Why did the U.S reject a French offer of colonies + ten billion francs for airplanes?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,935
SoCal
#1
In this book (which unfortunately doesn't have page numbers):

https://books.google.com/books?id=n...9 caribbean pacific 10 billion francs&f=false

it is stated that, in early 1939, France offered to pay ten billion francs in gold in addition to offering French islands in the Caribbean and/or in the Pacific to the U.S. in exchange for France acquiring an unlimited number of U.S.(-made) airplanes or something along those lines. In addition, WeisSaul told me this information earlier today in a different thread on this forum (in the Speculative History section).

Thus, my question here is this--why exactly did the U.S. reject this French offer? After all, it appears to have been a great deal/bargain for the U.S. and the U.S. already had a record of acquiring Caribbean islands from European countries (by successfully purchasing the Danish West Indies from Denmark back in 1917). Thus, why exactly did the U.S. reject this French offer?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,340
#2
Hard to say. Have to know details. The US went of the UK destroyer deal which on the face of it is similar. Could come down to the US politics in 1939 not being as open to this as the US later.

On Aircraft the French already had a lot of aircraft on order (in due course taken over by the British and paid for) and given the US was expanding it's own air force I would think it would be dubious that any more aircraft could have been delivered to the french airforce. US fighters were not all that hot in the period. p-36/buffalo (second rate fighters in 1940)in small numbers (this is before the US really stepped up production) that P-40 didn't see action till 1941 and I don't think could have be delivered in France before may 1940. (p40 not great but in the ball park in 1940 fighter ranking)

bottom line the US always looked too their own needs before exporting stuff, and they lacked the excess production in 1939.
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
#3
The US did not want French speaking people who were mainly the "wrong" colour within the United States. And the sugar growers in Florida and Louisiana (to say nothing of sugar beet growers throughout the Midwest and West did not want ANY competition from new lands where sugar cane was grown. That in a nutshell was why the US turned down France's offer.
Which was in keeping with US policy at the time. The US was not interested in British West Indies either and just took naval and air bases in return for Lend Lease. Earlier, the US declined to annex Mexico in 1948, Cuba in 1900 and refused to consider the Philippines for statehood in 1907 (with Puerto Rico and the Danish Virgin Islands barely getting annexed by the US because those islands stood on the main passage to the Panama Canal)--because these places had too many non-whites living there. (And it did not help that the West Indies did not have Jim Crow restricitions on African-Americans either).
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,935
SoCal
#4
1. The US did not want French speaking people who were mainly the "wrong" colour within the United States.

2. And the sugar growers in Florida and Louisiana (to say nothing of sugar beet growers throughout the Midwest and West did not want ANY competition from new lands where sugar cane was grown. That in a nutshell was why the US turned down France's offer.

3. Which was in keeping with US policy at the time. The US was not interested in British West Indies either and just took naval and air bases in return for Lend Lease.

4. Earlier, the US declined to annex Mexico in 1948,

5. Cuba in 1900

6. and refused to consider the Philippines for statehood in 1907

7. (with Puerto Rico and the Danish Virgin Islands barely getting annexed by the US because those islands stood on the main passage to the Panama Canal)--

8. because these places had too many non-whites living there. (And it did not help that the West Indies did not have Jim Crow restrictions on African-Americans either).
1. And yet the U.S. had no problem acquiring the Black-majority Danish West Indies in 1917 and giving the people there U.S. citizenship a decade or so afterwards.

2. That is a possibility.

3. Yes, this appears to be correct; of course, interestingly enough, I think that the U.S. did offer to purchase Greenland from Denmark in 1946 after the U.S. occupied Greenland during World War II.

4. I think that you mean in 1848, and back then, slavery and its expansion were extremely important political issues.

5. That was due to the Teller Amendment.

6. Were the Philippines seriously demanding statehood during this time, though?

7. What exactly do you mean by "barely"?

8. Yes, this appears to make sense.

Of course, it is also worth noting that the populations of most Caribbean islands back then were extremely small relative to the total U.S. population back then and that thus a U.S. annexation of one or more of these islands would not have significantly affected the racial and ethnic demographics of the U.S.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2014
312
Seattle, Washington
#5
1. And yet the U.S. had no problem acquiring the Black-majority Danish West Indies in 1917 and giving the people there U.S. citizenship a decade or so afterwards.

2. That is a possibility.

3. Yes, this appears to be correct; of course, interestingly enough, I think that the U.S. did offer to purchase Greenland from Denmark in 1946 after the U.S. occupied Greenland during World War II.

