"I believe it's clear, gentlemen, that we must reach a conclusion. And in my view, we have but two alternatives. We either organize an evacuation, or we do not. If we do, we create immense hardships not only for the forty thousand evacuated, but also for the seventeen thousand citizens of Fort-de-France who must cope with the presence of so many refugees. But if we do not evacuate, we create no more discomfort than Mother Nature herself has already delivered to the people of this fair city and the surrounding villages. If we do evacuate, many personal possessions will be looted or otherwise lost, and the civil upheaval will have effects that continue long after Mont Pelee has returned to slumber. But if we do not evacuate, St. Pierre's citizenry will be on hand to preserve their personal properties and possessions. If we do evacuate, we will need to provide food and public services in Fort-de-France. But if we do not evacuate, we will need to provide no greater a quantity of food and services here in St. Pierre. So, I ask you, gentlemen, is this really an issue?"
- Colonel Gerbault