reason exists for merchant vessels and tankers under Martinique control to operate for the economic well-being of the Western Hemisphere and also thereby for the well-being of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
(d)
Undoubtedly, with any reasonable attitude on the part of the Martinique authorities, United States would facilitate food supplies, which are available near by, being sent to those islands.

Sincerely yours,

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
William D. Leahy
,
Admiral, U. S. Navy,
Chief of Staff to the
Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy
  1. Not printed.
  2. Chief of the French Naval Mission in Washington.