File No. 763.72119/843

The French Ambassador ( Jusserand ) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: My Government, whose attention I had not failed to call to the garbled text of the President’s answer to the Pope supplied by the Havas Agency to the Swiss press,1 has sent me information showing that that association can plead not guilty.

Since it was known that the answer would be made public on the 29th, Havas applied to Reuter in London, on that day, to have the text. Reuter answered that, to their knowledge, the text had been cabled to all the American embassies in Europe with instructions to make it public; they would not therefore forward it.

But no such publication took place on that day.

On the morning of the 30th, the Paris Radio Agency received from London the garbled text known to you, sent them I do not know by whom. That text was reproduced by the French papers on that day. I have before me the number of the Temps dated August 31, but published on the 30th, giving this caricatural translation among its “latest news.”

Knowing no better, the Havas Agency wired it to Switzerland and probably to other countries for which they have contracts.

The real text seems to have been made public by the American Embassy in London only a day later and it was only when the British papers reached Paris that the French press could give a proper version of it, on the evening of the 31st.

The same Temps accompanied its publication of the same by a highly eulogistic article on the President and on his answer, drawing attention to the difference between the real and the garbled text.

On future occasions, my Government suggests that it might be appropriate for the United States Government to supply such texts direct to the Havas Agency, which is represented in New York (c/o Associated Press, 51 Chambers Street). They would gladly forward them to the Swiss, Spanish and Italian agencies with which they have agreements.

Believe me [etc.]

  1. See note of Sept. 7 from the Secretary of State to the French Ambassador, ante, p. 193.