By Steven High (auth.)
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Extra info for Base Colonies in the Western Hemisphere, 1940–1967
S. requirements would be 1,200 feet of water frontage, to supply the army base. S. team conferred with the Canadians at Gander, Newfoundland’s one aerodrome. By this time, the Board had resolved on Argentia. For a time, the location of the St. John’s army base remained up in the air with the United States preferring a 160-acre area South of St. John’s. On day five, September 20, the Board prepared a memorandum to Newfoundland’s governor detailing the base requirements. The United States indicated that it intended to build a combined army-navy base at Argentia, an Army base and docks at St.
Upon their arrival in St. John’s, the American experts sought to gather as much information as possible about local weather conditions and to obtain local maps. Rear Admiral Greenslade and other Board members met with the governor and the commissioners of government (Newfoundland, though a Dominion, was governed by an unelected commission of six men appointed by London), while two other members of the Board made an aerial reconnaissance of the area. ”104 He likewise told them that the United States wished to locate a naval air base either on the southern coast or on the Avalon Peninsula (including a light naval operating base for berthing, replenishing and repairing destroyers and submarines); army garrisons to defend the naval facilities as well as for the defense of the St.
But to no avail. Admiral Stark took the position that even the oldest destroyers were still needed. The British were desperate to bring the United States into the war on its side. This being unlikely, they sought material and moral support. It was at this critical juncture that Churchill proposed a swap. In exchange for fifty aged American destroyers, the United States would receive leased base sites in eight British territories scattered across the Western Hemisphere. Great Britain also promised not to scuttle or surrender its navy should Britain fall to the Nazis.