741.51/413: Telegram

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

590. At a luncheon which he gave exclusively to American newspaper correspondents in Vichy today Baudouin made a prepared speech which dealt largely with an effort to convince his hearers of the sins of French pre-armistice governments and system of government and the fact that the present regime representing not only the right but the obligation to work constitutes the real democracy, et cetera. In the course of his remarks he stated that the duty of France toward Germany and Italy was one of scrupulous compliance with the armistice terms, “its duty toward England is silence”, and with respect to the rest of the world to confine itself to the defense of its Empire. He was naturally questioned with respect to the statement on England and after a moment’s hesitation stated: “Well, [Page 383] it represents a change in policy.” I am told that, he went on to explain, while not definitely characterizing it as a quid pro quo, that the British are showing a less rigid attitude on the blockade of France and are permitting certain supplies to slide through.

This plea for “silence” with respect to Great Britain from the man who has been loudest in his denunciation of the British and British blockade as the primary cause of France’s misfortunes may be significant—or it may be eye wash.