4. I think that you mean in 1848, and back then, slavery and its expansion were extremely important political issues.

5. That was due to the Teller Amendment.

6. Were the Philippines seriously demanding statehood during this time, though?

7. What exactly do you mean by "barely"?

8. Yes, this appears to make sense.

Of course, it is also worth noting that the populations of most Caribbean islands back then were extremely small relative to the total U.S. population back then and that thus a U.S. annexation of one or more of these islands would not have significantly affected the racial and ethnic demographics of the U.S.
As a general rule, profit loss balance sheet kinda sums it up in most cases. The value was just not there at the time for the Feds to justify delegating tax revenue during a time in which the economy was trying to recover from the depression. The manufacturers of the planes would have to reimbursed in cash and since none of those properties derived much in the sense of revenue (being resource poor), the Feds did not have the time or spare capital to also develop the territories in question...... besides, who needed more island fishing rights anyway?
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
#6
1. And yet the U.S. had no problem acquiring the Black-majority Danish West Indies in 1917 and giving the people there U.S. citizenship a decade or so afterwards.

2. That is a possibility.

3. Yes, this appears to be correct; of course, interestingly enough, I think that the U.S. did offer to purchase Greenland from Denmark in 1946 after the U.S. occupied Greenland during World War II.

4. I think that you mean in 1848, and back then, slavery and its expansion were extremely important political issues.

5. That was due to the Teller Amendment.

6. Were the Philippines seriously demanding statehood during this time, though?

7. What exactly do you mean by "barely"?

8. Yes, this appears to make sense.

Of course, it is also worth noting that the populations of most Caribbean islands back then were extremely small relative to the total U.S. population back then and that thus a U.S. annexation of one or more of these islands would not have significantly affected the racial and ethnic demographics of the U.S.
Henry M. Teller, the author of the Teller Amendment was a Senator from Colorado, a state even then well known for it's production of sugar. If you see GW Sugar (Great Western Sugar) on the shelves at your supermarket, that is Colorado beet sugar.
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
#7
In the case of the Danish Virgin Islands, I'm pretty sure that strategic considerations in that case outweighed the admission of what were some very low population islands with a negligible amount of sugar production and a majority African population at a time when the US was at war and strategic considerations were on people's minds (1917). Between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands lies one of the major passages through the West Indies between New York, Boston and Philadelphia and Norfolk and the Panama Canal. Americans were most concerned at that time, at having both sides of that passage securely in US hands.
Another case in point. Hawaii's acquisition as a US territory was VERY controversial. Even though Hawaii is about the land area of Delaware and now the second or third SMALLEST state in the Union, sugar interests stopped annexation until Hawaiians could point, via pineapple production that Hawaii could and would produce a crop other than sugar cane. And when the US acquired Guam from Spain the US turned down the rest of the Micronesian Islands--because they could produce sugar cane and probably not much else. Even though those island's total land area is also about the size of Delaware.
The Micronesian Islands were sold to Germany and after 1917, Japan acquired them. It cost tens of thousands of US lives to capture those islands during WWII, islands which might have stayed in US hands if they had been in US hands to begin with. And those islands gave Japan forward position toward the attack on Pearl Harbour. The fleet that attacked Pearl Harbour had it's oil tankers and forward base at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,935
SoCal
#8
In the case of the Danish Virgin Islands, I'm pretty sure that strategic considerations in that case outweighed the admission of what were some very low population islands with a negligible amount of sugar production and a majority African population at a time when the US was at war and strategic considerations were on people's minds (1917). Between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands lies one of the major passages through the West Indies between New York, Boston and Philadelphia and Norfolk and the Panama Canal. Americans were most concerned at that time, at having both sides of that passage securely in US hands.
Why exactly was this passage so important, though? As in, what exactly made this passage so important?
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
#9

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,935
SoCal
#10
It was the time of the Zimmermann Telegram and the US was concerned about the Virgin Islands falling into German hands. And there was an economic crisis on the Danish West Indies, which made Denmark want to sell the islands. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_the_Danish_West_Indies
Yes, I already know all of that. Rather, my question here is this--why exactly was this specific passage, as opposed to any other passage, so strategically important for the U.S.? After all, the U.S. previously tried purchasing the Danish West Indies in 1867 and 1902 before it finally managed to successfully purchase them in 1917.
 

Similar History Discussions