DEPARTMENT OF STATE
January 8, 1942
My dear Mr. President:
After giving careful consideration to all of the circumstances in connection with the St. Pierre Miquelon situation and with a view to arriving at an acceptable solution I have drafted the enclosed suggested telegram to Admiral Leahy setting forth a formula for the settle- ment of the matter. My suggestion would be that before sending this telegram in the event you approve it the telegram be submitted to the British and Canadian Govern- ments for their concurrence.
Without specifically stating so this would amount to a trusteeship. It seems to me advisable to steer away from any specific statement implying a trusteeship, or an administration by the three Governments for the reason that we are likely to run counter to provisions in the Habana Convention which as you know provides for the administration of regions of this hemisphere under certain circumstances by the American Republics. I do not think that we should give the other Republics occasion to feel that we are circumventing the Convention through the establishment by the United States, Great Britain and Canada of an administration of the Islands.
On the question of bringing about the removal of DeGaulle’s forces from the Islands I am sure that you have in mind our commitments to Vichy and Admiral Robert on which they have been and are now counting and to which they have referred. In your message of December 13 to Marshal Petain which Admiral Leahy transmitted textually to Marshal Petain you stated that
« You may rest assured that the Government of the United States under present circumstances and in view of the instructions which you have issued to Admiral Robert will continue to give full recognition to the agreement reached by our two governments involving the maintenance of the status quo of the French possessions in the Western Hemisphere. »
Moreover in the letter which you handed to Mr. Mathews for transmission to Marshal Petain you stated
« I again repeat that as long as French sovereign control remains in reality purely French, subject solely to the limitations of the Armistice Agreement, the Government of the United States has no desire to see existing French sovereignty over French North Africa or over any of French colonies pass to the control of any other nation. »
Admiral Robert has already referred in connection with the St. Pierre Miquelon incident to your communication of December 13 and has stated that he regards this Government « as obligated to obtain the reestablishment of French sovereignty over St. Pierre Miquelon. »
We have already discussed the application of the Habana Convention to this situation and I do not need to go into that here. I am confident, however, that the American Republics are watching the matter and will not be loathe to view our action with circumspection.
If the proposed telegram meets your approval I shall at once take it up with the British and Canadian Governments.