The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense ( Forrestal )


My Dear Mr. Secretary: I enclose a copy of a letter1 dated August 18, 1948 from the American Minister to Iceland, Mr. Richard P. Butrick.

According to Mr. Butrick’s letter, the Icelandic Foreign Minister believes that “in time of crisis the United States would find it convenient to have sufficient planes and even soldiers lay over at Keflavik, to make certain that it could fulfill its obligations to maintain control agencies in Germany” (cf. paragraph 4 of the Iceland Airport Agreement of October 7, 1946).

The Department of State is of the opinion that Foreign Minister Benediktsson’s remarks represent a carefully considered hint for the guidance of the United States Government in time of international crisis, and that there is no prospect of obtaining from Iceland a more concrete communication or undertaking at this time.

Comment by the National Military Establishment would be appreciated.2

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Charles E. Bohlen

  1. Supra.
  2. In his reply dated October 23, not printed, Forrestal informed the Secretary of State that he had decided to ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review the whole problem of future operations in Iceland in the event of an attempted coup d’état (859A.7962/10–2348).