320/11–2253

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs (Gerig) to the Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs (Murphy)1

secret
  • Subject:
  • Delga 308 from Ambassador Lodge to the Secretary

A statement on Puerto Rico of the kind proposed would presumably be made before the voting and included as part of a general statement.

UND does not presume to give an opinion on the broad political effect of such a statement. It seems clear, however, that a statement favoring independence would tend to diminish the influence in Puerto [Page 1474]Rico of the two other Parties, namely, the Statehood Party (now Republican in affiliation) and the majority party (about 65 percent of the voters) now governing Puerto Rico.

There are two other effects which need to be considered: First, the immediate effect upon the votes in the General Assembly where two-thirds will be required and which it now appears will be secured, even if this statement is not made. It seems unlikely that any votes will be lost if the statement were made. The idea of possible ultimate independence as a result of free choice by Puerto Rico under the new Compact principle has been directly or indirectly stated several times by our Delegation, but of course this does not have the weight of a statement attributed to the White House.

The second effect of the statement is its possible repercussion in Puerto Rico. It is believed that Dr. Fernos is in the best position to advise whether such a statement might have the result of increasing political tensions in Puerto Rico, and perhaps even encouraging further violence by the Nationalists.

To sum up—it is not believed that the statement will seriously affect the vote either way but might have some serious repercussions in Puerto Rico and in the Puerto Rican community in the United States.

B[enjamin] G[erig]
  1. Source text was attached to New York telegram Delga 308, Nov. 22, supra. A typed notation at the head of the memorandum said: “(Secretary saw) RLO’C” [Roderic L. O’Connor, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State]. A typewritten notation at the bottom of the page said: “Original memo returned to Mr. Murphy (G) 11/27”.