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Franklin D. Roosevelt to Winston Churchill

[stamped] REGRADED UNCLASSIFIED COPY GRAY May 16, 1940 1 p.m. [underlined] NO DISTRIBUTION AMERICAN EMBASSY LONDON 872 URGENT. [blacked out] STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL [Typed] FOR THE AMBASSADOR. Your 1216, May 15, 6 p.m. Please transmit the following message from the President to the former naval person: QUOTE I have just received your message and I am sure it is unnecessary for me to say that I am most happy to continue our private correspondence as we have in the past. I am, of course, giving every possible consideration to the suggestions made in your message. I shall take up your specific proposals one by one. First, with regard to the possible loan of forty or fifty of our older destroyers. As you know a step of that kind could not be taken except with the specific authorization of the Congress and I am not certain that it would be wise for that suggestion to be made to the Congress at this moment. Further- more, it seems to me doubtful, from the standpoint of our own defense requirements, which must inevitably be linked with the defense requirements of this hemisphere and with our obligations [underlined] in the, -2- in the Pacific, whether we could dispose even temporarily of these destroyers. Furthermore, even if we were able to take the step you suggest, it would be at least six or seven weeks at a minimum, as I see it, before these vessels could undertake active service under the British flag. Second. We are now doing everything within our power to make it possible for the Allied Governments to obtain the latest types of aircraft in the United States. Third. If Mr. Purvis may receive immediate instructions to discuss the question of anti-aircraft equipment and ammunition with the appropriate authorities here in Washington, the most favorable consideration will be given to the request made ...
Destroyers (Warships)
National Archives and Records Administration
Part of:
1940 Correspondence, The Franklin D. Roosevelt/Winston Churchill Correspondence
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