Page images
PDF
EPUB

regard to Bermuda. The Under Secretary said that he quite realized that, but would like to explain the situation which confronts the Colonial Office. They have sent an urgent telegram to the Governor of Bermuda to do his utmost personally to implement the instructions which have been sent him to arrange for legislation to be introduced and passed which would remedy many of the difficulties. While the Colonial Office is hopeful that the Governor may accomplish their purpose, they are apprehensive that if the backs of the Bermudans are put up too much the legislature will refuse to meet the Imperial Government's views. It was explained that the Imperial Government is in an entirely different position vis-à-vis Bermuda and the Bahamas to any other of the West Indian Island Governments; that the Imperial Government cannot by executive action force the Bermuda legislature to pass any law or to implement any obligation of the Imperial Government. The only machinery for overriding the Bermuda legislature would be an act of Parliament-a last resort which they are most reluctant to invoke as it would arouse extreme hostility in Bermuda and in their opinion would have bad repercussions elsewhere as well as affording material for German propaganda. The Under Secretary and all of his officials most earnestly assured me, and I am sure it is true, that the Colonial Office and the Government in London desire to meet our views as quickly as possible. We will take account of the difficult political situation with which they are faced in Bermuda and not try to push matters to an immediate conclusion. One of the officials present, who was a former Governor of Bermuda, said the single thing that was most alarming the legislature and people now was a clause in the draft lease which would give, in their opinion, blanket authority to the United States to take over in the future any other site on the island they wanted and that they therefore felt that they had no protection; that what they are clamoring for now is some assurance as to where the United States' requests would stop. The Colonial Office hopes that the meeting shortly to take place here with United States officials will be able to eliminate all serious points of difference and many of the minor ones.

I pointed out to the official that while I could understand that the Bermudans would feel upset at such great changes in their way of life, that nevertheless our officials were under the urgent necessity to begin their programs, that the purposes for which they were there were obviously of overriding necessity and that my Government necessarily had to look to the Imperial Government to implement the agreement contained in our exchange of notes of last September. The Colonial Office readily admits that we must look to the Imperial Government for action, but says they hope the statements which have been outlined above will convince the Department that the Government is doing all it can in a practicable way to effect a speedy solution and they hope we will understand their desire to obtain action through the consent of Bermuda and not through the Imperial Government being forced to override them by an act of Parliament.

They expect an early reply from the Governor and will advise me at once.

I venture to invite your attention to my No. 82 of January 8, 10 p.m."' with reference to Colonial Office views.

JOHNSON

79

811.34544/481 : Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Johnson) to the Secretary

of State

LONDON, January 25, 1941.

[Received January 26—10:55 a. m.] 294. From President's Base Lease Commission. We arrived today and conferred informally with Sir Alan Burns, Assistant Under Secretary of Colonial Office, who will preside at business meetings. Present plan calls for formal opening meeting Tuesday morning 80 with first business meeting Tuesday afternoon. Meetings will ordinarily be held twice daily thereafter in attempt to finish in 2 weeks. British have suggested following agenda :

"1. Form of lease or other document.
2. Provision as to satisfactory use of leased territory.

3. Boundaries of sites. (a) Newfoundland, (b) Antigua, (c) Bahamas, (d) Bermuda, (e) British Guiana, (f) Jamaica, (g) St. Lucia, (K) Trinidad.

4. Questions relating to the services (a) command and policy as to defence, (b) reciprocal use in peace and war of: (1) naval bases, anchorages and dockyards, (2) military airdromes, (c) radio stations, (d) local flying regulations, (e) meteorological stations, (f) hydrographic surveys.

5. Jurisdiction.
6. Apprehension and surrender of offenders.
7. Regulations in areas (e. g., health, gambling, etc.)

8. Immigration and shipping (a) immigration laws; (b) quarantine (including plant quarantine); (c) payment by United States ships of (1) harbor dues, (2) light dues, (3) pilotage dues; (d) nature of lights put up by United States Government; (e) coastwise shipping;. (f) harbor facilities in leased areas for British and other shipping.

9. Customs duties.
10. Import and export control in time of war.
11. Financial (a) currency, (b) exchange control.

12. Establishment of businesses and professions by United States citizens and others in leased areas.

[blocks in formation]

13. Employment of local labor.
14. Use of British and local goods.

15. Postal and telegraph (a) postal facilities, () cable, wireless and telephone facilities in leased areas, (c) censorship in time of war.

16. Traffic regulations in leased areas.

17. Particular rights to be reserved in leased areas, e. g., (a) minerals and oil, (6) treasure trove, (c) antiquities, (d) fishing and other local industry

18. Expropriation of private property. 19. Treatment of colored population.

20. Additional costs of administration due to establishment of United States bases.

21. Additional compensation to Newfoundland and colonies. 22. Civil aviation.

23. Liability of United States contractors to Newfoundland or Colonial income tax, professional fees, etc."

Colonial Office suggests that one lease for each base containing all provisions, separate documents assumedly, viz. (1) a separate lease for each base to contain full description of geographic areas and the usual provisions having to do with occupation and use of land, and (2) a general agreement to cover the administrative and jurisdictional matters for all bases. This agreement would be embodied in an exchange of notes or other agreed form and would be incorporated in each lease by reference. We request your views.

