No. 12 NAI DFA Washington Embassy Confidential Reports 1938-9

Confidential report from Robert Brennan to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(108/49/39) (Copy)

Washington, 7 September 1939

On September 5th, President Roosevelt signed three Proclamations, the first, proclaiming the neutrality of the United States, the second, embargoing arms shipment to belligerents, and the third, embodying rules for United States citizens travelling by sea. The text of these Proclamations is attached hereto.1 It is agreed that these Proclamations are in accordance with the existing United States Law. A few days ago it was definitely stated that the Administration were not in favor of trying, at the moment, to persuade a reconvened Congress to change the Neutrality Laws because they feared that an acrimonious debate on the subject at the moment would do more harm than good, and that Congress itself might not even now endorse the views of the Administration. However, today it is stated by sources close to the Administration that a special session of Congress may be convened for next week with a view to having the arms embargo removed.

So far as the man in the street can see, there seems to be little change in the opinion of those who voted against the Administration's policy in this matter, though Representative Sol Bloom,2 who sponsored the Bill embodying the removal of the arms embargo, has stated that many of the Congressmen who voted against his measure have now changed their minds.

The section of the Press which supports the Administration on this matter now openly state that it is the duty of America to allow the French and British to obtain here all the munitions they can take on the cash and carry principle, because they are fighting against the aggressor for a continuance of the way of life which Americans hold dear. The opponents of the measure consider in the main that the removal of the arms embargo will be a definite step towards the ultimate embroilment of America in the war.

[stamped] (Signed) Robt. Brennan

1 Not printed.

2 Sol Bloom (1870-1949), Member of Congress (1920-49), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives (1938).

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