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ernment as stated in paragraph 4 of the Department's memorandum of March 1 to the British Embassy and your confidential telegram to the Commission No. 712, March 4, 6 p. m.
I would like to support the Commissioners' recommendations given in our 853, March 5, midnight,1 and the recommendation they are making for an exchange of notes stating that the President would recommend to Congress that authority be given to try British subjects apprehended within the leased areas for security offenses by United States courts within such areas if the United States assumes jurisdiction. The Colonials are disturbed by the possibility of distant trials and the British fear that this jurisdictional point would be one of those most likely to block necessary colonial legislation and thus require an overriding act of Parliament. They consider it a fundamental question of civil rights. I am convinced that such an exchange of notes would go far to allay these fears which are particularly troublesome in Bermuda and Newfoundland. The Commission's recommendations on this and other points arising from today's meeting will be telegraphed after a meeting tomorrow on various miscellaneous points.
Three major points will remain under consideration by the Prime Minister and are scheduled for Cabinet discussion Monday: 92 Article I dealing with rights, article II defense, and article III customs. The first and third seem reasonably near settlement. The second may prove troublesome because the Prime Minister himself attaches great importance to the issues involved. He has himself suggested the following:
"It is recognized that the interest of the United States Government in the defense of the leased areas and the territories in which they lie is physically in harmony with the separate interest of His Majesty's Government and without raising any question of naval or military compacts or assurance it is recognized that the various schemes of defense shall be concerted and adjusted at any moment to provide in the highest degree the security of each of the two contracting parties. For this purpose there will be consultation in accordance with the spirit of the preamble. When the United States is engaged in war or in time of other emergency it shall have all such rights in the territories and the surrounding waters and air spaces as may be necessary for conducting military operations. But in the exercise of these rights full regard shall be had to the said preamble."
The Commission has rejected this draft first on the ground that it is incompatible with the position of our Government and secondly because the last sentence of Mr. Churchill's draft might be construed to qualify our war powers. After the most careful consideration of
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93 March 10.
the problem and in view of the Prime Minister's very real concern we would suggest breaking article II into two paragraphs reading as follows:
"1. Should any difficulties arise by reason of the physical proximity of the bases and the territories in which they lie regarding respective arrangements for local security they will be settled in accordance with the spirit of the preamble.
"2. When the United States is engaged in war or in time of other emergency, it shall have all such rights in the territories and the surrounding waters and air spaces as may be necessary for conducting military operations."
We forward this for your comment and any suggestions you wish to make, being fully aware of the instructions already given the Commission.
While it may not be possible, I have hoped that agreement on the base leases could be announced simultaneously with passage of the Lease-Lend Bill 93 as it would afford an excellent example of practical Anglo-American cooperation and. friendship and might minimize possible criticism in Parliament or the Colonies and also help in the United States.
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State
LONDON, March 9, 1941-11 p. m. [Received March 9-5: 58 p. m.]
915. From President's Base Lease Commission. Thank you for your 777, March 8, 6 p. m. Under the impetus of your and the Ambassador's efforts the result of recent meetings including one today gives us some hope of submitting tomorrow night a complete draft of the agreement for your final consideration unless articles I and II are delayed. We must still secure accord on special provisions for Trinidad and possibly Bermuda and some other details which we believe can be quickly settled if the present momentum continues.
The British desire a tripartite exchange of notes with the Canadian and our Government to the effect that nothing in the agreement shall be deemed to conflict with the arrangements relative to defense of Newfoundland already made by the United States-Canada Joint Defense Board. We have agreed subject your approval.
The Prime Minister attaches great importance to assurance on the jurisdictional point mentioned in the Ambassador's 908, March 8, 10
Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31.
"See Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. I, pp. 144 ff.
p.m. We feel that the Ambassador's presentation covers the case and are accordingly not making separate recommendation. [Base Lease Commission.]
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary
LONDON, March 12, 1941-3 a. m. [Received 5:20 a. m.]
942. From President's Base Lease Commission. My 939, 11th.95 During 6 weeks of negotiation, we have endeavored to secure all the rights, powers and authorities necessary to assure the effective establishment, operation, control, and defense of the bases. At the same time, we have tried to meet all reasonable contentions of the British Government and the Colonies with a view to the establishment and operation of the bases in an atmosphere of friendly cooperation. Practically every provision has been the subject of exhaustive discussion and we believe that the agreement as given in our 939 achieves both these objectives.
