The letter was read aloud and also printed in the newspaper. The acting governor, Henri Konow, read it aloud to local officials and politicians and it was printed in the newspaper St. Thomæ Tidende in both Danish and English on 21st March 1917. English was the language understood by most people in the colony, where Danes only comprised a small minority.
The best for the islands
In his open letter, the king pointed out that the sale was in the best interests of the three islands and that Denmark had safeguarded various rights for the population in connection with the sale. For example, the inhabitants could themselves choose whether to remain on the islands or leave them. Those who chose to remain could retain their Danish citizenship, or become American citizens.
Loyalty and devotion
In conclusion, the king drew attention to the centuries-long relationship between Denmark and the islands. The king expressed his gratitude for the loyalty and devotion of the inhabitants of the islands and wished them the best for the future. The letter did not mention the many years of unrest that had prevailed on the islands, the widespread social problems or the inhabitants’ long struggle for better conditions.