U.S. Forbids Axis Moving Into America (10-26-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 26, 1940)

France Warned —

President’s Note Reaches Petain After His Meeting With Hitler

By Norman B. Deuel, United Press Staff Writer

Washington, Oct. 26 –

Secretary of State Cordell Hull said today the President Roosevelt had conveyed to the French government this nation’s attitude on the status of French possessions in the western hemisphere.

Mr. Hull said that Mr. Roosevelt communicated with the French government about the time of the conference between Adolf Hitler and French Premier Henri Philippe Petain.

The State Department later said the President’s message was handed to the French ambassador here on Thursday evening, the day after Hitler and Petain met.

KDKA will broadcast Mr. Willkie’s foreign policy address at 9:15 tonight.

Although Mr. Hull did not specify the nature of the President’s message, it was indicated that Mr. Roosevelt had informed the French leaders that the United States and other American republics will not permit any change in the sovereignty of European possessions to the New World.

Mr. Hull will report to the nation tonight on American foreign policy in the light of new war developments in Europe and the Far East.

He will speak before the National Press Club here.

Mr. Hull, who has been in frequent consultation with President Roosevelt on developments in France, Spain, the Balkans and East Asia, worked on his speech until late yesterday – adding three pages and then discarding the whole for revision.

May Discuss Possessions

There were some indications that he might discuss the status of French possessions, such as Martinique, in the Western Hemisphere. He said at a press conference yesterday that the problem should be considered in a separate light from the situation of the French government at Vichy.

Matters relating to Martinique and other French Caribbean possessions, he said, should be dealt with on their own merits – from the standpoint of geography and American interest.

He thus indicated that the United States would reserve, with other American republics, freedom of action under the Act of Havana to take over New World possessions of Axis-conquered European nations, whenever there appears a possibility that the possessions might fall directly into Axis hands.

Committee Set Up

Under the Havana agreement, a committee to establish a temporary protectorate over the specified possessions became effective Thursday when 14 members had been appointed. Peru appointed Ambassador Manuel Freyre y Santander as its representative yesterday, bringing the total membership to 15, with six yet to be designated.

The machinery is ready to operate, but there has been no indication that circumstances have brought action near. Should France yield to German pressure to act against Britain in the war through the use of its fleet, or should local disturbances in any possession alter their sovereignty, the American nations might step in.

It was learned, meantime, that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Hull have studied at length four specific problems – Axis efforts to draw Spain into more active collaboration; ultimate disposition of the French fleet in the light of Axis pressure; the plight of Greece and the Balkans, and rapid-fire events in the Far East, from Tokyo to Indo-China and Thailand.

All of these matters may be touched upon by Mr. Hull.

Developments in the Far East yesterday included a disclosure that China again has begun heavy purchases of American war materials with the reopening of the Burma Road. In anticipation of that event, Chinese purchases in this country during September totaled $1,335,223, which included $1,177,270 worth of plane engines.

Informed officials here disclosed that a number of planes originally ordered by Thailand, but whose shipment was stopped by this government, may be sold to the Philippines instead. Ten of the planes were halted at Manila en route to Thailand.