The Secretary of State to the Minister in Portugal (Fish), 10 April 1941

[Telegram: Paraphrase]

WASHINGTON, April 10, 1941-6 p.m.

197. I wish to emphasize, at this crucial period in the struggle against totalitarian world aggression, the obligation resting upon every representative of the United States abroad to contribute to the success of that struggle in every way within his power. It has been made abundantly clear by the people and government of the United States that we do not intend to stand on the sidelines but that on the contrary we do intend to play our part in resistance against the forces of aggression. Therefore it is incumbent upon every, representative of the United States and in fact upon every American citizen who is abroad to reflect in his own conduct and in his conversations with those with whom he may come in contact, the absolute determination of his country and his government to see this thing through to a successful conclusion.

The President relies upon you to make clear to the military and civil leaders of the government and of public opinion in Portugal the scope of our national effort and determination to resist aggression. I have confidence that you will not lose any opportunity in conversations with such leaders, and by every other means at your disposal, to bring home repeatedly the significance of our position and to stress that we are absolutely convinced that the forces of aggression will be checked and defeated. You need have no hesitancy in expressing in the strongest terms our convictions and our determination.

I desire that you immediately bring these considerations to the attention of the members of your staff, as well as all consular officers under your jurisdiction. Every effort should be made at the same time to see that such authoritative statements of our position as the declarations of President Roosevelt in his March 15 speech are given the widest circulation possible. It is our conviction that at this time a forceful continuous presentation of our position and of the scope of our national effort to resist aggression will have a salutary effect upon public and official opinion in such countries as Portugal which not yet have been drawn directly into the war, and will be of great assistance in counteracting the cumulative effect of totalitarian propaganda.


Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943), pp. 640

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