The agreement embodies a number of concessions by the British, particularly with respect to the specification of rights, defense and jurisdiction which they were most reluctant to make. They were finally secured yesterday at a meeting attended by the Prime Minister, Lord Moyne, Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staffs' Committee, Sir Alan Burns, the Ambassador and ourselves. The Prime Minister indicated that our requests in some respects went beyond the intent of the exchange of notes of September 2, 1940, but that he had no desire to restrict our necessary military requirements and that in view of the general situation he was prepared to accept our views. He considered, however, that the concessions given represent the maximum which the British could give. He held that any further concessions would probably necessitate an act of Parliament to override Colonial legislatures and would be difficult to defend in Parliament should the need for such an act arise.
The Prime Minister attaches great importance to the fourth clause of the preamble which he considers truly represents the spirit in which the whole base lease project was conceived and should be carried out. Without it he said the agreement would be more of a "capitulation" than a friendly arrangement between great powers. He holds that this clause sets the tone of the whole agreement that the British Gov
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ernment could agree on the understanding that our rights would be exercised in that spirit to a number of points which they could never otherwise concede and that his presentation of the agreement to Parliament will be based upon the spirit of the preamble.
The references to the preamble in article I, paragraph 3, and article II were inserted by the Prime Minister personally after we had rejected various other suggestions and illustrate his views on this point. He was seriously concerned at the almost unlimited powers in time of war or emergency granted us in article II holding that they gave us unlimited rights, should we wish to use them, as for example the right to declare martial law in the territories at any time, to occupy any areas we wished, to take over British dockyards or other installations, or even to order the evacuation of civilians from the islands. This he realized was far from the intent of either party but would be difficult to defend in Parliament unless he could make clear that our farreaching rights would be exercised in the spirit expressed in the preamble.
The Prime Minister appreciates your efforts to meet his views on the question of jurisdiction over British subjects. While the British have not raised the point we feel that assurance that British subjects would be tried by United States courts in the leased areas might well be incorporated in the agreement rather than in an exchange of public notes. Do you perceive objection?
In article VII, paragraph 2, you will note that the words "bound to or from" have been replaced by "entering or leaving." We believe this does not differ from the intent of our instructions.
Article IX, immigration, has been altered in language but we believe it follows our instructions.
Article X, customs, was, as you know, one of the most difficult upon which to reach agreement. The British finally agreed to duty free admission of goods for sale at post exchanges, et cetera, only on understanding we would make every effort to prevent abuses and that privilege would extend only as stated. Goods for forces operating outside the leased areas are not specifically mentioned but are covered by subparagraph (a). In view of the several important and difficult concessions made by the British in this article, we would not feel justified in pressing for exemption on automobiles for private individuals.
Article XIII, taxes, has been extended on our suggestion to exempt activities performed for our Government from license or similar taxes. Article XXI has been difficult due to the British desire for possible continuance of local industries. All reference to such industry has been deleted and we believe you will find paragraph 2 satisfactory. Article XXII. The special provisions are of a nature which would not ordinarily be incorporated in land leases. We understand that
you have no strong preference either way and the British consider an annex to the agreement the logical place for them. We propose, however, that the fleet anchorage provision will be included in the Trinidad lease.
Article XXIV. The British were reluctant to agree to supplementary areas being leased under the terms and conditions specified in the agreement, holding that additional leases, with the possible exception of small sites for supplementary defense purposes, were not contemplated by the basic exchange of notes and that, while they were prepared to consider requests for essential additional areas, they could not bind themselves for the long term to grant them under the same conditions. We maintained that the lease of additional areas if agreed, as all else, rested on the September notes now implemented by this agreement and that the latter should therefore be the basic approach on terms. The final draft is an accommodation of these two positions.
Lord Moyne told us tonight that the exchange of 78 acres in Bermuda will be granted. [Base Lease Commission.]
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the
Secretary of State
LONDON, March 12, 1941-4 a. m. [Received 8:20 a. m.]
943. Your 796, March 10, 9 p. m.96 The Canadian High Commissioner called yesterday afternoon on urgent instructions from Ottawa to suggest that all reference to Newfoundland be deleted from this agreement and a separate Newfoundland agreement be negotiated to recognize Canadian interest. I expect to convince him that any such procedure at this point was out of the question and he agreed to telegraph his Government to ask whether its views could not be met by the suggested tripartite exchange of notes.
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)
WASHINGTON, March 13, 1941. 849. For the Ambassador and the President's Base Lease Commission. Your 943, March 12, 4 a. m. It is our earnest hope that the Canadians will not insist on a separate agreement for Newfoundland.
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