740.0011 European War 1939/5816: Telegram

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

668. My 655, September 28, 3 p.m.17 Charles-Roux18 sent for me this morning and again complained of the attacks on the French Government by the British radio “to both the French and English broadcasts of which he apparently listens quite frequently—along with the rest of unoccupied France.” He said it looks as though in the face of critical decisions now pending in Spain the British were really attempting to bring about an actively hostile attitude on the part of France. The BBC recently reported Italian demands supposedly presented in the colonies requiring complete demobilization of French colonial forces and the turning over of French planes to Italy and of general French acquiescence therein. These charges said Charles-Roux have been made up out of whole cloth with no basis in fact whatsoever. (Please compare my telegram No. 545, September 11, 8 p.m.17) He said that these constant attacks were merely strengthening the hands of the anglophobe elements in France and were making the position of the moderate elements in the Government more and more difficult. He asked urgently that I again report his views to you presumably in the hope that some tactful suggestion may be conveyed to the British.

I have of course only a small part of the picture here. I am inclined to feel however as I have previously reported that future changes in this Government may not be for the better, whatever its current faults. It is certainly true as I have emphasized that the overwhelming majority of Frenchmen are far from sharing the Government’s resentment against British tactics. On the other hand the attacks do give ammunition to the Laval–Darlan–Baudouin advocates of more active cooperation with France’s present masters.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Secretary General of the French Foreign Office.
  3. Not printed.