740.0011 European War 1939/5152: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Murphy) to the Secretary of State

351. Henry-Haye who has just returned to Vichy from Paris planning to depart for Washington by clipper early in September tells me that every indication in the Paris area points to an imminent attack against England on a grand scale. He says, however, that some of the holiday air which prevailed among the German forces immediately after the occupation has disappeared and that an appreciation of the seriousness of the forthcoming operation is evident. For example at one hotel in Versailles some 200 German air officers are quartered. This week 35 failed to return after a raid. The gloom among the balance was very apparent.

Politically, he said, it becomes increasingly evident that German opinion regarding France is divided. The military group stand definitely for a ruthless separation of French territory and oppressive methods which they believe permanently will eliminate France as a military opponent of any consequence.

Goebbels14 and his adherents straddle the question, advocating a mixture of suppression and collaboration.

Hitler, Goering,15 and Ribbentrop view the problem over the longer term and picture the future of the French people as a happy integrated part of a new European order under the benevolent domination of Germany.

Henry-Haye states that he and other prominent Frenchmen have warned Abetz that if a policy of trampling on the French nation is adopted by Germany it may succeed for a few years but sooner or later the French nation which cannot be eliminated will rise up and destroy the oppressor.

From both official and private sources I have reports that the scientific looting prosecuted by the German military in occupied France who are methodically purchasing with German paper currency vast stocks of all types of merchandise is having a violent effect on the French population. Individuals who enjoyed a certain initial jubilation over escaping alive now realize the tragedy of their situation. Shopkeepers are sullen and incidents of opposition and friction frequent. Sympathy with the British cause is growing. The attacks on the Vichy Government by the German controlled Paris press fail to conceal from the population the fact that the Pétain Government is prevented from administering the country and returning to Paris only by the German authorities.

  1. Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister for National Enlightenment and Propaganda.
  2. Hermann Goering, Reich Minister for Aviation.