Not until intelligence in August 1940 during the air Battle of Britain indicated that Britain had better than a fifty‐fifty chance of defeating a German invasion did Roosevelt finally act. By obtaining valuable bases in exchange, he persuaded a reluctant chief of naval operations, Adm. Harold R. Stark, to certify, as required by law, that the destroyers were no longer essential to national defense. The President bypassed Congress by concluding the arrangement through an executive agreement, an action challenged by isolationists but justified legally by Attorney General Robert Jackson. Because most of the old vessels needed extensive repairs and refitting, the actual military value of the Destroyers‐for‐Bases‐Agreement proved less important than the diplomatic implications. What Roosevelt called the most important “reinforcement of our defense … since the Louisiana Purchase,” Churchill considered “a decidedly unneutral act” that inaugurated the Anglo‐American alliance of World War II.
[See also Lend‐Lease Act and Agreements; World War II, U.S. Naval Operations in: The North Atlantic.]
David Reynolds , The Creation of the Anglo‐American Alliance, 1937–1941, 1981.
Robert Shogan , Hard Bargain, 1995.
J. Garry Clifford
"Destroyers‐For‐Bases Agreement." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 12, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/destroyers-bases-agreement
"Destroyers‐For‐Bases Agreement." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/destroyers-bases-agreement
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