The reason for this as stated to us is the belief that this would facilitate the task of the British Government in persuading possibly obstructive local legislatures to enact necessary legislation without resorting to an act of Parliament. (See Embassy's 228, January 21, 10 p. m.) [Base Lease Commission.]

JOHNSON

811.34544/491 : Telegram The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Johnson) to the Secretary

of State

LONDON, January 28, 1941.

[Received January 28–8:05 p. m.] 330. My 294, 25th. From President's Base Lease Commission. Lord Cranborne 81 presided at opening meeting this morning which consisted merely of his address of welcome and replies by Mr. Fahy and the Newfoundland and Bermuda representatives. It was decided that no publicity would be given the discussions until their conclusion and that no verbatim record would be kept of business meetings. This afternoon with Sir Alan Burns presiding the agenda as previously telegraphed was agreed to with addition of following items suggested by us: “(a) Items included in draft leases submitted by United States,

81 Secretary of State for the Dominions.

(6) The right of an official to employ such legal assistance as he may require to defend himself in suits involving acts done under the authority or color of his office. This assistance covers attorneys who are not members of the local bar.

(c) The following paragraphs of the draft agenda require clarification inasmuch as the problem stated is not understood: paragraphs 4 (c), 10, 20 and 21.

(d) Right to make surveys outside leased areas.

(e) Upon the signing of the leases immediate possession of the sites shall be given.

It is understood, as a matter of course, that additional agenda may be included from time to time during the discussions, as questions arise."

We stated that we were prepared to agree to leases as previously drafted, copies of which had been made available. We also stated that agreement on any point during discussion should be considered tentative pending complete final agreement.

Following action was taken on items 1 to 9 of agenda:

1. Discussion deferred pending receipt of reply to our telegram under reference.

2. The Chairman suggested that leased areas revert to British Government if not used. We gave our position as indicated under paragraph (u) of Trinidad draft lease and held there could be no reversion except by formal act of our Government. Admiral Bailey raised question on strategic grounds as to whether we would give reasonable notice of intention to abandon any base. It was agreed in principle that there could be no reversion without formal abandonment by us and that reasonable notice of intention to abandon should be given. Question of notice will be further discussed in connection with item 4.

3. Referred to Boundaries Subcommittee which will meet tomorrow morning Some colonial representatives expressed opposition to signing leases until exact surveys had been received. We stated that all surveys would presumably not be received in time. Please advise when we may expect to receive them.

4. Discussion deferred.

5., 6. and 7. Referred to Jurisdiction Subcommittee meeting tomorrow morning.

8. (a) Newfoundland delegates questioned possibility of immigration control between bases and adjacent territory unless bases were subject to local immigration requirements. Bermuda representatives raised question of responsibility for laborers brought by private contractors. We maintained United States Government control over both official and private persons should be sufficient. Chairman suggested that this item apparently presented little difficulty and could be left to Drafting Committee.

(6) We agreed that quarantine regulations as strict as those now locally in force would be acceptable.

(c) Discussion deferred.

(d) Agreement in principle was reached that lights be erected in conformity with local navigation rules, and if possible in agreement with local authorities as to position, and that notification would of course be given in notices to mariners.

(e) Colonial Office expressed the hope bases would not be considered American ports within the meaning of our coastwise shipping laws. Discussion deferred. Please instruct.

(f) Discussion deferred.

9. We asked customs provision as given in paragraph (r) of Trinidad lease. Newfoundland, Bermuda and Jamaica representatives expressed strong opposition to free importation of articles of general use on grounds

of difficulty of control and of creating specially favored class in community. Chairman suggested free entry on articles for official use but not on those for personal use. Bermuda objected even to free admission of household effects on first entry. Discussion deferred and this item will probably prove troublesome.

Full committee will meet again tomorrow afternoon. [Base Lease Commission.]

JOHNSON

811.34544/491 : Telegram The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the United Kingdom

(Johnson)

WASHINGTON, January 29, 1941. 303. For President's Base Lease Commission. Your 294, January 25, and 330, January 28. We do not feel in a position to comment on all of the various items proposed for discussion by the British. We are somewhat surprised at their mention of certain items and can only suppose that they have listed some of these for discussion because of the insistence of colonial authorities; and that they will therefore not be disposed to press a number of these matters. Should our estimate of the situation prove to be incorrect, we shall have as you doubtless know very strong views to communicate to you on a considerable number of these points.

The following comments are made either in response to your request for instructions or in a few cases where we feel that we can assist you by giving you our views at this time.

The suggestions regarding the form of the leases set forth in Section 2 of your telegram no. 294 appear to us to be satisfactory.

As regards item 3 mentioned in your two telegrams (boundaries of sites), exact surveys will not be available in all areas for 30 to 60 days. Where exact limits of areas are not available, leases should be signed without awaiting them, subject to the proviso that the exact limits, when agreed upon, will be attached to and made a part of the lease:

« PreviousContinue »