The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 17—9:03 a.m.]
1560. Soviet press May 16th devotes 20 inches to series London and NY despatches on Anglo-American negotiations for Pacific and Azores bases, reporting that State Dept has announced US desire to acquire sovereignty over Christmas, Funafuti and Canton islands, as well as certain other Pacific Islands; that Anglo-American negotiations have begun on this question, which was further discussed by [Page 45]Byrnes and Bevin in Paris; that US desire for sovereignty over certain British bases raises question whether it is more desirable to increase number small islands under sovereignty single power or to bring into being general system of bases of US, Britain, Holland, France, China, Australia, New Zealand and Canada under UNO leadership; that Britain would prefer latter international system; as U.S. sovereignty over certain British islands would deprive Britain of possibility of using them if Britain were involved in war in which US was neutral; and that majority British press reports Britain will not cede territory to US. It further cites Reuter report that British Foreign Office has confirmed negotiations are in progress between US, Britain and Portugal on use of Azores air and naval bases,57 and that “well informed London circles” assume they involve continued use “certain facilities which Britain and US enjoyed during war time”.
Pouched to Lisbon.
Repeated AmEmb London 253.