Text Version

August 31, 1939
      My dear Mr. Prime Minister:
I have been very glad indeed to receive your letter of August 
      25 and to hear from you directly with regard to the question 
      set forth so clearly and so movingly therein.
The initial survey which I have had made of the situation 
      and which I have myself studied very carefully leads me to the 
      conclusion that under the existing legislation of this Government 
      the request you make could not be granted unless the sight desired 
      by the British Government were made available to all other governments 
      at the came tins it was made available to Great Britain. This 
      clearly would not be in the interest of the United States, nor 
      for that matter, I believe you will agree, in the interest of 
      Great Britain.
I am sending you this preliminary reply to your letter because 
      of my knowledge that you desire some indication from me in response 
      to your request at the earliest moment. I may assure you, however, 
      that I shall give continued consideration to the request you 
      have made and to the possibility of acceding to it either under 
      present conditions or under such new conditions as may arise, 
      and that I shall write you again upon this subject as soon as 
      a final decision can be reached.
Believe me
      Yours very sincerely,
The Right Honorable
      Neville Chamberlain,
      P.C., F.A.S., M.P.,
      Prime Minister,
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